At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, after the Philadelphia Orchestra opens Aug. 1 with popular conductor Stephane Deneve, cannons, fireworks and New York City Ballet dancers, three weeks of sensational music making follow including three film nights, a Bernstein celebration (Aug. 10) and the unprecedented two-week presence of music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the new music director of the Metropolitan Opera. Two nights will focus on a science connection with scientists, NASA footage and telescopes to view the night sky: Holst’s “The Planets” (Aug. 3) and a “Star Wars” film (Aug. 11).
At Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops shine June 15 - Aug. 26 with not only performances of five of Bernstein’s works and two semi-staged operas but with pianists Lang Lang (opening night July 6), Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, and Yuja Wang; violinists Christian Teztlaff and Joshua Bell; and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Popular artists also performing are James Taylor, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Audra McDonald, and Chris Thile.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center brings international artists, including the debut of the sensational Schumann Quartet of Germany, to play six intimate concerts at the Spa Little Theatre (Aug. 5–21).
Music festivals abound around the Capital Region to offer chamber music, crossover artists and even a festival orchestra: Caroga Lake Music Festival (July 18 - Aug. 29), Lake George Music Festival (Aug.12-24), Music from Salem at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge (July 8 - Aug. 12), Decoda Institute at Skidmore College (July 10-15) and the Mostly Modern Festival also at Skidmore College (June 8-17). The Luzerne Chamber Music Festival in Lake Luzerne has four concerts between July 9 and Aug. 13 spotlighting violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn, pianist Toby Blumenthal and personnel from the Caroga Lake Music Festival, Philadelphia Orchestra, and New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Day trips will bring fans to Bard Summerscape at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson where the music of Rimsky-Korsakov will be explored (Aug. 10-19); Lake Placid Sinfonietta every Wednesday and Sunday in downtown Lake Placid (July 4 - Aug. 12); Marlboro Music every Saturday and Sunday in Marlboro, VT (July 14 - Aug. 12), and five concerts of international stars at the Tannery Pond Concerts in New Lebanon (June 23 - Sept. 29). The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum in Bolton Landing (June 19 - Aug. 25) presents singers, a children’s opera, world music, piano recitals and for the first time, the internationally known Canadian Brass on Aug. 12.
Glimmerglass Opera just outside of Cooperstown is offering not only twelve performances of his “West Side Story” between July 7 and Aug. 24, but also three performances of his one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti” in August. Other operas on tap are by Janacek, Rossini, and Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning (2012) “Silent Night.” Performances are almost daily and end Aug. 25.
At the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, Bernstein’s “Candide” (July 5) will run along with operas by Handel (July 18), John Harbison (Aug. 1), and that great musical “Mame” (Aug. 15). There’s also a children’s opera July 14 followed by a tour of local venues.The season ends Aug. 18.
Opera Saratoga offers diversity this season, which opens June 29 with romance (Lehar’s “The Merry Widow”) followed on June 30 with the double bill of Gareth Williams’ “Rocking Horse Winner” (2016), which involves horse racing and tragedy, and the U.S. premiere of David Little’s comic “Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera,” which will be conducted by Albany Symphony Orchestra music director David Alan Miller. Gian Carlo Menotti won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for “The Consul,” which opens July 7. The season ends July 15.
Bard Summerscape at Bard College will present a rarity: Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 “The Demon” (July 27-Aug. 5).