Friday, May 20, 2011

The summer season 2011

A review post on May's three Met-season-closing Luisi events will follow soon, but it's past time to think about summer offerings. Restrictions, as in previous years: reasonable driving distance from NYC and no musical theater (with one exception I couldn't omit). Even within these limits there's a pretty good set of offerings one can take in before/instead of/as well as jetting off to Bayreuth, Salzburg, or Santa Fe.

Opera Company of Philadelphia's Phaedra (June 3-12 in Philadelphia)
After an excellent Rape of Lucretia in 2009, Tamara Mumford returns to Philadelphia for another 20th century mezzo lead, this one even more obscure: the American premiere of Hans Werner Henze's Phaedra. William Burden, the excellent Male Chorus in Lucretia, returns as Hippolyt; Met Council-winning countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is Artemis (!).

New York City Opera's concert Treemonisha (June 6) (at the Schomburg Center uptown)
Don't know the rest of the cast, but Krysty Swann (Monisha here) impressed as Lola in OONY's Cav.

Boston Early Music Festival's Niobe, Regina di Tebe (June 12–19 in Boston and June 24-25 in Great Barrington, MA) and Acis & Galatea (June 18 in Boston and June 26-27 in Great Barrington, MA)
Another American premiere, here Agostino Steffani's 17th century opera from Munich, as well as a more familiar Handel piece.

Wolf Trap's The Curious Women (June 17-25) and Tales of Hoffmann (August 5-13) (both in Vienna, VA)
The rarity this year is Wolf-Ferrari's Le donne curiose, not heard in the US since its 1912 Met debut.

The Princeton Festival's Rake's Progress (June 19 and 26 in Princeton, NJ)
Some previous shows have not been fully staged, but this one is, and is at McCarter's main stage (right by the Princeton train station, if you're interested)

The Castleton Festival's La Boheme (June 25-July 16), Soldier's Tale/Master Pedro's Puppet Show double bill (June 26-July 16), and Seven Deadly Sins/L’enfant et les sortilèges double bill (July 8-23) (all in Castleton, VA); and Porgy & Bess concert excerpts (June 26) and Il Tabarro/Gianni Schicchi double bill (July 14) (both in Manassas, VA)
No Britten at all this year (this started a few years back as an all-Britten festival), and a second, closer-to-DC venue. There's also a Denyce Graves concert of Carmen excerpts on June 26 at the actual Castleton location.

Opera Saratoga's Fledermaus (June 29-July 10) and Cosi (June 30-July 9) (both in Saratoga Springs, NY)
It's the 50th season for the company formerly known as Lake George Opera.

Glimmerglass's Carmen (July 2-August 23), Medea (July 8-August 16), Annie Get Your Gun (July 16-August 21), and new-opera double bill (July 21-August 22) (all in Cooperstown, NY)
The first three shows are headlined by Ginger Costa-Jackson, Alexandra Deshorties, and Deborah Voigt (!) respectively. I guess Voigt really liked the whole Western thing... The two new operas are by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner (A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck) and John Musto and Mark Campbell (Later the Same Evening).

Lincoln Center Festival's Magic Flute (July 5-17) and Selma Jezkova (July 29)
Peter Brook's take on Mozart first, then a Poul Rouders opera based on von Trier's movie "Dancer in the Dark". I'm pretty sure Rouders (unlike von Trier) hasn't declared himself a Nazi recently, but he's got a few months.

Opera New Jersey's Barber of Seville (July 9-23) and The Consul (July 16 and 24) (all in Princeton, NJ)
These shows are also on the McCarter main stage, but there are miscellaneous events elsewhere (check the site).

Caramoor's William Tell (July 9 and 15 in Katonah, NY)
Daniel Mobbs sings Tell, but it's fearless Michael Spyres -- Bard's Raoul in their 2009 Huguenots -- who tackles the killer tenor part (Arnold).

The Metropolitan Opera's summer recital series (July 11-28 in NYC parks)
Angela Meade, Dimitri Pittas, and 2008 Met Council winner Jennifer Johnson Cano sing in the first two recitals, while Lindemann singers Layla Claire, Renee Tatum, and 2011 Met Council winner Ryan Speedo Green do the others.

Bard SummerScape's Die Liebe der Danae (July 29-August 7)
Strauss' goodbye to opera, as I recently noted, has some of his greatest -- and more infrequently heard -- music. Leon Botstein, who presented a concert version of this rarity a decade ago (available on record), now uses his upstate festival to offer an even more elusive (in the US, anyway) full stage version. Meagan Miller in the title role seems promising enough, but the main vocal/expressive challenge is in the punishing high-heldenbaritone part of Jupiter, here in the hands of German regional veteran Carsten Wittmoser. I suppose it's pandering to the tri-state greying-hipster crowd that architect Rafael Viñoly is doing the sets, but at least the director isn't the guy who did Bard's MMA staging of Huguenots two years ago... Their task will be to give some dramatic fluidity to the nontheatrical Joseph Gregor's libretto, but absent some vocal or directorial disaster the music should carry the day.

Mostly Mozart's "staged concert" Don Giovanni (August 4 and 6) and concert Orlando (August 14)
Iván Fischer conducts (and directs) his Budapest Festival Orchestra forces for the Mozart; Handel's Orlando is with Nicholas McGegan's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Tanglewood's concert Orlando (August 16) and Porgy & Bess (August 26) (both in Lenox, MA)
Another chance -- two days after their Mostly Mozart performance -- to see McGegan's touring Orlando; later Bramwell Tovey conducts the familiar Tanglewood (BSO) forces in Gershwin's opera. Tanglewood also has Norma and I Lombardi excerpts with Angela Meade, Kristine Jepson, and James Morris (July 8), a Susan Graham baroque concert (July 22), and a Stephanie Blythe early-American-themed concert (August 10).

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.