SummerFest 2013

SummerFest returned to enchant audiences for a second season during three weeks in July 2013! From July 6 – 21, a menu of opera musicals, recitals, new works, dining, and cabaret were ensconced in the lovely Twentieth Century Club in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. With its close proximity to parking, dining, cultural organizations, and public transportation, The Twentieth Century Club is a convenient location. But the elegant Art Deco interiors of the historic club dazzled audiences, and this atmosphere was reflected in the productions themselves.

And what a line-up we had for you!

The Tales of Hoffmann–Retold was a new take on Jacques Offenbach’s delightful “unfinished” opera, in a new edition created by artistic director Jonathan Eaton. The production added some of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s own music to the mix as composer-poet Hoffmann tells the magical stories of the great loves of his life to some of the most beloved melodies in all of opera.

A Little Night Music is an international classic by American master composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim: with some of musical theater’s favorite songs and scenes. “Send in the Clowns”, “Every Day a Little Death” and “A Weekend in the Country” are among the numbers woven into the musical version of Smiles of a Summer Night, Ingmar Bergman’s story of lovers whose affairs converge during a visit to a country estate.

In Shining Brow, the turbulence of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s professional and personal journey plays out in a compelling contemporary opera about the tragic love affair that inspired him. Celebrated American composer Daron Aric Hagen (Night Caps’ George Washington Suite, 2012) returned to work with Opera Theater on a new adaptation of his 1993 opera which has been produced by numerous opera companies and acclaimed by music and architecture writers alike:

"Shining Brow is one of the most important American operas of the past decade. Don’t miss it,” reported the Chicago Tribune, where John von Rhein wrote that “Hagen was born to write music theater works.” The Chicago Sun-Times wrote: “Like Wright’s flowing, open-plan prairie houses, [Hagen’s] opera has immediate appeal.”

For more press coverage of Shining Brow, please visit the composer's website.

A delightful comedy by Mozart, The Secret Gardener/La finta giardiniera, tells of a Marchioness who disguises herself as a lowly (but lovely) gardener in order to escape a lovers’ quarrel. The attendant confusions give rise to high hilarity and, of course, a happy ending. This beautiful, rarely-heard Mozart jewel appealed especially to families with children as well as the Mozart aficionado.

Night Caps International, SummerFest’s innovative series of comic mini-operas, returned with a multi-cultural twist. Stories set in the same hotel feature characters from different countries misunderstanding each other in many languages. The inaugural season’s Night Caps drew standing-room-only audiences with six 15-minute episodes set by six different composers, to a single hilarious libretto written by Rob Handel, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s dramatic writing program.

Mozart Camp is our five day exploration of the works of Mozart which includes lectures, chamber music and vocal recitals.