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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summer Festival Preview: Mostly Mozart 2018

Bigger, Better, Faster, but still Mostly Mozart.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Louis Langree (back to camera) leads the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra
When the time came for Lincoln Center to choose between its two signature summer festivals, there was no question: it was Mostly Mozart that had the brand recognition. For 51 years, this month-long festival held the stage at what is now David Geffen Hall, a haven of culture for New York music lovers who were unable or unwilling to leave the city in the summer months.

This year, Mostly Mozart has a radical new makeover. The festival is now starting on July 12 and ending Aug. 13. This year, there is a flurry of theater pieces, concert works and ballet performances. (And yes, they are the same kind of pieces that were on offer at the former Lincoln Center Festival, so this is effectively a consolidation of message and re-branding by the performing arts venue's administration.

Here are the highlights of Mostly Mozart, which begins on July 12.

Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra July 19-20, David Geffen Hall
The flagship concert series offers almost a month of concerts, with programs that embrace the modern (well, there's "The Chairman Dances" by American composer John Adams) the baroque and of course, pieces by Mozart. The season ends in the usual manner with a performance of Mozart's final, unfinished Requiem.

Leonard Bernstein's Mass July 17-18, David Geffen Hall
The centennial celebration of the American composer laureate of the 20th century continues with this free-form take on Christian worship, part oratorio, part rock opera and all Bernstein. This is the New York premiere of a new production directed by SF Opera Lab curator Elkhanah Pulitzer.

La Fura del Baus: The Creation July 19-20, Rose Theater
This Catalan theater collective has applied its talents to grand opera and music drama. Here, they offer an unconventional interpretation of Joseph Haydn's most popular oratorio, chronicling the events of the Book of Genesis.

Emerson String Quartet Plus One (July 30, Alice Tully Hall)
This ever-popular string quartet is joined by guest violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama for an evening of classical pieces by Mozart and Mendelssohn written for string quintet.

In the Name of the Earth Aug. 11 3pm Harlem Meer, Central Park
The last premiere of this year's Festival is In the Name of the Earth, a new spatial choral work by John Luther Adams which will be performed (weather permitting) at Harlem Meer at the northwest corner of Central Park. In the event of rain, this free event will be held at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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