The center also announced that it had extended its contract with Langr_e for three years, through the summer of 2008. Langr_e took over the MMFO in 2003, when the festival was recovering from a musicians' strike and some critics were questioning the need for a festival orchestra. But the orchestra has won praise under Langr_e, who recently relinquished his directorship of Belgium's Orchestre Philharmonique de Lige.
Among the concerts led by Langr_e will be the opening-night event on July 28, which will feature pianist Stephen Hough and soprano Ren_e Fleming and will be broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center.
Sellars' Bach Cantatas, a staged version of Cantatas Nos. 199 and 92, will star mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, as it did when it premiered at Lincoln Center in 2001; conductor Craig Smith and Emmanuel Music will accompany her.
L'Allegro, Morris's celebrated work set to Handel's music, returns to Mostly Mozart three years after it was presented at the truncated 2002 festival. Nicholas McGegan again conducts, leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's this time; sopranos Dominique Labelle and Christine Brandes also return. Tenor Iain Patton and bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams make their Mostly Mozart debuts.
Other guest soloists include Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, James Galway, Louis Lortie, Garrick Ohlsson, Gil Shaham, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Visiting ensembles include the Russian Patriarchate Choir and Emmanuelle HaÇm's Concert d'Astr_e, both making their American debuts, and the Gabrieli Consort, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.