Seven Summer Festivals Where Music Isn't the Only Game in Town

For Gourmands: Chicago is one of the top culinary destinations in the country, if not the world. Meanwhile its symphony orchestra is playing inspired music under its new director, Riccardo Muti. Enjoy both music and a good meal with a concert or two Ravinia Festival (20 miles south of the city), and a reservation at one of its gastronomic temples, such as Alinea. Or head to the Windy City between June 24 and July 3 when the Taste of Chicago, the largest outdoor food festival in the country, takes over Grant Park and Joshua Bell performs on July 2.

For Spa Lovers: Soprano Dawn Upshaw and artistic director Thomas W. Morris showcase contemporary music at the Ojai Music Festival about 90 minutes northwest of Los Angeles. This year’s offerings include performances by San Diego-based percussion ensemble, Red Fish Blue Fish, and world premieres of works by George Crumb and Maria Schneider. If the music isn’t particularly soothing, don't worry. Ojai is well known for its spas. Above: The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.

For Sports Lovers: Two tribes—the Sioux and the Cleveland Indians—will mix this summer in Cooperstown, NY, home to both the Glimmerglass Opera and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Deborah Voigt interrupts her turn as Brunnhilde in the Met’s Ring by taking on the role of Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. The company will also present Bizet’s Carmen, Cherubini’s Medea and a double bill of two contemporary one-act operas through July and August. Meanwhile, second baseman Roberto Alomar, and pitcher Bert Blyleven become the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame in a July 24 ceremony.

(Peyton Lea)

For Art Collectors (and admirers): While the Santa Fe Opera presents La Boheme, Faust and an anticipated Peter Sellars production of Vivaldi's Griselda starring David Daniels, Meredith Arwady and Isabel Leonard in July and August, no fewer than seven art festivals will be visiting this well-known artist retreat. The fairs celebrate everything from Native American and folk artifacts to modern design and international contemporary art galleries. If you're not in the mood for buying, head to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, honoring the city’s best known painter. Above: Richard Gaddes Hall: The Newly-Built Rehearsal Hall.

(Robert Godwin)
Tanglewood Festival
Tanglewood Festival

For Yogis: During its summer stays at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra becomes neighbors in the Berkshires with the Kripalu Center or Yoga and Health. Align your chakras at one of the center’s workshops or register for one of its several-day long retreats such as Yoga for Life or CircusYoga. Continue to bliss out with a top-notch performance. Charles Dutoit opens the festival conducting the Berlioz Requiem with tenor Russell Thomas.

(Stu Rosner)

For History Buffs: The Spoleto Festival as well as its younger sister fest Piccolo Spoleto present three operas, several chamber music recitals, orchestral programs in the historically rich town of Charleston, SC through June 12. The city is in the midst of a five-year celebration of its Civil War past. (In April it commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first shots fired at nearby Fort Sumter). In the meantime, stay at one of the many Lincoln-era inns and visit many attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For Wilderness Men and Women: One of the most venerable chamber music festivals in the country may be one of the most remote. The Marlboro Music Festival from July 16-Aug. 14 on the campus of Marlboro College in Vermont features performances from world-class musicians such as Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida. However, Marlboro (population less than 1000) is surrounded by little other than nature. There are plenty of trails and lakes in the Green Mountains for classical music appreciating outdoorsman can hike, bike, fish in or boat on.

(Dennis Curran /