(June-August) Located in the heart of Spa State Park, outside of Saratoga Springs, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is a magnet venue for a number of world-class performance organizations, with summer residencies including the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and Philadelphia Orchestra. Its calendar features productions in all of the performing arts, including opera, dance, chamber and symphonic music, jazz and pop music. Additionally, the SPAC hosts Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival and the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, and oversees the National Museum of Dance, also located in Spa State Park.
The SPAC traces its history back to 1961, when an Albany newspaper published an editorial criticizing an effort to move the summer residence of the New York Philharmonic (NYP) to Vermont. Proposing the State Reservation at Saratoga Springs, the column sparked a wave of public support. In a few years, fundraising had begun (with money from those original advocates’ pockets), and continued with contributions from New York State and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. At this point the NYP had dropped out of the picture, but soon after the Philadelphia Orchestra became involved.
Ground was broken on June 30, 1964. The amphitheater was built around a natural bowl shape in the park’s landscape, with 5,200 sheltered seats, and a surrounding lawn to accommodate approximately 20,000 more people. Its designers consulted with George Balanchine, engineering the stage specifically for the NYCB; and Eugene Ormandy, ensuring that the venue was acoustically engineered to maximize the effect of a symphony orchestra. The countless performing ensembles that have crossed the stage here have found the SPAC to be one of the most ideal stages in the country, for all genres of the performing arts. The SPAC partners with Live Nation, which produces all of its rock and pop concerts.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs, NY) Information
- Public Transportation: Good (The CDTA bus 409 stop at Avenue of the Pines and Route 9 is across the street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 100 per Summer season
- Ticket Prices: Ticket prices range widely depending on performer and seat selection. Reduced ticket rates are available for groups of 20 or more people.
- Membership: Individual membership starts at $70; Student membership is $25. Members receive ticket priority for Jazz Festival & classical performances. (NO Live Nation Concerts); free admission for two to designated rehearsals of the Ballet and Orchestra; a 25% discount on up to two Amphitheatre tickets for all Ballet and Orchestra evening performances (excluding the Gala) at 6:00 PM day of event; a 15% discount on Ballet and Orchestra tickets; invitations to special SPAC member events; and the members only electronic newsletter.