Dueling Summer Music Fests

Rocky Mountain Highs not just for sopranos originally published on adobeairstream.com


Summer is classical music festival season in Colorado. No matter the destination one is sure to find some of the finest musicians and vocalists performing in gorgeous alpine and bucolic settings. Even as Aspen Music Festival was rumored in July to have sustained a recession-induced cut of personnel and some music students, the atmosphere of summer music festivals throughout Colorado is like a vacation for the musicians that also builds careers, and sustains incredible mentoring. Not to say it’s easy: for vocalists and dancers the challenge of performing at high altitudes is no sneezing matter. And, for audiences who can sip wine and listen for free from lawns, as well as get great views of tubas inside the tents,, the lineup of dueling sopranos, pianistsa and choreographers makes for very big shews.


On July 29 operatic superstar and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves performs at the 22nd Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival‘s home base, the Gerald Ford Ampitheatre, accompanied by the New York Philharmonic. Graves will perform selections from “Carmen” by Bizet, “Samson and Delilah” by Saint-Saens and excerpts from Offenbach’s “Gaite Parisienne”  and “Romeo and Juliet” by Tchaikovsky. Soprano Dawn Upshaw performs the same night at the Aspen Music Festival. Her program includes “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind” and “Ayre” by Golijov.


The weekend of August 1 & 2 will be the final performances of the ¡Pasión! season of Music in the Mountains in Durango, Colorado at the Festival Tent at Durango Mountain Resort. Saturday features pianist Ivonne Figueroa spicing things up with Haydn’s “Symphony No. 88 in G,” Liszt’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in A,” Turina’s “La Oracion del Torero” and Falla’s “Suite No. 2 from the Three Cornered Hat.”
Sunday, pianist David Korevaar performs overtures, intermezzos and variations byLatin composers Glinka, Granados, Chabrier, Dohnanyi, Moncayo, and Gimenez
On August 10 at 8 p.m. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet collaborates with the 60th Aspen Music Festival and School to present “Red Sweet” by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo featuring interpreted music selections by Antonio Vivaldi and Heinrich Biber and “Sweet Fields” choreographed by the great Twyla Tharp set to haunting Shaker hymns performed by an a cappella chorus. “Red Sweet” blends robotic body isolations with classical ballet steps.

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