Artbeat: Performance from Around the World | 2001
Published: July 2009
By Mario R. Mercado
The Edinburgh International Festival claims to be the world's largest devoted to the performing arts — and it never shies away from pitting the classical against the fringe. This year's program ranges from Wagner's Die Walküre, the second installment of the Scottish Opera's Ring Cycle, to An Alphabet by John Cage, a play-cum-homage to Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, and James Joyce, featuring the ever-youthful, 82-year-old modern dance icon Merce Cunningham. Making debuts are the Vienna Burgtheater and Germany's Ballet Freiburg Pretty Ugly, performing The Art of Fugue, set to Bach's contrapuntal masterpiece, with choreography by American Amanda Miller. Edinburgh International Festival, Aug. 12—Sept. 1; 44-131/473-2000.
JAZZ Ë VIENNE June 29—July 13; 33-4/74-78-87-87. A who's who of jazz, including Brazilian legends Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento, New York hipsters John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, and brooding heartthrob Brad Mehldau at the piano.
MUNICH OPERA FESTIVAL June 29—July 31; 49-89/2185-1920. A full production of Berlioz's five-act opera Les Troyens, based on Virgil's Aeneid, is rare, given its 20-plus solo roles. The sometimes-controversial, always-original Graham Vick takes on this classic, from the siege of Troy to the drama of Dido and Aeneas. It's one of 16 operas here, Monteverdi's Baroque Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria and Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier among them.
SALZBURG FESTIVAL July 21—Aug. 31; 43-662/804-5579. Bryn Terfel stars in Verdi's comic masterpiece Falstaff, which is staged by British director Declan Donnellan, known for his fresh takes on Shakespearean favorites for London's acclaimed Cheek by Jowl company.
SANTANDER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Aug. 1—Sept. 1; 34-942/210-508. American theater's grandfather of the vanguard, Robert Wilson, mounts a musical extravaganza, Prometheus, based on a composition by the late, iconoclastic Iannis Xenakis. Another highlight of the festival's numerous productions is Bellini's Norma, the bel canto opera whose famous aria "Casta Diva" accompanied Susan Sarandon's ablutions (with lots and lots of lemons) in Atlantic City.
SAVONLINNA OPERA FESTIVAL July 7—Aug. 5; 358-15/476-750. Verdi's work takes center stage this summer, but the location is the same as it's always been — a medieval castle in the middle of a lake. A new production of Rigoletto, with dreamy baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the title role, opens July 11; other Verdi operas include Macbeth and Aida.
WHITE NIGHTS, ST. PETERSBURG June 1—July 1; 44-207/470-8705. The monthlong festival at the Mariinsky Theater is packed with opera and ballet, including the world premiere of the opera Tsar Demyan, an unusual collaboration among five contemporary Russian composers.
VERBIER FESTIVAL July 20—Aug.5; 41-21/925-9060. In only eight years, this Swiss Alps hamlet has emerged as a hot spot for classical musicians. Solo recitals and orchestral concerts are offered by virtuoso pianists Martha Argerich, Arcadi Volodos, and Leif Ove Andsnes; violinists Gidon Kremer and Vadim Repin; and conductors James Levine and Kent Nagano.