PREVIEW: Mid-summer in (and Around) the City
Here we are, halfway through summer, and a number of upcoming highlights have come into better focus as the summer musical season kicks into high gear. A few ideas to escape the sweltering concrete jungle are timely, in the face of what promises to be a punishing heat wave.
Bel canto / Maestro-turned-impresario Will Crutchfield’s new venture rehabbing the art of bel canto, Teatro Nuovo, makes two stops in Manhattan following critically praised performances in Westchester. Bellini’s La Straniera (July 17) and Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra (July 18) are both rarely performed gems being performed in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre.
The Magic Flute / Mozart’s Singspiel is directed by Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky in a version that’s “a spectacular kaleidoscope of 1920s silent films, Weimar cabaret, and the dark whimsy of fairy tales.” The cast, from Komische Oper Berlin interacts with animated projections. At the Koch Theatre July 17-20.
The Brightness of Light / This Saturday, July 20, the BSO premieres a new work at Tanglewood (by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts) based on letters of Georgia O’Keefe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz. Showcasing the reigning diva of concert song, Renée Fleming, and the superb baritone Rod Gilfry, The Brightness of Light will be conducted by Andris Nelsons. Elgar’s Enigma Variations rounds out the program. July 23rd, Tanglewood is “On Parade,” climaxing in fireworks. July 25, brilliant violinist Stefan Jackew is joined by pianist Jeremy Denk and vocal quartet Hudson Shad in an all-Ives program. July 26 - 28 is Wagner Weekend, with Die Walküre spread across two concerts, July 27-28.
A Little Night Music / Cellist Kian Soltani, fresh off his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut in May, plays a late night program (10 PM) in Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival on Tuesday, July 23. Complimentary wine and candlelight, along with a captivating program — Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Chopin’s Polonaise, and music speaking to the cellist’s Persian heritage — make this something to add to the calendar.
SummerScape / Another opera receiving a rare production — this is the US Premiere, in fact — Erich Korngold’s The Miracle of Heliane, is presented at the Fisher Center at Bard College July 26 - August 4. Leon Botstein and his American Symphony Orchestra are in the pit, and the stellar cast is directed by Christian Räth.
Veils of Desire / Caramoor’s Vocal Series hosts the American Modern Opera Company, a collective of up and coming artists, with this evening in which Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac is supplemented by music of Monteverdi, Bach, and new material by Matthew Aucoin, exploring “pieces of music that “veil” or transform an unspeakable desire into a new, mysterious form.” Tuesday, July 25.
Saratoga Springs / The Philadelphia Orchestra is in residence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the month of August. They arrive with Festive Fireworks on Wednesday July 31. Especially enticing is a program entitled “Songs of the Sea” conducted by Stéphane Denève on Friday, August 2, featuring Britten’s Sea Interludes, Debussy’s La Mer, as well as Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with Janice Carissa at the piano. Chamber Music of Lincoln Center is also taking in the therapeutic waters, in the Spa Little Theatre August 4 -20.
Cooperstown Haunts / Glimmerglass Opera has two must-sees this year. An all-too scarce production of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, running through August 23, and a world premiere work by Jeanine Tesori (libretto by Tazewell Thompson) called Blue, about the black experience in America, running through August 22.
Vessel Orchestra / Not that Vessel. This is the first sound-based installation commissioned by the Met Museum. British artist Oliver Beer has created a veritable instrument, well, an orchestra, from various objets d’art in the museum’s collection. Beer has penned a new composition for his creation that will play during museum hours, and composers such as Nico Muhly and John Zorn take their turn with it, as well. Through August 11 at the Met Breuer.
Back in Brooklyn / The latest spot to hear hot-off-the-press new music is Areté, an interdisciplinary Venue and Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Composer Christopher Cerrone’s The Pieces That Fall to Earth, a new recording being released on July 26, receives a performance at Areté on August 2 8:00 pm. This is a highlight, but check out their calendar: this venue’s lineup is worth a deep dive.