The usual five opera productions have been, for reasons of caution, reduced to four. Left untouched is the final installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the centerpiece of the famous festival for last three years.
Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic will return to fill the pit of the Grand Th_ê¢tre de Provence with G‹tterd‹mmerung starring Canadian tenor Ben Heppner as Seigfried. Heppner, the leading heldentenor of today, makes his long- awaited stage debut singing one of Wagner's most demanding roles. Directed by St_phane Braunschweig. this production will, as in previous years, also travel to the Salzburg Easter Festival.
Mozart operas are traditionally at the heart of the festival's programming with a new production of the composer's Idomeneo held outdoors at the Th_ê¢tre de l'Archevê_ch_. Staged by noted director Olivier Py, it is conducted by Marc Minkowski leading his Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble. Linked also to the theme of "Mythology" the program will also feature Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Grand Th_ê¢tre. Originating from Brussels' La Monnaie and staged by South-African director William Kentridge, conductor Ren_ Jacobs and the Akademie f‹r Alte Musik will accompany.
With a different take on the theme, Jacques Offenbach's Orph_e aux enfers will be mounted outdoors at the Th_ê¢tre de l'Archevê_ch_ with a staging by Yves Beaunesne and Alain Altinoglu conducting the Camerata Salzburg, It headlines young vocalists from the elite corps selected for the European Music Academy, a now permanent feature of this multi-faceted festival.
The residency of the Berlin Philharmonic includes three orchestra concerts featuring pianists Lang Lang and Pierre-Laurent Aimard and a variety of chamber music with orchestra musicians. On different evenings Mezzo stars Magdalena Kozena sings Haydn with Louis Langr_e conducting the Camerata Salzburg and Joyce Di Donato sings Handel with Les Talens Lyriques and their leader, Christophe Rousset.
There are events every day of the month, including chamber music, lectures, recitals and world music. The town is full of outdoor restaurants open for late-nighters, some with instruments in tow.
Full schedules and ticket requests are at the festival's website, www.festival-aix.com.