The festival, marking its 10th anniversary, will also include a world premiere by choreographer Elizabeth Streb, the return of harpist Benjamin Bagby's version of the Beowulf saga, the world premiere of a rock music setting of the Thai epic Ramakien, a marathon presentation of the plays of Irish playwright John Millington Synge, a new music-theater work by composer Heiner Goebbels, and performances by the Israeli dance groups Batsheva Dance Company, Emanuel Gat Dance, and Yasmeen Godder Dance Theater.
Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawawa will perform his solo Bones in Pages, in its U.S. premiere; Goran Bregovic, one of the Balkans' most popular singers and composers, will perform an evening of his music, which mixes Gypsy traditions, rock, and other influences. Theatreworks Singapore will present Geisha, a theater piece featuring female impersonator and kabuki dancer Gojo Masanosuke.
As previously reported, Grendel, an ambitious new opera based on the Beowulf story via John Gardner's novel, will premiere at Los Angeles Opera in May before coming to New York in July.
"You are in a very lucky position here," L.A. Opera general director Plšcido Domingo joked to Redden at today's press event at Lincoln Center. "The hard work will be done in Los Angeles."
Grendel, subtitled "The Transcendence of the Great Big Bad," is the first opera by Goldenthal, Taymor's husband and frequent collaborator. Taymor wrote the libretto, with poet J. D. McClatchy, and will direct. The cast includes Denyce Graves, Richard Croft, Laura Claycomb, and Eric Owens in the title role.
Like Gardner's novel, Taymor said, the opera "looks at what it means to be human from the outside, from the monster's point of view." The role of Grendel will be sung in English, she said, while Beowulf and the other human characters speak Old English, a device that "forces the audience to identify with the outsider."
The Jones/Zane company will perform Jones's Blind Date, a much-praised 2005 work that was performed in Montclair, New Jersey, last fall but has not been seen in New York City. In creating the piece in the wake of the 2004 presidential election, Jones said, he challenged his dancers to consider "what you care about so much that you would die for it."
"It would be really great," Jones said, "to have people come out into the street and want to burn something."
Streb's evening-length STREB vs. GRAVITY, to be performed by the choreographer's acrobatic STREB Extreme Action group, allows the "sense of up and down to become compromised," she said. "We are trying to squeeze space, air, and ground in a silly-putty kind of manner." San Francisco Opera will perform the New York premiere of Mark Morris's full-length Sylvia, which premiered in 2004, as well as a mixed program with local premieres from Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, and artistic director Helgi Tomasson.
Bagby, the medieval-music performer and scholar who presented his solo version of the Beowulf saga to raves at the 1997 Lincoln Center Festival, will return with a new version expanded by 25 minutes. Goebbels, who has previously brought Eislermaterial and Black on White to the festival, will present the 2004 piece Eraritjaritjaka, which makes use of texts by writer Elias Canetti and music by Shostakovich, George Crumb, and others.
Lincoln Center Festival runs July 10-July 30; tickets go on sale May 1. For more information, visit www.lincolncenter.org.