T+L's Global Guide to Arts & Culture 2005
Published: May 2009
By Leslie Camhi
Opera in Provence, chamber music in Norway, Japanese theater in New York: here, T+L's guide to the new season in Europe and across North America.
EUROPE Austria Salzburg Festival (July 25Aug. 31; 43-662/804-5500; www.salzburgfestival.at). Franz Schreker's apocalyptic opera, Die Gezeichneten (The Marked Ones), about a hunchbacked nobleman's longing for beauty, provides a climax to several seasons devoted to composers banned in Nazi Germany. Nikolaus Lehnhoff directs; Kent Nagano conducts. Riccardo Muti returns to the festival's opera podium after several years' absence, for Graham Vick's new production of Mozart's Zauberflöte. Finland Savonlinna Opera Festival (July 8Aug. 6; 358-600/10800; www.operafestival.fi). Evenings at Olavinlinna Castle, set in the middle of a lake, make a spectacular backdrop for classic and contemporary operas, from Verdi's Aida to Jaakko Kuusisto's Canine Kalevala (based on the Finnish national epic, but with cats, dogs, and wolves as its heroes). France Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (July 831; 33-4/42-17-34-34; www.festival-aix.com). Dark passions and ghost stories take the lead, with the world premiere of Philippe Boesmans's opera Julie, based on the play Miss Julie by August Strindberg, and Benjamin Britten's Modernist Turn of the Screw, inspired by Henry James's haunted Victorians. Germany In Transit (June 218; 49-30/3978-7175; www.in-transit.de). A Mexican theater troupe's version of the legend of Joan of Arc, a survey of the Japanese dance scene, and Irani vocalist Sussan Deyhim's jazz riffs on the Sufi tradition are among the promised pleasures of this Berlin festival, where eclecticism is the rule. Italy Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (April 30July 8; 39-0424/600-458; www.maggiofiorentino.com). This Florentine institution boasts dance performances as well as operas like Tosca (conducted by Zubin Mehta, who also leads the festival orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), set amid the noble architecture of the Piazza della Signoria. Tuscan Sun Festival (Aug. 521; 212/994-3537; www.tuscansunfestival.com). Where else but in Cortona can one enjoy the artistry of soloists such as pianist Hélène Grimaud and violinist Midori, Roman thermal baths, and the sensual delights of Tuscan wine and cuisine—all in sublime hillside surroundings?Russia Moscow Easter Festival (May 111; 7-095/933-7559; www.easterfestival.ru). Russia celebrates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II with a festival of heroic music (including Prokofiev's War and Peace), the debut of the International Youth Orchestra, and a concert on Poklonnaya Hill. Stars of the White Nights Festival (May 27July 24; 7-812/326-4141; www.mariinsky.ru). In St. Petersburg, artistic director Valery Gergiev conducts Wagner's Parsifal with a cast that includes the remarkable German bass René Pape and tenor Oleg Balashov. The Mariinsky Theater also plays host to ballets by Forsythe, Balanchine, and the immortal Petipa. Switzerland Verbier Festival (July 22Aug. 7; 41-21/925-9060; www.verbierfestival.com). At this Alpine retreat, the hills are alive with a recital by soprano Kiri Te Kanawa; all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, performed by American pianist Garrick Ohlsson; and percussionist Andrei Pushkarev's Vibrations, riffs on Bach's Inventions inspired by jazz musicians. United Kingdom Glyndebourne Festival (May 19Aug. 26; 44-1273/813-813; www.glyndebourne.com). This season's new opera productions range from Giulio Cesare, Handel's vision of Roman imperial glory (conducted by William Christie), to La Cenerentola, Rossini's comic "Cinderella."
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.
Martha Graham's forceful, fresh-air Appalachian Spring is a highlight of this year's program, "Aaron Copland and His World." The 1944 masterwork, danced to Copland's Shaker hymnbased celebration of Americana, features Graham's compelling choreography, framed by Isamu Noguchi's classic setting, all plain wood, newly painted siding, and wide-open space. Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; July 8Aug. 21; 845/758-7950; www.bard.edu/fishercenter.
New York City Ballet
Justly acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, a Brit in the States, will turn his ever imaginative eye to An American in Paris and give the company a premiere inspired by the famous Gershwin score (New York State Theater; April 26June 26; 212/870-5570; www.nycballet.com). In Saratoga Springs, NYCB's summer home, the solstice gets honored with Balanchine's shimmering, two-act Midsummer Night's Dream. July 523; 518/587-3330; www.spac.org.
Edinburgh International Festival
Wheeldon's staging of Swan Lake, a meditation on the interior and exterior worlds of 19th-century Paris, is shown off in Scotland by the Pennsylvania Ballet. Aug. 14Sept. 4; 44-131/473-2000; www.eif.co.uk.
American Ballet Theatre
At the Metropolitan Opera House, ABT's mini-festival of works by the legendary choreographer Michel Fokine features the innovative Russian's take on Asian nomadic celebrations set to Borodin's "Polovtsian dances," and a new production of Petrushka. New York; June 1622; 212/362-6000; www.abt.org.
Suzanne Farrell Ballet
A new staging, coproduced with the National Ballet of Canada, of Balanchine's Don Quixote is supervised by Suzanne Farrell, for whose visionary femininity and technical dazzle the three-act spectacle was first conceived. Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; June 2226; 202/467-4600; www.kennedy-center.org.
At 34, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is sought after by nearly every major orchestra and concert hall. But for six days each summer, he turns away from the international circuit to co-direct the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, set in the tiny fishing village of Risør, on Norway's southeastern coast, where performances are given in a 17th-century wooden church. This summer's focus is Mozart, a specialty of Andsnes's. Mozart's unfinished, early opera Zaïde will be staged in an abandoned factory—a relic left over from Risør's bustling shipping days. Other concerts feature Mozart's chamber works, played by top Norwegian musicians as well as such world stars as pianist Emanuel Ax and violist Tabea Zimmerman. This month, Andsnes organizes a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall in the spirit of Risør, as part of the New York venue's Perspectives series. Andsnes Project, Carnegie Hall Perspectives; May 613; 212/247-7800; www.carnegiehall.org. Risør Kammermusikkfest, June 28July 3; 47-37/153-250; www.kammermusikkfest.no.
The Shaw Festival Theatre, the only company dedicated to the plays of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, offers 10 productions, including two by the master, Major Barbara and You Never Can Tell. Also on the boards: The Constant Wife, Somerset Maugham's comedy of manners about the intricacies of marital infidelity. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; through Nov. 27; 800/511-7429; www.shawfest.com.
Stratford Festival of Canada
"Saints and Sinners," 15 plays on four stages over five months, ranges from Shakespeare (The Tempest) to Noël Coward (Fallen Angels) to Tennessee Williams (Orpheus Descending). Don't miss: Amanda Plummer in The Lark, Jean Anouilh's drama about Joan of Arc, staged by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Stratford, Ontario; through Nov. 6; 800/567-1600; www.stratfordfestival.ca.
Royal Shakespeare Company
The season's centerpiece is Thomas More, by Shakespeare, Anthony Munday, and Henry Chettle. A drama about the conflict between Henry VIII and his great chancellor, it was banned by royal authorities in 1595: this is its professional premiere. Plus: new stagings of four of the Bard's comedies. Stratford-upon-Avon, England; through October; 44-870/609-1110; www.rsc.org.uk.