Summer in NYC: A gaping maw of the dreaded, perennial classical music black hole, where opera hovers on the horizon of the Fall opening season. Sure, there's always Bard's SummerScape, Glimmerglass, Opera New Jersey, Caramoor, Tanglewood, and the smaller festivals (and the NY Philharmonic does a good job with their free, summer concerts) -- but sometimes you just feel like staying in your own backyard.
Just when everything looks bleak, Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival opens and offers us a serious break from the classical doldrums. Last night, Avery Fisher Hall opened its doors for their 43rd Opening Night Gala of the Festival, which runs until August 22, 2009. The Festival was carefully planned by Music Director Louis Langrée (the position that he's held since 2002), and boasts not only Amadeux-my-Mozizy, but his contemporaries and composers who were later influenced by the Salzburg hitman. This summer is unique as it is the bicentenary of Josef Haydn's death and Felix Mendelssohn’s birth and explores the bonds between the three artists that transpired the generations. This year's festival is also the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center, celebrated with two commissions for the Mark Morris Dance Group, Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Emanuel Ax.
Opening night was program of Louis Langrée conducting the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra (the resident orchestra of the festival) through Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3, played (cadenzas and all) by Norwegian pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes. Langrée also cut up Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, along with a 12-minute Haydn song scene from 1795 (with text by Metastasio) called, "Berenice, che fai?"
Other highlights of the Festival that Opera Chic is looking forward to? This weekend, future Prime Minister Edward Gardner conducts with pianist Piotr Anderszewski a Mozart lineup (overture of Die Zauberflöte, Piano concerto no.18 & Symphony no.39) & Britten (serenade for tenor, horn & strings with vocals by Toby Spence). Later in the Festival, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe will play Haydn's Clock, Ligeti's Chamber concerto, and Mozart's Piano Concerto no.19.
August 13th bring us the New York premiere of John Adams' A Flowering Tree. And OC is really looking forward to Robin Ticciati's New York premiere, conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in an all-Mozart program, featuring pianist Robert Levin. The festival closes shy of one month with Louis Langrée conducting Haydn's Creation. Mozart is your copilot and Mostly Mozart is your bombardier.