The big news for the 45th annual Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, announced on Wednesday, may be the nine-part focus on the decidedly non-Mozartean composer Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky Too features conductor Pablo Heras-Casado leading concerts of the composer's works and Mark Dance Group giving the New York premiere of Renard, plus the Mostly Mozart return of the International Contemporary Ensemble.
However, among the 25 Mostly Mozart debuts this season (August 2—27), the one we're most anticipating is that of Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra. A regular presence in Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series—most recently seen in January with two concerts that contrasted Haydn with, coincidentally enough, Stravinsky—Fischer and the BFO boast a strikingly profound connection onstage that has turned out some thrilling concerts for New York audiences. They up the ante this time around with a fully-staged performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Fischer himself. And since Giovanni is obsessed with the pleasures of the flesh, it only makes sense that the staging place a focus on the human body: Clad in white and playing against a black stage, 16 young actors form the set and props.
This performance also beefs up the list of Mostly Mozart debutants with Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu as Donna Elvira, Korean soprano Sunhae Im as Zerlina, Hungarian tenor Zoltán Megyesi as Don Ottavio, Italian baritone Riccardo Novaro as Masetto, Portuguese baritone José Fardilha as Leporello, Icelandic bass Kristinn Sigmundsson as the Commendatore and Greek baritone Tassis Christoyannis as Don Giovanni. Rounding out the multinational cast is American soprano Laura Aikin, returning to Mostly Mozart as Donna Anna.
While in town, Fischer also leads the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in the composer’s rare Vesperae solennes de confessore. Also on the festival’s operatic offerings this year is a concert performance of Handel’s Orlando with Nicholas McGegan leading the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.