Grimeborn Festival, Arcola Theatre, London, 29th July to 7th September
Suffering from country house opera surfeit? Step forward Grimeborn—young talent, nifty stagings and new works. This year you can hear Samuel Barber’s 10-minute comic opera A Hand of Bridge or opt for a complete Rheingold with big-name talent. Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire collides with 14th-century English history in a fascinating double-bill, while Aaron Copland’s Emily Dickinson songs meet a musical monodrama for Dickens’s Miss Havisham. The American theme continues with two works unperformed during their composers’ lifetimes: Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha and Amy Beach’s only opera Cabildo—a dark subversion of the American dream.
EIF: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 3rd and 4th August
The LA Philharmonic and their rockstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel are resident artists at this year’s EIF. They start with an evening of classic film scores, but you’ll want to hold out for their two further appearances. Mahler’s mighty Resurrection Symphony, with its ecstatic choral finale, is followed by Tchaikovsky’s emotional Fourth Symphony alongside the European premiere of John Adams’s Must The Devil Have All The Good Tunes?, performed by pianist Yuja Wang.
The Intelligence Park, Royal Opera House, 25th September to 4th October
If you don’t believe that The Importance of Being Earnest could be improved with a loudhailer and smashing plates then you’ve not met the music of maverick Irish composer Gerald Barry. Witty, unexpected and original, his work takes a sideways look at tradition. His first opera The Intelligence Park is a fusion of 18th-century operatic plot with a magpie score that draws on every possible style to tell its story.