This summer's Aspen Music Festival, which runs from June 27 through August 18, will include a major focus on the works of British composer Benjamin Britten, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. Among some 25 Britten works on the schedule will be a semi-staged version of his opera Peter Grimes, featuring American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, the world’s foremost interpreter of the title role. Conducting will be Robert Spano, now in his second season as music director.
The 64th annual blossoming of classical music and its associated school in the Colorado Rockies carries the theme "Conscience and Beauty," offering numerous works that reflect the social conscience in of composers, according to an announcement issued earlier this month. Included will be pieces by Shostakovich, Mahler, Debussy, Bernstein and Britten himself, who “revealed their emotions and their politics through their music.” All together, the eight-week season includes more than 300 events.
The festival, which takes place in several venues, will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Joan and Irving Harris Concert Hall, its showcase for chamber works and solo recitals. A special evening Aug. 13 at Harris Hall will feature festival favorites Robert McDuffie (violin) and Sharon Isbin (guitar). The program will begin with Joan Tower’s Fifth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, originally commissioned by the Aspen Festival for the 1993 opening of Harris Hall, considered an acoustic as well as architectural gem.
Among the performers making their Aspen debuts in 2013 will be acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and the newly reformed Emerson String Quartet. The season opens with Icarus at the Edge of Time, a multimedia work by Aspen music school alumnus Philip Glass.