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Summer Music and Arts Festivals in Europe 2019

Headed to Europe this summer or just looking for another reason (besides lower airfare) to make the trip? Look no further: It’s festival season—don’t delay. Whether your interests run to classical music and opera, theater, contemporary dance or photography, here are a few of the hot tickets on our radar to book now.

Contact Indagare for assistance booking a trip to Europe or arranging tickets for any of these festivals.

Austria

Salzburg Festival

Next year marks the centenary of the founding of this festival in the city of Mozart’s birth, also celebrated as the background for the film The Sound of Music. This summer’s opera, theater and orchestral concerts give a preview of what’s in store. In August, all eyes are on the young soprano Elena Stikhina making her festival debut as Medea in Médée, Cherubini’s opera of impassioned love and vengeful retribution. Since its premiere in 1936, Oedipe by Georges Enescu, also based on Greek tragedy, has remained a rarity. Director Achim Feyer’s staging of the opera may change that. July 20-August 31

France

Provence

In summer, Provence is a destination for festivals of music, theater, dance and photography. Kurt Weill’s opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, an allegory about a society built on an illusory paradise of crime and debauchery, promises to be a highlight at this year’s festival in Aix-en-Provence. Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove stages the production, and Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Philharmonia orchestra. July 3-22

Drama and dance form the heart of the Festival d’Avignon, devoted to contemporary work, including works by British choreographers Akram Khan and Wayne McGregor. July 4-23

In Arles, Les Rencontres de la Photographie marks its 50th anniversary as a showcase of international photography with 50 exhibitions and a re-creation of a show devoted to Edward Weston, as well as contemporary displays of the Weimaraner dogs of William Wegman and images of Afghan society by photojournalist Massimo Berruti. July 1-Sept 22

Tuscany

Puccini Festival

Each summer, a festival devoted to the operas of Giacomo Puccini takes place on a beautiful lakeside setting close to the town Lago del Torre, where the composer lived and wrote many of his most popular works. Travelers can visit this villa and his birthplace in nearby Lucca, as well as the beaches along the Tuscan Riviera. Operas this summer include Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot and La Bohème, with the radiant soprano Angela Gheorghiu as Mimi.  July 6-August 24

Germany

Hamburg International Music Festival

Ever since the opening in 2017 of Hamburg’s eye-catching Elbphilharmonie concert hall, designed by Herzog & De Meuron, musical life in this very musical city has only grown in intensity. Tickets for the Elphi, as it is known, can be scarce, but some do become available before concerts. Visitors should not miss the cityscape panorama from the eighth-floor terrace and its restaurants. This May, the innovative Hamburg International Music Festival considers the theme of identity in music ranging from Mendelssohn to Györgi Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre, led by conductor Alan Gilbert. Through May 25

England

Glyndebourne

The rolling English countryside is the setting for Glyndebourne, renowned for its imaginative opera productions and singers, both those well-established and young artists on the ascendant. Among this year’s six works is a vibrant revival of Rossini’s comedy Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), with dashing Andrey Zhilikhovsky as the wily barber, and a new staging of Cendrillon, Jules Massenet’s affecting interpretation of Cinderella, with Australian-American soprano Danielle de Niese in the title role and mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as her prince charming. May 18-August 25

BBC Proms

For almost two months each summer, the BBC Proms presents a dazzling array of music in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Programs range from works by Beethoven and Bruckner performed by the Vienna Philharmonic to The Sound of Space: Sci-Fi Film Music, a concert of cult favorites—Alien: The Covenant, Gravity and The Innocents; a recital by virtuoso organist Olivier Latry, organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and a tribute to Nina Simone. For the best tickets, book in early May. July 19-September 14

Artist Spotlight: Ébène Quartet

From now through January 2020, the Ébène Quartet, admired for music-making of keen insight and élan, are scaling the summit of chamber music: the Beethoven string quartets. The Paris-based ensemble will play and record concerts devoted to this repertoire—16 works spanning the composer’s career— across 18 countries on six continents, culminating in a performance of the complete cycle in April 2020 at Carnegie Hall. This summer, the Ébène performs at festivals in Salzburg; Verbier, Switzerland; and Menton, France.

Contact Indagare for assistance booking a trip to Europe or arranging tickets for any of these festivals.

– Mario R. Mercado on April 30, 2019

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