UNITED STATES New York City Lincoln Center Festival (July 1231; 212/721-6500; www.lincolncenter.org). French avant-gardiste Ariane Mnouchkine's troupe, Théâtre du Soleil, makes a rare stateside appearance with Le Dernier Caravansérail, a drama based upon letters from Afghan, Iranian, and Kurdish refugees; and visionary director Yukio Ninagawa stages selections from Modern Noh Plays, Yukio Mishima's reinterpretation of classic Japanese theater. Mostly Mozart Festival (July 28Aug. 27; 212/721-6500; www.lincolncenter.org). Outstanding music director Louis Langrée leads an inspired roster of soloists, including soprano Renée Fleming, in programs exploring the influence of Mozart's travels on his music. Peter Sellars directs mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in stagings of Bach cantatas. Katonah, N.Y. Caramoor International Music Festival (June 25Aug. 13; 914/ 232-8239; www.caramoor.com). The 60th season at this magnificent estate extends from family programs (Copland's Rodeo), to a tribute to Frank Sinatra, to a production of Bellini's Sonnambula. Cooperstown, N.Y. Glimmerglass Opera (June 30Aug. 23; 607/547-2255; www.glimmerglass.org). The compelling program features Benjamin Britten's seldom-produced final opera, Death in Venice, inspired by Thomas Mann's novella about an older writer fatally drawn to the city's sensual allure, and Francis Poulenc's Voix Humaine, an operatic monologue based upon the Jean Cocteau play about a jilted mistress who bids her lover adieu by telephone. Lenox, Mass. Tanglewood (June 24Aug. 28; 888/266-1200; www.bso.org). In his inaugural season as music director, James Levine leads several hundred performers, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and soloist Deborah Voigt, in Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 8. Other evenings showcase new works by composers John Harbison and Charles Wuorinen, and the return of pop legend James Taylor. Charleston Spoleto Festival USA (May 27June 12; 843/579-3100; www.spoletousa.org). Operatic éminence grise Julius Rudel conducts the American premiere of Die Vögel by Walter Braunfels, a composer blacklisted under the Third Reich. Jonathan Eaton directs this Straussian transformation of Aristophanes' comedy The Birds. Savion Glover tap-dances his way through a night of improvisation and choreography, and the Italian puppet theater Colla Marionettes works its magic on two ballets, Sheherazade and Petrushka. Detroit Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival (June 1126; 248/559-2097; www.greatlakeschambermusic.com). The festival opens with a new multimedia interpretation of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, performed by contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird and Chicago-based puppeteers Blair Thomas Theatre; the 96-year-young Elliott Carter is featured composer. Santa Fe Santa Fe Opera (July 1Aug. 27; 800/280-4654; www.santafeopera.org). Santa Fe presents a new full-scale production of Ainadamar, Osvaldo Golijov's flamenco-tinged opera based on the life and assassination of Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca. Peter Sellars directs soprano Dawn Upshaw as Margarita Xirgu, one of Spain's most celebrated actresses. Vail, Colo. Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (June 26Aug. 4; 877/812-5700; www.vailmusicfestival.org). Some 60,000 music lovers trek 8,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains for orchestra and chamber music concerts that cover the traditionally classical and the eminently contemporary. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic are in residence. Ojai, Calif. Ojai Music Festival (June 912; 805/646-2053; www.ojaifestival.org). A recital by pianist Peter Serkin is one highlight of this compact but wide-ranging festival, for the first time directed by British composer Oliver Knussen. Also making a debut: the Cleveland Orchestra, with music director Franz Welser-Möst. La Jolla, Calif. La Jolla SummerFest (Aug. 421; 858/459-3728; www.ljms.org). In concert halls throughout San Diego and La Jolla, the chamber music festival, led by violinist Cho-Liang Lin, attracts top talent, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who continues a path along the Silk Road's musical legacy.
CANADA Montreal Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 30July 10; 888/515-0515; www.montrealjazzfest.com). This year, Roberta Flack and Al Jarreau share a double bill in Montreal, where the up-and-coming rub shoulders with the immortals of jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues. Other guests include vocalist Madeleine Peyroux and gospel greats the Blind Boys of Alabama.