Three of the region’s most venerable institutions begin their public seasons this week. Manchester Music Festival faculty concerts begin Thursday; Opera North presents its mixture of opera and circus, “Singers and Swingers 2.0,” at its new home at Blow-Me-Down Farm starting Friday; and famed Marlboro Music Festival begins its season of the finest chamber music concerts in the world July 13.
Manchester Music Festival
The Manchester Music Festival will raise the curtain on its 45th season of virtuoso chamber music at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.
Artistic Director Adam Neiman spoke enthusiastically about the star-studded lineup of award-winning musicians he has assembled for the 2019 season. “This season will be one to remember,” the pianist said. “Some of the finest classical music artists in the world will be here in Manchester and their performances will surely bring audiences to their feet.”
The season lineup includes such luminaries as Jon Nakamatsu, the 1997 gold medal winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; Alexander Fiterstein, the 2001 winner of the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition; the Ariel Quartet, winner of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; critically-acclaimed composer Christopher Theofanidis–whose original composition written especially for the Festival will be performed at the opening night concert; and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to the Thursday night concerts, season highlights will include the Young Artists series, a family concert, master classes, recitals, lectures, “A Night at the Opera,” a culminating orchestral evening, and special opportunities to meet close-up with featured artists in a non-performance setting. On Tuesday, Mr. Neiman will lead a discussion with Christopher Theofanidis at a Green Mountain Academy event at Burr and Burton Academy.
The Young Artists concert series begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 14. These students, aged 18-26, who are on the brink of their international careers, are selected from scores of applicants from around the globe.
Tickets to faculty concerts at SVAC are $39; weekly Young Artists concerts at the Manchester Community Library are $10; call 802-362-1956, or go online to www.mmfvt.org.
Opera North celebrates its 37th season Summerfest 2019 opening with a new “arias and aerialists” production blending opera with circus under the big top at Blow-Me-Down Farm. Opera North is presenting two productions at the new location in Cornish, New Hampshire as well as Verdi’s “Macbeth” at Lebanon (New Hampshire) Opera House.
For Summerfest 2019, Big Apple Circus director Mark Lonergan and a team of professional circus artists team up with Opera North for “Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down,” a veritable “Singers and Swingers 2.0” celebrating the music of Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and other familiar favorites. There are five performances of “Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down,” July 12-14.
Then Opera North presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” under the big top with three performances July 26-28. Inept pirates, ardent lovers, beautiful maidens, bumbling bobbies, and the very model of a modern Major General drop anchor at Blow-Me-Down Farm for a fresh take on one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas.
Finally, the company returns to the Lebanon Opera House for a dramatic staging of Verdi’s “Macbeth” in four performances, Aug. 4-10. This is the first time Opera North will produce the opera, based on the Shakespeare play by the same name. Macbeth is a terrifying, yet fascinating look at the dynamics of power and the delusions that come with it.
Individual tickets start at $25; call 603-448-4141, or go online to https://operanorth.org.
Marlboro Music Festival
Artistic Directors Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss have welcomed approximately 70 resident artists – 18 of whom are attending for the first time – to Marlboro Music Festival as the storied music center opened its 69th season.
The “participants,” as everyone is referred to at Marlboro, will spend seven weeks exploring and exchanging ideas on the approximately 250 works that the musicians themselves have proposed to study. Marlboro’s first week schedule included 65 works involving a wide variety of instrumental and vocal combinations.
Described by The New Yorker as “the classical world’s most coveted retreat,” Marlboro Music has, for seven decades, attracted the world’s most distinguished concert artists and most promising young instrumentalists and singers to Vermont’s idyllic Marlboro College campus.
As a retreat where the mission is to delve into music in great depth, less that 25% of the works rehearsed are presented in the weekend concerts. Programs are only decided a week in advance and are drawn from those works that the musicians feel have gone especially well and should be shared with others.
The list below of the 2019 participating artists includes many “senior artists,” Uchida and Biss, who first spent formative summers in Vermont at the beginning of their careers and have returned to share their Marlboro and personal musical experiences with new generations. They include pianists Anna Polonsky and Cynthia Raim; current and past members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, Orion, St. Lawrence, and Vermeer Quartets, the Vienna Piano Trio, and the New York Woodwind Quintet. The eminent Leon Fleisher will also be in residence as guest artist.
Public concerts are at 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays July 13-Aug. 11, plus 8 p.m. Fridays July 26 and Aug. 9, at Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium in Marlboro. Tickets are $15-$40; call 802-254-2394, or go online to www.marlboromusic.org.