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The Sembrich Marks 100 Years With Its Bolton Landing Music Fest

Summer 2024 Festival: June 5 - August 31

On the shores of Lake George in Bolton Landing rests a hidden gem: The Sembrich. This museum, historic site, and nature preserve dazzles art and culture lovers each year with its world-class music festivals and exhibitions.

The 2024 season marks the centennial of this historic treasure. In celebration of this milestone, The Sembrich has a spectacular lineup of concerts, exhibitions, and other exciting events for their annual Bolton Landing music fest.

man on accordian on the left, singers or actors on the right

Keep reading to discover this year's festival offerings, special exhibition, and to learn about the incredible woman whose legacy is preserved in the "opera museum."

The 2024 Festival Schedule: Music, Film, Theater & More

woman with violin, and two groups of musicians with instruments

The Sembrich's summer festival offers concerts, film screenings, and other programs, including a children's opera and a kid-friendly concert in Bolton Landing's Rogers Park! Some of the film screenings are free, as are the children's opera and family concert. 

The summer festival also boasts three subscription series:

  • Alfred Z. Solomon Masterwork Series - a classical salon series inside The Sembrich Studio
  • The Promenade Series - a casual outdoor concert series, perfect for a date night or a night out on the lake
  • World Music Wednesdays - a matinee series showcasing musical traditions from around the world

If you purchase one of these subscriptions, you can save money and get access to all three performances in the series.

children's opera performance of the three bears

The Sembrich also works with other area artists, musicians, and organization like Opera Saratoga, The Seagle Festival, and even The Philadelphia Orchestra, to present world-class performances!

Here's the full lineup of events for this summer:

Whether you're a seasoned symphony-goer or you're just starting to explore classical and other types of music, The Sembrich's summer festival has something for everyone.

Get tickets or make reservations today - even if you're interested in one of the free events, you'll want to make sure to save your spot!

Buy tickets or secure reservations >>

trees by water

The Sembrich not only exposes visitors and residents to world-class music and arts, but does so from its beautiful setting on the shores of Lake George in Bolton Landing. Several events even include a lakeside reception where you can meet the artists!

The Story Behind the Legend

From Poverty to Global Star

At its core, The Sembrich is a museum that honors the life of Polish soprano Marcella Sembrich (1858 - 1935), who rose to fame at a young age and launched an international operatic career that spanned two continents.

portrait of marcella sembrich, side view profile

Marcella Sembrich was born into poverty in Poland in 1858 and trained from a young age as a violinist and pianist, showing great talent for both. Her vocal abilities were later discovered in 1875, after which she dedicated herself exclusively to vocal training. Her operatic debut came only two years later in Athens, in 1877.

Following her debut, her notable career milestones include:

  • Joining the Metropolitan Opera (New York City) for their premiere season in 1883.
  • Leading roles at the Imperial Italian Opera (St. Petersburg) and the Royal Italian Opera (London).
  • Singing 466 performances with the Metropolitan Opera over 12 seasons (1883 - 1909).
  • Touring and performing across the US and Europe for over 30 years, both in opera and in concert
woman sitting inside a glass window porch

Sembrich decided to leave Europe at the start of the first World War to settle in the United States. Although she and her family lived in New York City, they, like so many others, found solitude, peace, and beauty in the Adirondacks.

A Teaching Studio in Lake George

While living in New York City in 1914, Sembrich and her family spent summers in Lake Placid. Sembrich officially retired from public performances after the death of her husband in 1917.

She became a US citizen in 1920, although stayed tied to her Polish roots, having founded the American Polish Relief Committee in 1915 to raise money and supplies for those in her home country affected by the war.

marcella sembrich and other women on the porch of the teaching studio

Sembrich continued to spend summers in the Adirondacks after her husband's death and purchased a 55-acre estate on Lake George in 1922, where she later built her teaching studio in 1924.

She went on to be named the first Director of the Vocal Programs at the Julliard School (New York City) and the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia). Her students from both programs would come to study at her Bolton Landing teaching studio in the summers from 1924 to 1934. She passed away in 1935 at the age of 76.

mracella sembrich stands by a flowering tree

While much of Sembrich's life consisted of entertaining audiences across the world, her career as a teacher proved to have a significant influence in shaping musical culture and education in the US.

Today, The Sembrich maintains 4.5 acres of her original Bolton Landing estate, including the teaching studio.

exterior of modern day marcella sembrich museum

The Sembrich: Part Museum, Part Historic Site, Part Nature Preserve

The Sembrich is a unique cultural experience because it offers visitors the opportunity to experience music, history, and nature all in one beautiful setting.

This special place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in addition to the music festival, museum exhibits, and other fun activities, the property boasts a serene lakeside atmosphere with several walking paths.


room in sembrich museum with piano

Each year the Sembrich presents a new seasonal exhibition, featuring unique collection pieces that are rarely seen, including opera costumes, letters, and fine art.

The 2024 exhibition "Mastering Mozart" will showcase the four Mozart opera roles that propelled Sembrich to international fame. Featured in the exhibition are historic photographs, musical scores, and several costume pieces worn by Sembrich.

The center of the exhibition is Sembrich's iconic Queen of the Night costume from the premier performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at the Metropolitan Opera in 1900.

Sembrich's famous costume will be unveiled at their centennial benefit "A Night at the Museum" on July 11. This exclusive evening offers a glimpse into the Gilded Age life of Marcella Sembrich by showcasing a selection of her cherished and rarely displayed possessions - from death masks to diamonds!

The permanent exhibition includes a curated selection of artifacts that illustrate the story of Sembrich's life and career. Exhibitions are housed in the beautifully preserved Gilded Age teaching studio, decorated as it was in Marcella Sembrich's lifetime. 

The Sembrich's extensive collection includes fine art, furniture, musical scores, books, letters, personal items, costumes, and hundreds of photographs from the famed singer's professional and personal life. Lake George photographer Fred Thatcher is credited with many of Sembrich's photographs taken in Bolton Landing.

Historic Place

marcella sembrich teaching studio sign, 1924 to 1934, opened to visitors 1937

Following Sembrich's death in 1935, her daughter-in-law Juliette de Coppet Stengel preserved the 4.5-acre parcel with the studio, turning it into a memorial for her mother-in-law that opened to the public in 1937. The museum has been in continuous operation ever since.

The Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was formed in 1940 to preserve the studio and grounds, and to honor and continue Sembrich's legacy.

The Sembrich was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Nature Preserve

three images of a nature preserve

In addition to the rich history and culture that The Sembrich brings to the Lake George region, the beautifully maintained property also includes several lakeside walking paths.

The walking paths at The Sembrich follow the lakeshore and wind through the wooded property. The main lakeside path is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, and brings you to a scenic viewpoint.

The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The museum closes from 12:30pm to 2pm each day, but the grounds remain open throughout the day.

festival performances with singing and acting

Buy Tickets Today for the 2024 Summer Festival

The 2024 summer music festival at The Sembrich in Bolton Landing begins on Wednesday, June 5. With the centennial celebration in full swing, this is the optimal time to experience all that The Sembrich has to offer!

Get tickets now >>

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