By Jennifer Falconer Hall
1. Echofluxx, Czech Republic
The boundary between visual art and music has no place in this Prague-based festival, which opens with Apropos of Not That. This improvised opera is based on the novel by Michael Karmen and describes the day in the life of two women who journey into the labyrinth of language. The Maciunas Ensemble closes the festival with a tribute to the sound art of Paul Panhusyen, an experiment in social behaviour.
2. Dresden Music Festival, Germany
The relationship between time and music is at the heart of this year’s festival, and is explored in a sound and science event featuring music psychologist Dr. Thomas Schäfer and pianist Jan Gerdes. Elsewhere, the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble performs electronic music on classical instruments, and there’s an appearance from Spark, a quintet that intertwines Renaissance music and traditional songs with pop and other modern sounds.
May 5–June 5
3. Rotterdam Opera Days, The Netherlands
Rotterdam Opera Days is a ten-day festival showcasing new opera staged in unusual locations. This year’s theme, ‘(R)evolution’, focuses on the people who inspire change. Highlights include Parsifal, a take on Wagner’s opera incorporating live gaming, tap dancers, children’s musicals and pop music; a remake of Salomé, set in a Berlin Nightclub; Il Ballo delle Ingrate, a multimedia opera inspired by Monteverdi, featuring a duet sung by Claron McFaddon and Nora Fischer via Skype; and Aquasonic, an opera staged underwater.
4. Bergen International Festival, Norway
The Bergen International Festival is a 15-day festival with of 250 events in 20 venues. Not to be missed this year is Verklärte Nacht/Erwartung, a staging of Schoenburg’s late Romantic works enhanced by the video art of Netia Jones; and Séance – The making of a Murder Mystery, a concert performance of a new musical inspired by Ingeborg Køber, Norway’s most infamous medium.
May 25–June 8
5. Les Nuits de Fourvière, France
Les Nuits de Fourvière is a cross-disciplinary festival in Lyon that embraces music, dance, theatre and circus. One of this year’s highlights is Nuit Africaine, a new take on Terry Reiley’s iconic minimalist piece In C, involving African instruments and performed by ‘Africa Express’, a collection of African and Western performers. Then there’s Moondog, an evening dedicated to the eccentric musician Louis T. Hardin (aka Moondog), who wrote minimalist music a decade before Steve Reich and Terry Riley, and who lived, composed and played music on the streets of Manhattan, dressed as a Viking warrior and using his own homemade instruments.
June 1 – July 13