It's that time of year again, time to check out some of the more artistically enterprising U.S. summer classical music festivals. Whether it's a world premiere, an unusual opera, an orchestral or chamber rarity, or a gifted young artist seeking exposure in the off-season, it's all out there for the music-loving traveler. As always, programs and dates are subject to change and should be verified. Happy alfresco listening!
Des Moines Metro Opera. Indianola, Iowa; June 22-July 15. Britten's "Peter Grimes," Strauss' "Elektra" and Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet" make up this year’s repertory. 515-961-6221, desmoinesmetroopera.org.
Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Various locations in Michigan; Saturday-June 23. Two milestones will be observed, the festival's 20th anniversary and the 75th birthdays of composers William Bolcom, John Harbison and Joan Tower. Performers include the Pacifica and Jupiter quartets, pianist Jonathan Biss and eighth blackbird. 248-559-2097, greatlakeschambermusic.org.
North Shore Chamber Music Festival. Village Presbyterian Church, 1300 Shermer Rd., Northbrook; Wednesday-Saturday. Directors Vadim Gluzman, violin, and Angela Joffe, piano, welcome pianist-conductor Andrew Litton, violinist Ilya Kaler, cellist Ani Aznavoorian and others to the third annual festival. 847-370-3984, nscmf.org.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Loretto-Hilton Center, Webster University; now-June 30. The main event is the premiere of Terence Blanchard's "Champion," based on the life of welterweight boxer Emile Griffith. Rounding out the season will be Smetana's "The Kiss," Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" and a double bill of Puccini's "Il Tabarro" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci." 314-961-0644, opera-stl.org.
Peninsula Music Festival. Fish Creek, Wis.; Aug. 6-24. The beautiful Door County peninsula makes an inviting setting for the festival's 61st season. Music director Victor Yampolsky will be in charge of most concerts, including all-Prokofiev and all-Shostakovich programs with pianists Inna Faliks and Stewart Goodyear, respectively. 920-854-4060, musicfestival.com.
Woodstock Mozart Festival. Woodstock Opera House, Woodstock, Ill.; July 27-Aug. 11. A jewel box of a concert hall makes the orchestral music (Haydn, Mozart, Bartok, Stravinsky and more) go down that much better. This year's roster includes conductors Donato Cabrera and Igor Gruppmann, pianist Vassily Primakov and cellist Nazar Dzhuryn. 815-338-5300, mozartfest.org.
Aspen Music Festival. Aspen, Colo.; June 27-Aug. 18. Philip Glass' "Icarus at the Edge of Time" opens a season rich with old music, new music and anniversary salutes to Benjamin Britten, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. No fewer than 25 Britten works will be performed, including a semistaged concert version of "Peter Grimes," conducted by music director Robert Spano. Gil Shaham will play Bach's complete sonatas and partitas in one evening. 970-925-9042, aspenmusicfestival.com.
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Santa Cruz, Calif.; July 28-Aug. 11. The picturesque coastal town is the site of this new music mecca, which this year hosts Derek Bermel, Enrico Chapela, Anna Clyne, Sean Friar, Kevin Puts and Christopher Rouse as resident composers. Artists and ensembles include music director Marin Alsop, cellist Johannes Moser and the Kronos Quartet. 831-420-5260, cabrillomusic.org.
Carmel Bach Festival. Carmel, Monterey and Pebble Beach, Calif.; July 13-27. Naturally there will be a plethora of J.S. Bach on offer (including the "Christmas Oratorio"), along with a good deal of French orchestral, choral and chamber fare (including the Faure Requiem). Paul Goodwin is the music director. 831-624-1521, bachfestival.org.
Music at Menlo. San Francisco; July 18-Aug. 10. J.S. Bach and his influence on composers from the Baroque to the present is the subject of concerts, lectures and master classes overseen by artistic directors David Finckel, cello, and Wu Han, piano, with colleagues of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. 650-331-0202, musicatmenlo.org.
San Francisco Opera. Wednesday-July 7. The world premiere of Mark Adamo's "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" highlights a season that includes Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" (with singers Matthew Polenzani, Natalie Dessay and Alice Coote) and Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte." 415-864-3330, sfopera.com.
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.; July 14-Aug. 19. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson is artist in residence for a wide-ranging season that contrasts new and seldom heard music with more familiar fare. Visiting artists include Jeremy Denk, Ida Kavafian, and the Orion and Shanghai quartets. Lucy Shelton will perform Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire," and a young composers' workshop will yield an evening of three premieres. 888-221-9836, santafechambermusic.org.
Santa Fe Opera. July 20-Aug. 24. The spectacular mountaintop amphitheater in the Sangre de Cristo foothills is the site of a typically adventurous festival season. The world premiere of Theodore Morrison's "Oscar" will feature countertenor David Daniels as a singing Oscar Wilde. Susan Graham will impersonate Offenbach's grand duchess of Gerolstein, while another distinguished American mezzo-soprano, Joyce Di Donato, will portray the title character in Rossini's rarely heard "La Donna del Lago." Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Verdi's "La Traviata" found out the schedule. 800-280-4654, santafeopera.org.
Seattle Opera. Aug. 4-25. Speight Jenkins steps down after 30 years as general director with the monumental work that put his company on the international map, Wagner's "Ring" cycle. Asher Fisch will conduct the revival of Stephen Wadsworth's 2001 production. 800-426-1619, seattleopera.org.
Bard Music Festival and SummerScape. Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.; July 5-Aug. 18. The Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center is home for an in-depth exploration of Igor Stravinsky's works (among them "The Rite of Spring," "Oedipus Rex" and "Persephone") and those of his contemporaries. One of the rarities will be Sergey Taneyev's opera, "Oresteia." 845-758-7900, fishercenter.bard.edu.
Blossom Music Center. Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; July 3-Sept. 1. The resident Cleveland Orchestral will give 19 concerts at its summer home, including an all-Wagner program under music director Franz Welser-Most, with singers Christine Brewer and Alan Held. Nicholas McGegan, Stephane Deneve and Kirill Karabits are among the podium guests. Chicagoans will have to travel here to catch the Joffrey Ballet's "Rite of Spring." 800-686-1141, clevelandorchestra.com.
Boston Early Music Festival. June 9-23. One of the world's leading celebrations of preclassical repertory presents a fully staged version of Handel's first opera, "Almira," along with performances by Chicago's Newberry Consort, Hesperion XXI with Jordi Savall, Hilliard Ensemble, Emma Kirkby and Paul O'Dette. 617-661-1812, bemf.org.
Glimmerglass Festival. Cooperstown, N.Y.; July 6-Aug. 24. Artistic and general director Francesca Zambello is honoring the Wagner and Verdi bicentennials with new productions of the German composer's "The Flying Dutchman" and the Italian's rarely staged comic opera, "Un Giorno di Regno" ("King for a Day"). For good measure, there's also "Camelot," with Nathan Gunn as Lancelot. 607-547-2255, glimmerglass.org.
Mostly Mozart Festival. New York; July 27-Aug. 24. The line of influence from Mozart to Beethoven is the focus of in nine concerts led by music director Louis Langree, Gianandrea Noseda, Andrew Manze and others. The contemporary group ICE will play 10 works by David Lang, Matthias Pintscher and other New York composers. Also, Ivan Fischer will lead soloists and the Budapest Festival Orchestra in a staged concert performance of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." 212-721-6500, mostlymozart.org.
Tanglewood. Lenox, Mass.; June 23-Sept. 1.To say there's musical bounty at the Boston Symphony's famed summer retreat would be an understatement. Andris Nelsons, the orchestra's newly appointed music director designate, leads the Verdi Requiem, and Bernard Haitink wraps up the BSO residency with Beethoven's Ninth. In between, there's everything from the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin's opera "Written on Skin," to celebrations of Wagner and Britten, to the annual Festival of Contemporary Music, this year helmed by pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. 888-266-1200; tanglewood.org.
Solti Fellow announced
James Feddeck, assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, is the recipient of the 2013 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. The $25,000 Solti Fellow prize, given by the Solti Foundation U.S., is among the largest awards made to American conductors in the formative years of their careers.
The Evanston-based foundation also announced Vladimir Kulenovic, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Roger Kalia and Christopher James Lees as recipients of this year's career assistance awards.
email@example.com | Twitter @jvonrhein