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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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Hudson River School at the Fenimore Art Museum

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Probably few regions in the United States have influenced American artists as significantly as the Hudson River Valley.  The painters of the so-called Hudson River School, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and Asher Durand, among others, created a grand vision of 19th-century landscape, comparable yet distinct from the Romantic movements in England and continental Europe.

Travel informed their vision, of course, and the artistic response extended beyond the Hudson to New England, the American West, and to Italy, including idealized antiquity.  The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York brings together 45 paintings that put on display the full range of the artists’ inspiration.  There may be to no better place to consider their work than in Cooperstown, New York, an icon of American history—the American novelist James Fenimore Cooper made his home there as does today the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—that is also a showcase for the innovative opera and musical theater of the Glimmerglass Festival.

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Virginia's World-Class Staunton Music Festival

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The waning days of the summer bring the final weeks of music and arts festivals, from the large and celebrated, the Salzburg Festival in Austria, Tanglewood in the Berkshires, to the less well-known.

One surprise and a secret to most, but not for long, is the Staunton Music Festival in Virginia.  Staunton has acquired a near mythic status in farm-to-fork food circles (see the “Up On The Ridge”by Matt Lee and Ted Lee in Travel + Leisure, July 2012) and for nine days in August, the Staunton Music Festival brings together some of the most talented musicians, established professionals and emerging young artists, from throughout the United States and Europe to this quiet spot in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Vail International Dance Festival Celebrates 25th Anniversary

This week marks the 25th Anniversary of the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, renowned as a showcase for diversity: from ballet masterpieces, to new work by established and emerging choreographers, and dancers and companies from New York City to Seattle and beyond. It is also a place of experimentation: traditional dance styles can blend with novel forms of movement, often with eye-popping results. Prime example: Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, whose cross-pollination of the Memphis-born jookin' street dance and classical ballet has gained him worldwide acclaim.

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Santa Fe International Folk Market Showcases 170 Artists from 50 Countries

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Santa Fe, New Mexico is known and loved for many reasons: as a hiking and ski destination, for its cultural scene, from galleries to the acclaimed Santa Fe Opera, and a range of delicious cuisines. Less well-known—but not for long—is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this weekend and is extraordinary in its breadth and mission.  Why?  It brings 170 artists and artisans of fine craft from more than 50 countries to New Mexico to display their creations:carved horn jewelry from Peru, felt and muslin shawls from Kyrgyzstan, paper kites from Japan, embellished leather saddles from the Republic of Tuva (Russia), woven silk scarves from Madagascar, embroidered clothing, textiles, jewelry, pottery and ceramics from every continent, except Antarctica.

In addition to being the largest folk art market in the world, it provides the opportunity for artists to sell their work (they retain 90% of the proceeds), which in many cases provides the primary support for families at home and even sustains entire communities.  What’s more, as a showcase for artisans and their work, the Folk Art Market has become a catalyst for the preservation of creative tradition, some of which would surely have been lost without exposure and economic incentive.  The world is a more beautiful place because of it.


Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo © Marcella Echavarria. All rights reserved.

 

Organists Compete in Philadephia's Longwood Gardens

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Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, near Philadelphia and equidistant from Washington, D.C. and New York City, is one of the world's spectacular botanical parks, with more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, gardens, flowers, and fountains.  Vibrant in all four seasons, Longwood takes on a particular hue in summer with a concert season that features performers ranging from Lyle Lovett to Tony Bennett to the Philadelphia Orchestra.   In a grand ballroom, it also houses one of the world's largest concert organs with more than 10,000 pipes (music was a passion of Pierre S. du Pont, whose family legacy supports the gardens) that give full aural dimension to grand 19th and 20th symphonic organ music.

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Q+A with Founder of Adventures in Art

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This month and next, art—Old Masters to Impressionists to contemporary—is on the auction block at the major auction houses, including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, in New York, London, and beyond. They coincide with art fairs, Frieze New York, Art Basel in Switzerland (June 13-16), and the granddaddy of all international art exhibitions, the Venice Biennale (June 1-November 24)). T+L spoke with Karen Stone Talwar, founder of Adventures in Art, about this high season for art and what it means for the traveler.

Q: What is the allure of the art sales?
A: First, admission to the previews at the auction houses is free, and second, although the viewings take place during five to eight days, they often offer the only opportunity to see works that have been in private collections and likely little exhibited.  Depending on the purchaser they may never be lent for public exhibition.  So this could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see that rare Picasso, just as it is for the collectors, gallery owners, and museum directors.

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Rite of Spring Redux: 100 Years of a Stravinsky Masterpiece

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One hundred years ago on May 29, 1913, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring exploded onto the European scene in a celebrated, riotous premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Ever since, dance companies have taken up the challenge to stage a work that captures the power and the sweep of Stravinsky’s revolutionary masterpiece. 

On the day of the centennial anniversary, May 29, 2013, the Richmond Ballet, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, presents the Rite, in Salvatore Aiello’s sensual staging. While in Paris, the Mariinsky Ballet returns to the scene of the crime, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with a reconstruction of the imagined, original production, choreography and décor newly realized by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer.

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World's Piano Virtuosos Head to Texas

Every four years, 30 of the most talented musicians from around the world arrive in Fort Worth, Texas to participate in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, May 24-June 9.  The young pianists, whose ages range from 19 to 30 and hail from Russia, Poland, Italy, Chile, China, and the U.S., among other countries, are gifted, of course, armed with prodigious technique, and musical personalities that belie their years.  They also possess the energy of thoroughbreds.

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Who is the Opera Singer in Your Neighborhood? Isabel Leonard Meets "Sesame Street"

The mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard makes her role debut as Blanche de la Force in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Dialogues of the Carmelites, May 4-11. Francis Poulenc’s opera, the gripping story of a convent of nuns caught up in the tumult of the French Revolution, returns to the MET for three performances in John Dexter’s landmark staging, led by conductor Louis Langrée. 

Ms. Leonard, recently won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, has also just made her debut on Sesame Street. She takes time from rehearsals at the MET to speak with T+L.
 
Tell us about your appearances in Sesame Street. Since it is filmed in New York, I suppose it didn’t involve travel.

It actually involved a bit of travel. Last summer, I was in Glyndebourne, the opera festival in England, when the MET called to say that Sesame Street was planning a segment called People in Your Neighborhood, with Murray the Monster and Ovejita, the bilingual lamb character who speaks Spanish, and asked if I would interested in appearing on the program. I said I would be there in a heartbeat, even if I were on the moon! On a Thursday morning, I went to rehearsal at Glyndebourne, got on a plane that night from London, flew to New York and made it home around one in the morning. The next day, I got up and ran errands like any New Yorker, then went to the MET, put on my costume as Rosina from Barber of Seville, and to the shoot with the Muppets. We finished around 7 pm. I rushed to the airport, made my plane, and was back in rehearsal in Englandby the following afternoon.

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Q+A: Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of the Boston Ballet

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Throughout the United States, the holidays is the season for the Nutcracker ballet. T+L spoke with Mikko Nissinen, the Finnish artistic director of the Boston Ballet and its new–and spectacular–production.

Q: Is this your first production of the Nutcracker in Boston?

A:  No, when I came to Boston, I inherited an extravaganza that had contributions from seven choreographers! There is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. So I started to narrow down the production. I staged the first act, the second act, the Land of Sweets, was by another choreographer. For our new Nutcracker, I have staged the entire ballet, both acts.

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