By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Alice Busch Opera Theater, Cooperstown, New York, 607-547-2255, www.cooperstown.net/glimmerglass
Season of four new productions in alternating repertory opens July 5 with Chabrier's witty rarity, L'étoile. Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro starts July 6, Handel's Agrippina July 21, and Britten's The Rape of Lucretia July 28. Expect fresh and in-your-face theatrical values and solid music-making. Inquire about such extra events as concerts and panel discussions. Season ends August 28.
LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL 2001
Various venues, 875-5928, www.lincolncenter.org
July 7-8 'The Peony Pavilion,' Walter Reade Theater:A complete film version of the ancient, haunting 19-hour Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion, in the 1999 sold-out Lincoln Center Festival production, is screened once only. Each day's 150-minute segments begin at noon, with appropriate breaks. Chinese and English titles.
July 10, 12-13 'Edda,' John Jay College Theater: Some of these violent incidents found their way into Wagner's Ring. Conceived and directed by Benjamin Bagby (the riveting Beowulfreciter) and famed avant-gardist Ping Chong, and performed by Bagby's group Sequentia and Chong's company in Old Icelandic with English titles.
July 10, 12-14 'Luci mie traditrici,' La Guardia Drama Theater:A chamber opera of adultery and murder, with music and libretto by Salvatore Sciarrino, one of contemporary Italy's most interesting composers. Directed by Trisha Brown.
July 10, 12-14 'White Raven,' New York State Theater:It's the U.S. premiere of the latest collaboration between composer Philip Glass and director-designer Robert Wilson, a five-act opera with a libretto by Portugal's Luisa Costa Gomes. It's an international, indeed inter-planetary, fantasy inspired by 16th-century explorer Vasco da Gama, the bloke who also figures in Meyerbeer's L'Africaine, as Columbus figured in Glass's Met opera, The Voyage. Dennis Russell Davies conducts the American Composers Orchestra.
July 11 Salvatore Sciarrino: Chamber Music; Paul Hall, Juilliard School:Includes the U.S. premiere of a suite from Aspern, with texts by Lorenzo da Ponte (Mozart's best librettist), Henry James, and others. Joel Sachs conducts the New Juilliard Ensemble. Free.
July 21, 25-27 Philip Glass Retrospective: The first concert, starting at 4 in Avery Fisher Hall, takes Glass's ensemble through the complete Music in 12 Parts, the benchmark score that, with breaks between sections, may take six hours. Tully Hall at 8 offers the other programs. July 25 brings choral and chamber music, and the other two evenings bring new short films by Egoyan, Greenaway, and others to music by Glass, performed live by his ensemble.
July 25, 27-28 'Black on White,' LaGuardia Concert Hall: It's an 80-minute music-theater piece by ultrapluralist composer Heiner Goebbels that uses spoken texts by Poe, Eliot, and others. The often wonderful Ensemble Modern performs it.
MET IN THE PARKS
Various venues, 362-6000, www.metopera.org, free
Puccini's Tosca, conducted by the masterly Julius Rudel, and Verdi's La traviata, conducted by Maurizio Barbacini, both with alternating and competent casts. Tosca is heard June 19 on the Great Lawn, Central Park, and La traviata gets there on June 25. Phone for the other dates and places.
Various Lincoln Center venues, but mostly in Avery Fisher Hall, 875-5399, www.lincolncenter.org
July 30-August 25:As usual, this festival is almost comically misnamed, since only one-third of the four-week schedule is occupied by Mozart. Expect also a fair amount of Beethoven, Haydn, and Vivaldi. More significantly, this is tireless conductor Gerard Schwarz's final summer as the festival's music director. The pro-grams, guest conductors, and soloists are too numerous to list here, but I suggest you don't miss the festival debut on August 6 in Tully Hall of the already legendary Tallis Scholars. These choristers sing sacred music by Schütz, Bach, Praetorius, and Buxtehude. Then again, the summer's high-light may well be an all-too-rare pair of performances, on August 3 and 4 in Fisher, of Schumann's glorious oratorio, Das Paradis und die Peri. Schwarz conducts a large ensemble that includes such fine solo singers as Christine Goerke, Kristine Jepson, Robert Brubaker, and Peter Rose. If Schumann had tried a Parsifalopera, it surely would have come out something like this.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
Various venues, 875-5709, www.newyorkphilharmonic.org, free
Two weeks of free concerts in several parks. Opening night, July 10 (rain date July 11), on Central Park's Great Lawn has Chicago Symphony assistant conductor William Eddins leading Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture and a new violin-and-orchestra arrangement of LB's West Side Story music, with Joshua Bell as soloist. Prokofiev's flashy Symphony No. 5 precedes the fireworks. Michael Stern conducts the second program, in which standard gems by Johann Strauss Jr. and Ravel frame the often sensational Audra McDonald singing Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, which will probably make the fireworks redundant. That takes place July 16 on the Great Lawn. Phone for the other dates and places.
Reviews by Leighton Kerner