'Threepenny,' 'Beggar's' unveil for U.S. auds

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — There’s far more emphasis on music-theater and music and far less on theater in the schedule for the eighth annual Intl. Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven June 12-28, the second under the direction of Mary Miller.

In addition to the previously announced world premiere of the new opera “Phantom Palace” based on a short story by Chile’s Isabel Allende with music by Mexico’s Hilda Paredes, there’ll be the U.S. premieres of the French Wagner sendup “The Threepenny Ring” and of a South African “The Beggar’s Opera” along with the U.S. premiere of the fest’s one offering categorized as theater, Guandaline Sagliocco’s solo performance based on Oscar Wilde’s “Salome.”

New York’s Metropolitan Opera will give a free performance on New Haven’s Green for the fourth festival in a row, this time offering Puccini’s “Turandot” on June 18. But England’s Royal Shakespeare Co. won’t be appearing at this year’s fest as it has for at least the past four years.

“The Threepenny Ring” will be performed by France’s pioneers of street opera Les Grooms. With three opera singers and a nine-piece brass band it turns Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle into a tongue-in-cheek mini-opera. “The Beggar’s Opera” will be performed during a return engagement of one of the hits of the 2002 festival, the Broomhill Opera and Wilton’s Music Hall. The South African company, which sets its “Beggar’s Opera” in 18th-century maritime Cape Town, will also repeat its popular “The Mysteries” from last year’s fest.

In the “Salome,” Sagliocco, a French actress who has lived in Norway for many years, plays all five of the main characters in Wilde’s play. The production, which has music by Guttorm Guttormsen, has already represented Norway at several international theater festivals around the world.

Other music and dance offerings during the fest, at venues throughout New Haven, will include the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Tafelmusic and Pierre Darge’s New Jungle Orchestra. Plus Spain’s flamenco Compania Maria Pages, Dancing Nor’easters, the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble, and Marvin Hamlisch conducting the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. The fest, which includes a number of free events, will also incorporate poetry, art exhibitions, photography (including a retrospective of the acclaimed work of British photographer Bill Brandt), international affairs discussions, a film series titled “The English at Home,” and family and children’s offerings.

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