Gallery Opera Festival in Munich
June 27 - July 31, 2003

Opera Festival in Munich, one of the biggest cultural events in the city, devoted to the 350th-anniversary celebration of opera art, starts today, on June 27, with the opening speech of Angela Merkel, the leader of German opposition (Christian Democratic Union) and ends on July 31 with Richard Wagner's traditional Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The performances will take place at the three major theatres - Nationaltheater, Prinzregententheater and Cuvillies-Theater.

As in no other city but Florence and Venice, the opera in Munich has a long tradition. The special emphasis of the festival is made on the Baroque opera, so that the festival begins with the premiere of Händel's Rodelinda, considered as the composer's marsterpiece, "the opera full of intensity and expression, and of highest musical quality" (In München). Another premiere is an opera by the young Munich composer Jörg Widmann, Gesicht im Spiegel (Face in the Mirror), July 17, staged by Falk Richter, with Peter Rundel as the conductor. The programme of this festival is probably the most attractive the Munich opera has ever offered. It is a combination of history, tradition and experiment. The festival programme includes Verdi's Don Carlo, Falstaff and La Traviata, Strauss' Rosenkavalier and Elektra, Wagner's Tannhäuser, Puccini's I Puritani and Manon Lescaut; five performances of Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria by Monteverdi and a new production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Apart from the opera, the festival presents a few ballet performances, such as Tchaikovskiy's The Swan Lake, and concerts with the participation of Ian Bostridge, Vesselina Kasarova, Thomas Allen, Anna Netrebko, Ramon Vargas. Another highlight of the festival is a concert of the jazz idol Herbie Hancock.

The Ludwig-Maximilians University and the Munich Art House (das Haus der Kunst) are also engaged in the opera festival, which, along with the fact that only 15 per cent of the tickets are available now, according to the Süddeusche Zeitung, shows the importance of the event. About 600,000 visitors are expected during the festival.

More information on the Munich Opera Festival can be found at www.staatsoper.de.

June 27, 2003
Munich

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