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Monday, May 30, 2011

The 2011 Superconductor Summer Preview

Mozart: ready for the beach

As the temperatures rise and power grids strain, it's good to know that there's quality music to be found in New York this summer. Here's the guide to summer music, from the frosty, lofty halls of Lincoln Center to the rolling green lawns of Tanglewood. And be sure to read Superconductor this summer for all the latest in concert reviews, news, opinion and the occasional parody. Plus there's pictures of composers in sunglasses. See, you feel cooler already.

The Return of the Philharmonic
Johannes Brahms: modeling the ZZ Top look.
The New York Philharmonic are back from a two week European tour, and there are four exciting concert series planned for June. On tap: appearances by resident artist Anne-Sophie Mutter, soprano Deborah Voigt and violinist Gil Shaham.

The season ends with four performances of Janacek's charming "nature opera" The Cunning Little Vixen, produced by the same team that mounted last year's staging of Györgi Ligeti's Le grand macabre.

In late June and early July, the New York Philharmonic continues its tradition of summertime concerts at Avery Fisher Hall. This year's programs feature the music of Tchaikovsky and John Philip Sousa, conducted by Bramwell Tovey. 

This year's multi-disciplinary Lincoln Center Festival features a four-concert residency by the Cleveland Orchestra pairing the massive symphonies of Bruckner with the minimalist music of John Adams. Also offered: A Magic Flute, a stripped-down version of the Mozart classic for 11 singers and a piano.

Mostly Mozart takes over Lincoln Center in August, with a season including complete concert performances of Don Giovanni (by the Budapest Festival Orchestra) and Handel's Orlando. This year's schedule offers a focus on Stravinsky, Beethoven, and of course, Mozart.

The Metropolitan Opera offers opera lovers a chance to cool off with six encore screenings of their Live in HD series. The Met also continues its series of recitals in place of the traditional free operas in the parks. At the end of the summer, the Met again offers a ten-day festival of Live in HD broadcasts, free of charge in Lincoln Center Plaza.

Finally, the small (but mighty) New York Grand Opera offers Puccini this summer, with free performances of La bohéme (July 20) and Madama Butterfly (Aug. 3) scheduled at the Band Shell in Central Park.
Johann Sebastian "Big Daddy" Bach, with Ray-Bans.

North of New York:
Caramoor, Katonah, NY
Caramoor opens its doors in June with a performance of H.M.S. Pinafore. Also on tap: two eagerly awaited performances of Giaochino Rossini's final opera, William Tell. All performances feature the Orchestra of St. Luke's. The summer schedule also includes appearances by the Emerson String Quartet and a program of songs celebrating the legacy of Gustav Mahler.

Bard Festival, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
The Bard Festival has a long tradtion of presenting experimental and rare opera. This year, one of the rarest: the first New York performances of Richard Strauss' penultimate opera, Die Liebe der Danae. Expect to read more about this as the performance approaches on July 29. In August, cool off with two weekend of major works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Glimmerglass Festival, Cooperstown, NY
Cooperstown proves it's about more than baseball with four operas at Glimmerglass, the marvelous little opera house on the north shore of Lake Otsego. Full details on the festival are here.

SPAC Festival, Saratoga, NY
At SPAC (the Saratoga Performing Arts Center), the Philadelphia Orchestra plays a two-week summer residency. The newly renamed Opera Saratoga offers a summer schedule featuring Mozart's Cosí fan tutte and Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and there's a chamber music offering too.

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
The historic Tanglewood Festival, the summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will not include outgoing BSO music director James Levine. Earlier this year, Mr. Levine announced his decision to step down as music director in Boston. In April, he added that he was taking a five-month hiatus from conducting for health reasons, and would thus have no involvement with Tanglewood for the second year in a row.

With James Levine out of the picture,  the BSO remains one of America's finest orchestras. There is no there is no festival venue more beautiful than Tanglewood, set on the rolling green hills of the Tappan Estate in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Due to the late nature of the Levine announcement, the final schedule is not available yet, but a full preview will appear on the site once that information is published by the BSO.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.