Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718-855-7882,

July 27 Brooklyn Philharmonic


Rumsey Playfield, 72nd Street, 360-2777,

June 14 The New York Pops

July 3 and 31, August 7 New York Grand Opera


Alice Busch Opera Theater, 7300 State Highway 80 Cooperstown, NY, 607-547-2255,

July 5-August 27: The four-hour drive or train-and-bus trip in good weather is worth taking for this company’s four varied operas in the intimate, well-equipped Busch Theater near Cooperstown, NY. The two novelties are Haydn’s Ariosto-inspired Orlando Paladino (often labeled “comic-heroic,” opening July 20) and Mark Adamo’s recently composed and already popular Little Women (opening July 6). More familiar are Poulenc’s mercilessly moving Dialogues of the Carmelites (opening July 27) and that sexy and violent double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (opening July 5). The casts include several proven first-raters, and all the shows except the double bill are in English.


Lincoln Center, Broadway and 65th Street, 875-5928,

July 16-21 The Silver River: Composer Bright Sheng and playwright David Henry Hwang, both of whom have mixed art and politics into dangerous brews, have created an opera based on a Chinese legend of tragic love, and the piece is already internationally famous.

July 18 New York Philharmonic’s Kurt Masur Birthday Celebration: Kurt Masur celebrates his 75th birthday by conducting for the last time in New York as this orchestra’s music director. It’s a big mix of old favorites and interesting new stuff, with lots of soloists from the orchestra’s virtuosic ranks. This evening will assuredly show Masur at his best.

July 22 New Juilliard Ensemble: Conductor Joel Sachs’s brilliant students play a free concert of chamber music by the festival’s two opera composers, Bright Sheng and Guo Wenjung.

July 24-27 ‘The Night Banquet’: This opera by Guo Wenjing, who like Bright Sheng draws from both Chinese roots and Western resources, throws ancient morality concerns into a modern light. The wonderful Ensemble Modern from Frankfurt plays for the singers, and the director is Chen Shi-Zheng, the young miracle maker who staged The Peony Pavilion for the festival three years ago.

July 28 Ensemble Modern: The Frankfurters, after serving as the backup band for The Night Banquet, gets their own concert, consisting of pieces by Guo Wenjung, Helmut Lachenmann, Elliott Sharp, and Elliott Carter’s bouncy, quirky, witty, and dazzling Triple Duo. After this, the festival can do nothing but close up.


Various venues, 875-5108,

August 6 Magos Herrera and Iraida Noriega

August 14 Two Siberians

August 16 Odean Pope Saxophone Choir

August 20 Quartetto Gelato

August 21 Relâche

August 22 George Kahumoku


Various venues, 362-6000,

June 12-28: The Metropolitan Opera, with its great orchestra and good assortment of singers, offers free concert performances of Puccini’s La Bohéme and Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia in various New York City parks, with additional stops in New Jersey and New Haven, Connecticut. The two Central Park performances, on the Great Lawn, offer Bohéme on June 11 and Barbiere on June 17. All operas start at 8. No tickets required. Bring blankets or lawn chairs.


Lincoln Center, mostly at Avery Fisher Hall, with occasional shifts to Alice Tully Hall, 875-5399,

July 29-August 24: Although it’s again only about one-third Mozart, and the resident orchestra has no music director this summer, Lincoln Center programming boss Jane Moss and her team have put together an attractive schedule. Special highlights: Delectable mezzo Susan Graham singing Mozart, Gluck, and Handel July 30 and 31; baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky singing Gluck, Mozart, Handel, and lots of Verdi August 8; a solid lineup for Mozart’s edition of Handel’s Acis and Galatea August 11, prefaced by the New York premiere of Handel’s Gloria; Handel’s Esther August 18 (welcome to the “Heartily Handel Festival”!); and the drop-dead glamorous Karita Mattila singing big concert arias by Mozart and Beethoven August 23 and 24.


Various venues, 875-5709,

July 24-August 3: Free, no tickets required, and you sit on blankets, lawn chairs, or what God or Nature gave you. For the week starting July 24 on Central Park’s Great Lawn and then in other boroughs, the capable Bramwell Tovey leads party pieces by Dvorák, Grieg, Bruch, Liszt, and Sibelius. The followng week gives you Asher Fisch conducting Rossini, Rachmaninoff, and the intensely musical Alisa Weilerstein as cello soloist on behalf of Saint-Säens.


McCarter Theatre, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ, 609-258-2787

June 22-July 21: Young talent gets chances to expand in this month-long annual enterprise. From June 22 through July 21, there’ll be Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, with that gripping singing actress, Phyllis Pancella, as the lady who gets famously gripped (July 8, 12, and 21); Rossini’s rather ubiquitous but often hilarious Il Barbiere di Siviglia; and an updated Verdi La Traviata. The McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ, proves a pleasant place to hear and see opera. (It’s an easy train ride from Penn Station.) The theater is one block away from Princeton Station.


297 West Street, Lenox, MA, 617-266-1492,

June 26-September 1: Most of this summer binge’s real excitement comes not from the Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts, with their undeniably fine guest soloists (or guest orchestras), but from the classes, rehearsals, and concerts of the Tanglewood Music Center students. These youngsters also make up the performance-spine of the center’s annual “Contemporary Music Festival,” which spans July 19 through 25. CMF is highlighted by a July 20 matinee of American art songs in tribute to Phyllis Curtin, one-time student at Tanglewood and now its most magnetic teacher. Among the festival’s many composers are Elliott Carter, Ned Rorem, Milton Babbitt, Frank Zappa, Morton Feldman, and William Bolcom. Later in the summer, August 22, comes possibly the country’s most exciting event this year. It’s Argentinean-Israeli Osvaldo Golijov’s almost new but already legendary La Pasión Según San Marcos, a Saint Mark’s Passion exploded into gritty, highly spiced street mode.


Washington Square Park, West 4th Street and MacDougal, 252-3621

The two free classical concerts this year feature a conductorless orchestra, although cellist Lutz Rath, as official music director, will doubtless settle any arguments. July 16 at 8: Beethovens’s Septet and Dvorák’s two heady Serenades, one for winds and the other for strings. July 23 at 8: a Mozart Divertimento, Elgar’s Elegy, and Britten’s Simple Symphony. Southeast quadrant of Washington Square Park, near the Garibaldi statue (follow the puppies).