Summer for the City
After the scourge of the pandemic, the first Summer for the City festival is offering New Yorkers a summer to “rejoice, reclaim and remember” with an outdoor dancefloor and free installations. Although it will have less music than its predecessor, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra will present some free concerts from July 6 and then a series featuring classics paired with music by black composers.
May 14-August 14, lincolncenter.org
More than 100 events make up this year’s Ravinia Festival in Chicago, from global music and family shows to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in residence. Marin Alsop conducts the CSO’s opening concert on July 15. Later highlights include a pairing of Osvaldo Golijov and Bernstein, a focus on Mexican music, a celebration of Stephen Sondheim and concert performances of two Mozart operas, Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito.
May 20-September 18, ravinia.org
Opera Theater of St Louis
A mission to take opera to the people, accessibly in English, has built Opera Theater of St Louis into one of the major American festivals. This year’s programme is headed by the premiere of Awakenings, based on neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks’s moving account of lives rediscovered, by composer Tobias Picker, and a new performing edition of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk. Carmen and The Magic Flute play alongside.
May 21-June 26, opera-stl.org
Spoleto Festival USA
Opening night at this year’s festival in Charleston, South Carolina is the premiere of Omar, a new opera by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels. The story is drawn from the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, who was transported on a slave ship to Charleston in 1807. Other highlights include Unholy Wars, a newly conceived music-theatre event re-evaluating the Crusades, a new work by Nico Muhly and music by Tyshawn Sorey, straddling classical and jazz.
May 27-June 12, spoletousa.org
Ojai Music Festival
For the first time in its 75-year history Ojai in California welcomes a collective, the American Modern Opera Company, as its music director. One of AMOC’s co-founders was composer-of-the-moment Matthew Aucoin and his Family Dinner, a cycle of mini concertos, heads a programme of six music and dance premieres. The festival opens with an “epic musical marathon” featuring AMOC’s core members.
June 9-12, ojaifestival.org
At the heart of Tanglewood’s varied musical season are the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. Based in the beauty of the Berkshires, the BSO’s summer festival kicks off with high-octane Bernstein and Stravinsky. Highlights include Andris Nelsons conducting nine programmes, Beethoven’s piano concertos with Paul Lewis, a clutch of premieres and two operas in concert, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence.
June 17-September 4, bso.org
Eight weeks of music, opera, dance and theatre make up the 19th Bard SummerScape at the Fisher Center in the Hudson Valley, New York. A rare chance to see Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau is the catch of the opera programme. At the centre of SummerScape lies the Bard Music Festival (August 5-14), an intensive two-week exploration of “Rachmaninov and his World” in 12 themed concerts, talks and panel discussions.
June 23-August 14, bard.edu
Santa Fe Opera
As sunset beckons, nothing equals opera under an overarching sky looking out to the New Mexico mountains. David Henry Hwang’s award-winning play M Butterfly takes on new life as an opera, music by Huang Ruo, libretto by the author himself, getting its premiere as the last of Santa Fe’s five operas this year. Carmen, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Falstaff and Tristan und Isolde all get new productions.
July 1-August 27, santafeopera.org
Grand Teton Music Festival
Nestled at the base of the Teton mountain range in Wyoming and within easy reach of Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Teton Music Festival offers unrivalled access to the natural world as well as eight weeks of music. Under the leadership of music director Donald Runnicles, the programme will open with a cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with Garrick Ohlsson and closes with concert performances of Puccini’s La bohème.
July 3-August 27, gtmf.org
Opera and musicals play alongside each other in the scenic area of Cooperstown, New York. Classic and contemporary rub shoulders in the main novelty of Glimmerglass’s season, when highlights from Rossini’s operas are wedded to a new comic story by playwright Ken Ludwig in Tenor Overboard. The Sound of Music and Carmen provide the mainstays and there is a double bill of new one-act operas by Kamala Sankaram and Damien Geter.
July 8-August 21, glimmerglass.org