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THE SCENE Summer festivals abound, celebrating Cuba in Minnesota, new music in Massachusetts, Schubert at Menlo and intriguing repertoire in New York – plus, there’s Whitacre in LA and Corigliano in Virginia

LENOX, MA Tanglewood Opening Night at Tanglewood (July 3); Festival of Contemporary Music (July 23) The Tanglewood 2015 season opens on the eve of Independence Day with an all-American programme: John Harbison’s Remembering Gatsby (a ‘Foxtrot for Orchestra’), which evokes scenes from F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel; Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, with Kirill Gerstein; Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, with narrator Jessye Norman reading from Abraham Lincoln’s speeches and letters; and Harlem, Duke Ellington’s New York-inspired symphonic work. Later in the month, more contemporary but less-familiar fare is on offer as the Festival of Contemporary Music gets under way, including a concert featuring conductor Oliver Knussen, pianist Peter Serkin and tenor Nicholas Phan.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest (July 5 – August 1) This year’s festival is a celebration of Cuba. The 23-voice Cuban Coro Entrevoces joins the orchestra for an evening of American and Cuban music. Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera tackles Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue; Alessio Bax makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut with Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Other highlights are a Viennese-themed concert (Strauss: The Waltz King), a screening of Singin’ in the Rain with a live soundtrack, and a concert performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly starring Kelly Kaduce.

VIENNA, VA Wolf Trap Opera John Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles (July 10, 12, 15 & 18) Corigliano considers this work a ‘grand opera buffa’ because it mixes grand opera with the high-jinks fun of a Beaumarchais comedy. Since its premiere in 1991 at the Met Opera in New York, the opera has undergone revision for chamber orchestra to make it more palatable and affordable for smaller companies. The plot concerns the ghost of Marie Antoinette (Melinda Whittington), who seeks the help of her favourite playwright, Beaumarchais (Will Liverman), and his characters to reverse the


David Finckel and Wu Han: Music@Menlo founders

ATHERTON, CA Music@Menlo Thirteenth season: Schubert (July 17 – August 8) Music@Menlo celebrates its 13th season with a deep dive into the chamber music of Schubert. This thoughtful festival – conceived by the musical couple pianist Wu Han and tragic course of events that led to her death. An opera within an opera – a real musical treat.

NORTH ADAMS, MA Bang on a Can Summer Festival (July 13 – August 2) This festival set in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts is considered a musical utopia for performers and listeners alike. Dedicated to adventurous contemporary music with daily performances ranging from informal gatherings to more structured recitals, it’s a showcase for many premieres. Performers and composers talk about their work, and there’s much interaction between audience and musicians. The final week kicks off with Michael Gordon’s 1991 opera Van Gogh, based on a letter from the artist to his brother Theo. The whole event ends with a six-hour-long ‘summer marathon’.

NEW YORK, NY Lincoln Center Festival Cleveland Orchestra (July 15-18) Among the many offerings of the festival (which begins July 6), four performances by the Cleveland Orchestra, led by its cellist David Finckel – offers seven main concert programmes with world-class chamber musicians (including Inon Barnatan, Juho Pohjonen, Gloria Chien and Benjamin Beilman, as well as the Escher Quartet). The concerts explore different aspects of Schubert’s musical career, from his early adoration of Mozart and Beethoven, to his later sublime masterworks, with highlights from the Schubert song-cycles. In addition, five Schubertiades – traditionally social gatherings in private homes – delve further into the great man’s music, mixing piano sonatas, songs and other chamber works.

Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, offer some intriguing repertoire. The first and last concerts present Richard Strauss’s one-act opera Daphne with soloists to include Regine Hangler, Nancy Maultsby, Andreas Schager and Ain Anger. The second concert, in an interesting pairing, presents Dvořák’s Symphony No 5 with Messiaen’s experimental Chronochromie.

LOS ANGELES, CA Los Angeles Philharmonic Carmina Burana with Dudamel (July 21 & 23) A dramatic way to celebrate the great outdoors at the Hollywood Bowl: listening to the bombast and drama of Orff’s Carmina Burana, led by Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. Soloists are to include Joélle Harvey, Lawrence Brownlee and Brian Mulligan. Also on the programme are two beautiful works by the celebrated American choral composer Eric Whitacre: Her Sacred Spirit Soars and Equus.

Previews by Damian Fowler


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