EUROPE Austria Salzburg Festival July 24-August 31; 43-662/804-5500; www.salzburgfestival.at. For the first time at this venerable festival, Baroque opera takes center stage: Purcell's King Arthur, directed by Jürgen Flimm and conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, with texts by 17th-century poet John Dryden sung in English and spoken in German. Bregenz Festival July 21-August 22; 43-5574/4076; www.bregenzerfestspiele.com. This summer the Sharks and the Jets will meet for a rumble on the floating stage at the edge of Lake Constance, in a revival of last season's wildly successful West Side Story. Also jazzing up the proceedings is this year's tribute to Kurt Weill, which includes one of his masterworks, The Seven Deadly Sins. Czech Republic Prague Spring International Festival May 12-June 3; 420-296/329-999; www.festival.cz. Prague's rich musical heritage comes alive each spring in programs that often showcase the work of Czech composers. This year you can hear Mozart's Don Giovanni performed in the theater where it received its premiere, or take in two rarely seen operas: Janácek's The Adventures of Mr. Broucek and Dvorák's folk-inspired The Devil and Kate, the comic tale of a country lass lured to hell by her love for a shepherd. France Festival d'Avignon July 3-27; www.festival-avignon.com. Berlin-based stage director Thomas Ostermeier brings his Woyzeck, playwright Georg Büchner's tale of a tragic Everyman sacrificed to society's whims, to a festival reborn after a French general strike canceled the 2003 season here and in Aix-en-Provence. Looking for a video installation in a 14th-century cloister?Some 35 works, ranging from dance to classical drama and street theater, unfold in sometimes spectacular sites, such as the Grand Courtyard of the Palais des Papes. Festival d'Aix-en-Provence July 5-31; 33-4/42-17-34-34; www.festival-aix.com. William Christie conducts the early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants in Handel's Hercules. The world premiere of Hanjo, the story of a mad geisha, based upon Yukio Mishima's modern Noh drama, with music and libretto by the contemporary composer Toshio Hosokawa, is staged by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. Italy The Rome Chamber Music Festival at Villa Aurelia June 15-24; www.romechamberfestival.org. On the highest of Rome's seven hills, the Villa Aurelia, home to the American Academy in Rome, inaugurates the Rome Chamber Music Festival. Violinist Robert McDuffie has scheduled a mix of works by 0ld- and new-world composers, from Haydn and Schubert to Copland and Barber. Elba, Musical Island of Europe September 2-15; 39-0565/960-157; www.elbamusic.com. A little-known but lively music festival unfolds in intimate theaters built for no less a listener than Napoleon and in an open-air arena overlooking the sea. Chief conductor and violist Yuri Bashmet leads the Moscow Soloists chamber orchestra, joined by the Kremerata Baltica (founded by Gidon Kremer) and mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirschlager, in a program that runs from Telemann to Astor Piazzolla. Switzerland Verbier Festival July 16-August 1; 41-27/771-8282; www.verbierfestival.com. High in the Swiss Alps, Verbier attracts a starry cast of soloists. James Levine conducts the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra, with violinist Joshua Bell, pianist Martha Argerich, and baritone Thomas Quasthoff, in works by Brahms, Mahler, and Schumann. Elsewhere, Bell and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet accompany opera's current It girl, soprano Anna Netrebko, in a song recital. United Kingdom Edinburgh International Festival August 15-September 4; 44-131/473-2000; www.eif.co.uk. Fervent French Catholic poet Paul Claudel's The Satin Slipper, a seldom-performed 10-hour verse epic of impossible love, has been called the "Mount Everest of theater." Directed by Olivier Py, it's among the abundant offerings of the Edinburgh International Festival, known for embracing both classical and risk-taking productions. Meanwhile, for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August 8-30; 44-131/226-0000; www.edfringe.com), Rhode Island high-school students will introduce a modern adaptation of Beowulf. Glyndebourne Festival May 20-August 29; 44-1273/813-813; www.glyndebourne.com. The haunting, otherworldly strains of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande are transposed from the symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck, with its medieval ghost-land setting, to the 20th century in the Glyndebourne revival of director Graham Vick's ingenious and acclaimed 1999 production.
Festivals Around the Globe
Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland August 4-14; www.pardo.ch. For two weeks in August, the Piazza Grande of this Italian Swiss resort town is transformed into an open-air theater, where up to 7,000 people gather each evening before one of the world's largest movie screens. The focus is on auteur and independent cinema. In addition, there are French-language film shorts and a video competition. Venice Film Festival, Italy Late August-early September; www.labiennale.org. Last year, The Return, an exquisite Russian production, grabbed the Golden Lion, creating an instant art-house classic. This year, Mira Nair's Vanity Fair (with Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp) may be a contender. Telluride Film Festival, United States September 3-6; www.telluridefilmfestival.com. Billed as the people's festival, Telluride remains blissfully free of the hierarchies and hysteria present at other gatherings. Cinematic gems The Crying Game and My Dinner with André had their debuts here.