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International May Festival: Opera and Concerts

Directed by Uwe Eric Laufenberg and conducted by Konrad Junghänel, a Mozart Double featuring the operas "Idomeneo" and "La clemenza di Tito" opens this year's International May Festival. Mirko Roschkowski will sing the title roles. Kangmin Justin Kim, Slávka Zámečníková and Netta Or perform in "Idomeneo".

Thomas Blondelle, Olesya Golovneva and Shira Patchornik star in "La clemenza di Tito". Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Don Giovanni will make his debut in Wiesbaden in a production by Nicolas Brieger. Maria Bengtsson will sing Donna Anna and Ioan Hotea will appear as Don Ottavio.

Gun-Brit Barkmin, one of the major Strauss performers, will sing the title part of "Salome". In a production of Le Lab, the French creative arts collective, and under the musical direction of GMD Patrick Lange, Thomas J. Mayer stars as Jochanaan, and Thomas Blondelle as Herodes.

The title role of Puccini's crowd pleaser "Madama Butterfly" will be sung by Ermonela Jaho, one of the world's top Cio-Cio-sans. Vincenzo Costanzo, one of the most successful Italian tenors on the opera scene, will be her stage partner.

The leading roles in Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera" will be played by Italian tenor Stefano La Colla as Riccardo, Ukrainian baritone Vitaliy Bilyy as Renato, Maria José Siri as Amelia, and Patricia Bardon as Ulrica.

Max Emauel Cencic will direct Rossini's opera "La Donna del lago" and sing the role of Malcolm Groeme. Lena Belkina stars in the demanding title part and Daniel Behle sings the complex role of King James V. Echo Klassik awardee George Petrou, who was also nominated for a Grammy, will conduct the piece.

Wagner star performer Andreas Schager will sing the title part of "Tannhäuser", under the musical direction of GMD Patrick Lange and directed by Uwe Eric Laufenberg. Betsy Horne will star as Elisabeth and Jordanka Milkova as Venus. Albert Pesendorfer acts as Landgrave in the festival cast. "The Master-Singers of Nuremberg", directed by Bernd Mottl and conducted by GMD Patrick Lange, will be performed by the current cast of the Bayreuth production: Michael Volle as Hans Sachs, Johannes Martin Kränzle as Beckmesser, Daniel Behle as David, Günter Groissböck as Pogner, and, in addition, Thomas Blondelle as Walther von Stolzing.

The title part of Verdi's "Rigoletto" will be performed by baritone Ludovic Tézier. Ioan Hotea will sing the Duke of Mantua and Cristina Pasaroiu the role of Gilda, in a production by Uwe Eric Laufenberg and under the musical direction of Will Humburg.

The "Fascination Wagner" concert evening will feature pieces from the "Ring" saga presented by world-famous tenor Andreas Schager and violinist Lidia Baich, in a spectacular cinematic realisation of international award-winning author-filmmaker and opera director Selcuk Cara. The Hessian State Orchestra will be conducted by Guillermo García Calvo.

"Mozart24", the major Mozart event, will be held on the first festival weekend. One of the world's leading baroque orchestras, the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra conducted by Konrad Junghänel will perform Mozart's last symphonies. Multi-instrumentalist Anna Fusek and violinist Mayah Kadish will present "Mozart meets Morley", where Mozart violin sonatas and duets meet Renaissance fantasies. "The Wooden Anvil" marimba quartet will bring on stage Mozart's works during the "Mozart: Portrait in Percussion" concert.

In "Amadeus!", Chris Pichler and the Chamber Music Association of the Hessian State Orchestra will be presenting chamber music and letters from the famous musical genius.

Elke Heidenreich and pianist Marc-Aurel Floros will perform in "Passione special – Mozart!". Concert performances by the "Klazz Brothers" and the "Janchri" jazz duo make Mozart dance. The schedule is completed by a Mozart Breakfast featuring literary treats, by a baby concert, an audio installation, and a Mozart film biography.

Song recitals are a tradition at the International May Festival. In his recital, Florian Boesch will give a performance of "Die schöne Müllerin", the song cycle by Franz Schubert. Mezzo-soprano Doris Soffel will present works by Mahler, Strauss and Sibelius, amongst others, during her recital themed "Grandeur and Decadence".

The Merlin Ensemble Wien will also shine the spotlight on Mozart during each of three concert evenings. Their "Pure Mozart!" late-night concert, their spoken-word variations on the "Lost Paradise of Music", and their matinée to mark the 30th anniversary of Thomas Bernhard's death, "Eine musikalische Existenzrettung" (saving life with music), will all be a treat for the audience's ears. "The Fairy Queen", a timeless masterpiece of English Baroque music by Henry Purcell, will be performed by Ensemble Mattiacis, conducted by Thomas de Vries. There will be performances by Katharina Heißenhuber, Benjamin Russell, Sharon Kempton and other artists in the Foyer.

Music and arias by Georg Friedrich Händel will be presented by soprano singer Simone Kermes and Gianpiero Zanocco conducting the Amici Veneziani orchestra in a concert themed "Inferno e Paradiso".

Nikolaus Habjan, the well-known puppeteer, will be on stage as a concert whistler in a show entitled "Ich pfeife auf die Oper". He will be accompanied by an inspiring cast, and humorously guide his audience through a programme featuring opera arias and instrumental music. In a production called "Doch bin ich nirgend, ach! zu Haus", Nikolaus Habjan and Franui Musicbanda will trace the symbolic world of the wanderer through a combination of music, text, and puppetry, playing music inspired by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler.

Verdi's opera "Un ballo in maschera" will be performed at the 2019 International May Festival. wiesbaden.de / Photo: Karl and Monika Forster
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