During the summer, classical music festivals will be taking place in large numbers across France and we have recently been finding out about them.
The largest is the Piano Festival at La Roque d’Anthéron which takes place in July and August each year with over 70 events and a wonderful array of pianists. This year (unsurprisingly) there is a strong focus on Liszt and you can enjoy two performances of each of his Piano Sonata in B minor and the fiendish Mephisto Waltz no. 1.
Amongst the many options in France for chamber music lovers, the Luberon International String Quartet Festival events take place in August in a series of wonderful venues across Provence. There are performers from several countries and a programme which includes not only the well-known repertoire but has wider appeal including works by Puccini, Jadin, Schnittke and Orff.
In the Limousin region of France (capital Limoges) you can find the Festival de la Vézère, being opened this year with Mikhail Rudy playing the piano version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, illustrated by Kandinsky’s original sketches. You can hear Vivica Genaux accompanied by Concerto Köln, see Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment in a château and much more.
Back this side of the Channel, Cardiff has its own Welsh Proms next month including the wonderfully named “Tiddly Proms” for small children as well as some great sounding orchestral and brass concerts too.
In California the South West Chamber music festival opens in early July in the famed gardens of the Huntington Library in San Marino (between Los Angeles and Pasadena). The gardens are quite stunning and well worth a visit in themselves; with the addition of 8 weekend concerts with reliable weather, it should be a lovely experience.
On the East Coast in Norfolk, Connecticut, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival will feature the Tokyo String Quartet amongst other performers, with a wonderfully diverse programme of works from European and American composers including a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. The festival is run by the Yale School of Music and takes place in the idyllic setting of the Stoeckel estate.
In Germany the Bayerische Staatsoper and Staatsballet seasons are now up and provide a wealth of opportunities for everyone. There will be premières of Tales of Hoffmann, Turandot and above all The Ring, conducted by Nagano and with an all-star cast. On the ballet side, Ashton / MacMillan’s Step and Times and Robbins’ Goldberg Variations will be presented for the first time here while new works have been commissioned from Kylian, Sandroni and Shechter.
We often get asked for more news on choral works so here are links to two recent reviews: for an insight into Verdi’s Requiem have a look at Raisa’s review of the Washington Chorus’ performance:
In London, a new choral work was performed in the tunnels of the Old Vic in early June. Those of us not there clearly missed out on a treat which you can read about here:
If you want to keep up to date with our latest reviews of performances in London or across the world, you can subscribe to one of our RSS feeds. First, go to one of our review index pages (the link below is the one for "all", or you can pick the individual opera, concert or ballet pages):
Next, click on your browser's RSS icon, which is usually in the top bar or next to the address bar (the place into which you type website addresses) and should look something like this:
Your browser will then give you a list of RSS readers you can use.
David and Alison Karlin