Including Bergen, George Enescu, Utrecht Early Music, Lucerne
When: 23 May – 6 June Where: Bergen, Norway Tel: +47 (0)55 21 61 50 Web: www.fib.no
Bergen followed the Salzburg model for its first festival in the 1950s and has focused since on high-quality international music and theatre. The Norwegian coastal city’s annual shindig, however, has developed a distinctive Nordic identity in recent decades. Artistic director Anders Beyer’s internationalist outlook recognises the positive value of cultural difference and the energy it can generate, not least through creative collaboration. If that sounds too grand or too vague, a glance at this year’s schedule reveals the good sense of a programme woven from the popular and mainstream, the wild and wacky.
Beyer has the advantage of the Bergen Philharmonic and its local choral forces, presently riding high under Edward Gardner’s leadership. They’re set to launch festival proceedings with the Berlioz Requiem, the latest in a series of choral blockbusters presented by Gardner and his Bergen band. Those overwhelmed by the French composer’s Grande messe des morts should find uplifting antidotes in Igudesman & Joo, classical music’s comedy double-act, or Recirquel’s circus show Paris de Nuit.
A contemporary retelling of Life is a Dream by the 17th-century playwright Calderón, brings together the Rambert Dance Company, Lutos awski scores performed by the Bergen Philharmonic, visual projections by the Quay Brothers and choreography by Kim Brandstrup. The production arrives in Bergen after its world premiere run at Sadler’s Wells. The multi-genre theme runs through Anja Garbarek’s The Road is Just a Surface, a collaboration with choreographer and director Jo Strømgren commissioned by the Bergen Festival.
There’s a buzz about Bergen at festival time. Extended daylight and the natural beauty of place add to the atmosphere but it’s the programme that gives Bergen its edge. The artistic mix means you can catch bass-baritone Bryn Terfel or tenor Joseph Calleja in recital, experience a South African musical about refugee life, confront past and present in contemporary dance company Carte Blanche’s Souff lette, discover jazz saxophonist Marius Neset’s latest collaboration with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and cellist Andreas Brantelid, and roll up for an open-air screening of James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein, complete with the European premiere of Michael Shapiro’s symphonic score.
23 May Berlioz Grande messe de morts; Bror Magnus Tødenes (tenor) et al, Bergen Philharmonic/edward Gardner 25 May Bryn Terfel, Carado Williams 28 May Songs by Grieg, Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Korngold; Randi Stene (contralto), Bengt Forsberg (piano)
2 June Cecilie Ore: Vatican Trilogy, Ørjan Matre: Six Orphic Amulets; Nordic Voice, NOXAS
6 June Life is a Dream; Rambert
Dance Company, Bergen Philharmonic/paul Hoskins
When: 19 July – 2 August Where: Verbier, Switzerland Tel: +41 (0)848 771 882 Web: www.verbierfestival.com
It’s silver jubilee time for the Verbier Festival and its admirable Academy for outstanding young musicians.
The anniversary edition includes the customary collection of big names and emerging talents, including a jawdropping gala evening covering artists from pianist Martha Argerich to violinist Pinchas Zukerman. There’s also a date with singer Rufus Wainwright, mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter and Brooklyn Rider.
19 July Shchedrin Symphonic Diptych, Rimsky-korsakov Scheherazade; Festival Orchestra/valery Gergiev
20 July Rufus Wainwright & Friends
22 July Evgeny Kissin; Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Scriabin
25 July 25th anniversary gala with Martha Argerich (piano), Yuri Bashmet, Martin Fröst (clarinet), Mischa Maisky (cello), Thomas Quastho! (bassbaritone), Daniil Trifonov (piano) et al
Utrecht Early Music Festival When: 24 August – 2 September Where: Utrecht, Amsterdam etc, Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)30 232 9000 Web: oudemuziek.nl
Themes inspired by Johan Huizinga’s famous book The Waning of the Middle Ages, with its graphic depictions of everyday violence and plagues, run through Utrecht’s programme, as does the culture of death and lamentation, the latter explored in expressive depth by anthropologist Björn Schmelzer and his risk-taking, death-defying experimental ensemble Graindelavoix.
24-29 August Concerts and lectures; Graindelavoix/björn Schmelzer
25 August Rameau Grand motets;
26 August Josquin Missa L’homme armé super voces musicales; Cantar Lontano & Capella de la Torre
29 August Rameau Les Boréades; Collegium 1704/Václav Luks
2 September Jean Gilles Messe des morts Capriccio Stravagante
Lucerne Summer Festival
When: 17 August – 16 September Where: Lucerne, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)41 226 4480 Web: www.lucernefestival.ch
Riccardo Chailly, in his third year as music director of Lucerne’s goldstandard festival, marshals the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky ballets and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7. Thoughts on childhood’s changing nature from the prodigious violinist/composer Alma Deutscher and multiple outings from the Lucerne Festival Academy speak to classical music’s future.
17 August Mozart Piano Concerto in C minor, Stravinsky The Firebird (complete); Lang Lang (piano), Lucerne Festival Orchestra/riccardo Chailly 22 August Coleman Looking for Palestine, Bruckner Symphony No. 9; West-eastern Divan Orchestra/
9 September Stockhausen Gruppen; London Symphony Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Academy/simon Rattle/ Matthias Pintscher/duncan Ward
29 August Strauss & Beethoven;
Berlin Philharmonic/kirill Petrenko 13 September Mahler Symphony No. 3; Boston Symphony/andris Nelsons
Aix-en-provence Festival When: 4-24 July Where: Aix-en-provence, France Tel: +33 (0)4 34 08 02 17 Web: www.festival-aix.com
Proustian ref lections on the past – mythological, historical, psychological and more – and feelings of love supply the themes for the 70th Aix Festival. General director Bernard Foccroulle’s programme also opens perspectives on the place of women in society through the refracting lens of operas such as Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and the world premiere of Ondrej Adámek’s Seven Stones.
4 July R Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos;
Lise Davidsen (Primadonna & Ariadne), Sabine Devieilhe (Zerbinetta), Orchestre de Paris/marc Albrecht
7 July Adámek Seven Stones (world premiere); Anne-emmanuelle Davy (Storyteller/maid), accentus, axe 21/Ondrej Adámek
8 July Adwan, Moody & Van der Harst Orfeo & Majnun; Mediterranean Youth Orchestra/bassem Akiki
8 July Portrait of a Muse; Zemlinsky String Quartet No. 2 with soprano; Sabine Devieilhe, Quatour Arod
Prague Spring Festival
When: 12 May – 17 June Where: Prague, Czech Republic Tel: +420 (0)227 012 677 Web: www.festival.cz/en
Dip into the Prague Spring archives at any year since it began in 1946, a treat made possible by the festival’s online industry, and you’ll find great artists and strong traces of cultural politics, postwar, Cold War and post-communist. This year’s programme includes
a concert to mark the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, a recital of works by Czech composers murdered during the Holocaust and Jordi Savall’s ‘Jerusalem: City of the two peaces’.
14 May Schoenberg A Survivor from Warsaw, Bernstein Symphony
No. 3 ‘Kaddish’; Prague Symphony Orchestra/leonard Slatkin
15 May Works by Ullmann, Haas et al; Irena Troupová (soprano)
17 May Bach Cantatas; Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists/ John Eliot Gardiner
24 May Mahler Symphony No. 2; Budapest Festival Orchestra/
1 June – 22 July Ravenna, Italy
+39 (0)544 249244 www.ravennafestival.org
Ravenna’s Byzantine basilicas, grand palaces and theatres may be the prime venues but the north Italian city’s outdoor attractions add colour to its festival. Under this year’s title of ‘We have a dream’, Ravenna marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
7-9 June Cole Porter Kiss Me Kate; Opera North
12 June Terry Riley In C; Tempo Reale 17 June Jean Hanelle and the
Cypriot tradition; Graindelavoix/ Björn Schmelzer
20 June Pärt, Byrd, de Monte, Tallis et al; The Sixteen/harry Christophers 15 July Verdi Macbeth; Soloists, Orchestra & Chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/riccardo Muti
20 July – 30 August Salzburg, Austria
+43 (0)662 8045 500 www.salzburgerfestspiele.at
You’ll need to join the returns queue to land tickets for Salzburg’s big-draw dates, especially Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades and recitals by tenor Jonas Kaufmann and soprano Anna Netrebko. The demand for seats is offset by the number of events every day, up to ten at peak festival. 20 July Penderecki St Luke Passion; Montreal Symphony/kent Nagano
25 July Bach Mass in B minor; Collegium Vocale Gent/
1 August Strauss Salome; Vienna Philharmonic/franz Welser-möst
6 August Strauss Also sprach Zarathustra et al; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/esa-pekka Salonen
5-11 June Parnü, Estonia
+372 (0)52 30 655
www.parnumusicfestival.ee Estonia’s summer seaside ‘capital’, Pärnu, is likely to be even more lively than usual this year as the Baltic nation prepares to celebrate the centenary of its independence. Paavo Järvi’s annual festival chalks up its eighth edition by focusing on youth and Estonian music, with at least one work by an Estonian composer in each programme.
5 August Works by Eller, Tobias and Pärt; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/neeme Järvi
6 August Järvi Academy Sinfonietta et al
7 August Kristjan Järvi &friends 8 August Pärt: Symphony
No.3; Estonian Festival Orchestra/paavo Järvi
11 August Reinveren (world premiere); Estonian Fo/järvi
Young star: Alma Deutscher appears at Lucerne
Mystery tour: Nordic Voices explores Greek myths at Bergen
Vibrant Verdi: soprano Anna Netrebko performs in Salzburg