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16.6.05

More Opera in the Summer

There were some things I left off my Opera in the Summer 2005 post. I'm adding them to it, but I also wanted to draw attention to them separately. First, I have mentioned the Lincoln Center Festival, because that nutty puppet opera by Respighi, is going there from Spoleto (performances on July 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, when I may get a chance to see it, but I'm not sure). Also, the other opera is the United States premiere of Brian Ferneyhough's "thought opera" on the life of Walter Benjamin. Unfortunately, there are only two performances, July 21 and 22, when I will be in Santa Fe.

A little article (Coup d'envoi d'Opéras en plein air pour 2005, June 14) from France 2 Cultural News revealed that I had somehow missed the Opéras en Plein Air Festival, which opens its Parisian series of outdoor opera performances from June 20 to 26 in one of my favorite places in the whole world, the gardens of the Palais du Luxembourg. They have already presented this year's opera, Verdi's La Traviata, in Normandy (Evreux and Rouen on June 10 and 11). They will give performances in a number of French and Belgian cities all summer long. It's not a particularly exciting opera, but it will probably reach a lot of opera newbies, with a double cast of mostly younger singers. Neat idea.

Another article (Lully ouvre le Festival baroque de Vendée, June 14) describes a production with a lot more interest for me. A rare full concert performance of Lully's Isis will open the Musique Baroque en Vendée festival, on July 6, with La Simphonie de Marais and their conductor, Hugo Reyne. France Musiques will record the performance, because naturally you want to play it on the radio (are you reading, NPR? PBS?). Isis will be performed again this fall, on November 22, in the Opéra royal de Versailles (which is, I can tell you, a great place to hear music). Later this summer, the same festival will host La Simphonie du Marais again, on August 11 and 12, for a staged production of Les Femmes vengées, a comic opera by François-André Danican, dit Philidor, directed by Yves Coudray in the courtyard of the Logis de la Chabotterie.

In fact, there are so many music festivals in the summer now, you need the Fédération Française des Festivals Internationaux de Musique to help you sort it all out.

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