Invention and Ingenuity at the Mostly Mozart Festival
Kaitlyn Zafonte May 21, 2019
Invention and Ingenuity at the Mostly Mozart Festival
The Mostly Mozart Festival returns this summer for its 53rd season with an expanded scope that includes masterworks of the classical music repertoire, intrepid performances of contemporary music, and groundbreaking multidisciplinary productions. The pioneering genius of Mozart remains at the festival’s heart, inspiring a multifaceted celebration of its namesake’s infinite creativity.
Opening the festival from July 10 to 13 is a Mostly Mozart Festival mainstay, the Mark Morris Dance Group, in a special program that extols the joy of the human spirit. With its signature musicality and poetic choreography, the company brings two masterpieces—V and Empire Garden—to the Rose Theater, along with the world premiere of Sport, set to music of Satie.
Also staying true to Mozart’s spirit of invention and ingenuity, a richly reimagined production of The Magic Flute (July 17–20) by director Barrie Kosky and British theater group 1927 kicks off the Festival Orchestra's dynamic season. In this New York production premiere, vividly rendered animated projections transform a stark white set into an enchanted world where good faces the forces of evil. Performers from Komische Oper Berlin, along with Louis Langrée leading the Festival Orchestra through Mozart’s indelible score, propel this much-loved opera into new and surreal terrain.
Guest conductor Andrew Manze returns to lead the Festival Orchestra in an all-Beethoven program featuring the unsurpassed majesty of the epic "Eroica" Symphony (July 23–24). Also under Manze's baton, violinist Pekka Kuusisto takes on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, interspersing its virtuoso passages with folk music from Finland and Norway (July 26–27).
On July 30 and 31, pianist Martin Helmchen joins the Festival Orchestra in an insightful program pairing Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor with Brahms's Third Symphony. The following Festival Orchestra program brings Gianandrea Noseda to the conductor's podium, leading pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in a performance of Beethoven's sublime Fourth Piano Concerto, along with Schubert's "Great" Symphony (August 2–3).
On August 6 and 7, the Festival Orchestra takes a musical journey through the Austro-Hungarian Empire with violinist Joshua Bell. This exuberant program opens with the grand "Prague" Symphony before delving into Kodály's Dances of Galánta and Dvořák's Violin Concerto. Pianist Steven Osborne then lends his prowess to the Festival Orchestra's final program, a festive farewell to summer that includes pieces from Shostakovich, Schnittke, and Mozart's delightful "Haffner" Symphony (August 9–10).
The music of Mozart can also be heard within the historic walls of St. Paul's Chapel when audiences are invited to a free afternoon performance of the Serenade for Winds by members of the Festival Orchestra (July 27).
Always a festival favorite are the visiting ensembles who enhance Lincoln Center's stages with their consummate artistry. Led by Iván Fischer, the Budapest Festival Orchestra brings its signature flair to Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony. Also on the program that evening is a selection of Handel arias, sung by Jeanine De Bique in her Mostly Mozart Festival debut (August 4). Then, on August 5, the Takács Quartet is joined by pianist Jeremy Denk in a concert featuring Mozart, Beethoven, and Dohnanyi.
For those seeking more contemporary fare, the International Contemporary Ensemble continues its residency with three innovative programs: an exploration of traditional instruments from around the world, culminating in a world premiere of Dai Fujikura's Shamisen Concerto (August 3), and free concerts focused on composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Ashley Fure, and Bergrun Snæbjörnsdóttir (July 25) and highlighting music by members of the Iranian Female Composers Association (August 5).
This summer the festival continues to extend its borders beyond music, welcoming some of the world's most exciting dance companies. Along with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Boy Blue returns with its probing dance-theater work Blak Whyte Gray (August 1–3), which made its sensational U.S. premiere to sold-out audiences at Lincoln Center's 2018 White Light Festival. Described as "dance with the force of an uprising" by the New York Times, this hip-hop triptych speaks to the tensions inherent in today’s society.
Equally stunning and virtuosic is this summer's presentation of the Chinese dance-theater work Under Siege from choreographer Yang Liping. Viewers will be thrilled by a fusion of martial arts, contemporary and Chinese folk dance, gymnastics, and hip-hop, along with live music and visual design by Tim Yip, an Academy Award winner for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Also politically prescient—and recently nominated for an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Music Production—The Black Clown, from Harvard’s American Repertory Theater, adapts Langston Hughes’s defiant poem for the stage, resulting in a powerful musical exploration of resilience in the face of oppression. Charismatic bass-baritone Davóne Tines portrays the title role, joined by a chorus of 12 and a chamber orchestra performing Michael Schachter’s original score.
The candlelit late-night recital series A Little Night Music returns, welcoming international artists and rising stars to its intimate stage. The series commences with cellist Kian Soltani and pianist Julio Elizalde in their festival debuts (July 23). Pianist Michael Brown delves into Beethoven’s herculean “Eroica Variations” in a recital that illuminates the Festival Orchestra’s earlier “Eroica”-themed program (July 24). The trailblazing duo of vocalist Nora Fischer and electric guitarist Marnix Dorrestein shine new light on 17th-century songs and arias (July 26), while maverick violinist Pekka Kuusisto, joined by bassist Knut Erik Sundquist, returns for a recital that blends Bach with Scandinavian folk music (July 27).
Also at the Stanley H. Penthouse is soprano Susanna Phillips, with frequent collaborator Myra Huang (July 30); a poetic piano recital with Martin Helmchen (July 31); sensational piano duo Lucas and Arthur Jussen in their New York debuts (August 6); the always adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider (August 7); and a performance centering on the melancholy beauty of Schubert’s final piano sonata, brought to life by Steven Osborne (August 9).
Rounding out this vibrant festival are films that illuminate two significant productions this summer. Peter Bogdanovich’s The Great Buster: A Celebration pays tribute to the legendary Buster Keaton, whose work informed the silent film–inspired staging of The Magic Flute, while Farewell, My Concubine and the martial arts masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon offer vivid complements to Under Siege.
In addition to this season’s concerts, performances, and films, free preconcert recitals and thought-provoking talks offer yet another facet to this innovative and inspired festival.
Kaitlyn Zafonte is the Marketing and Communications Writer for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
American Express is the Lead Sponsor of the Mostly Mozart Festival.
Major endowment support for contemporary dance and theater is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Additional endowment support is provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation Fund for Dance, Nancy Abeles Marks, and Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer.
For more information, visit MostlyMozartFestival.org.