To extend our community outreach, the library partners with many of the municipal, non-profit, and business organizations that make Princeton such an extraordinary town. This month, The Princeton Festival is in the spotlight.
Each June, for the past 14 years, the library and The Princeton Festival have worked together to offer a wide array of presentations, lectures and workshops that provide context to the opera that is the centerpiece of the season, and that also highlight other festival events. The partnership has expanded greatly over the years. In the first few years, we collaborated to present a season preview and one or two lectures. This year, for the 15th anniversary season, we are pleased to offer a musical cabaret at the Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheater, two interactive workshops, a film screening, a poetry brunch, an author visit, the season preview and multiple lectures by esteemed scholars. This year’s festival lineup at the library is truly enriching, engaging, educational and fun.
Recently, we asked Richard Tang Yuk, artistic director of The Princeton Festival, to tell us more about the festival and its partnership with the library.
What are your primary areas of focus?
We are a multi-genre performing arts festival. We present events of opera, jazz, dance, world music, musical theater and non-performing arts like poetry readings. We collaborate with others, for instance, we have a partnership with the Trenton A-TEAM, a group of visual artists who work out of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. They create new visual art inspired by the music, typically the opera. Princeton Festival then mounts an exhibition at Thomas Sweet in Montgomery and also at McCarter Theater. The sale of those artworks goes directly to the artists.
Why do you like partnering with the library?
The people are just wonderful to work with. Janie (Hermann) has been very supportive and helpful. Both the library and the Princeton Festival have a shared mission of outreach and education to the community. We both try to provide outreach opportunities to the community for education and learning for all ages.
With whom do you work most in the community?
We try to appeal to everyone. One of the goals of the Princeton Festival is to have a broad spectrum of programming to appeal to the widest cross-section of the community as possible. When we opened 15 years ago there was just the opera and the chamber music, but we knew where we wanted to go – the multi-genre arts. A few years ago we had a Latin band performance that was sold out, with people dancing in aisles.
What is something that you do that people might not know about?
I am an avid orchid cultivator. I grew up in the Caribbean and, there, orchids grow in your garden – you don’t have to water or fertilize them. I have about 40 orchids right now, though it can be challenging without a greenhouse. Some favorites are from the Oncidium and Vanda families.
Is there any project or event that you are particularly excited about at the moment?
The upcoming opera is particularly exciting. It is a modern opera by John Adams called “Nixon in China” and is based on the historical visit of Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in the 1970s. It’s not simply a narrative of the visit, it has a wonderful libretto by Alice Goodman that is very philosophical and poetic. Ultimately, the moral of the opera is: After all of this effort what have we accomplished? Did we make any difference in this world? It’s a universal question for everyone, and it is also fitting for the Princeton Festival. This year marks our 15th anniversary and we have put a lot of effort into creating multi-genre events annually. We, too, can reflect: What have we accomplished and where do we want to go from here?
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Click here for a full list of this season’s Princeton Festival events taking place June 7-30.
Photo credit: Jessi Franko
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