2017 Festival Season Announced: It's A French Affair!

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Now in its 8th season, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice will celebrate all things French in 2017. Remaining true to its mission of bringing together some of the world’s greatest vocal talent to audiences in the Catskills region, this year’s Festival will host internationally acclaimed performers and composers in a series of unforgettable open-air summer concerts that all share the alluring theme of French culture – including the star event, the beloved opera La Boheme. The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is a one-of-a-kind music event that allows audiences to experience world-class talent, often only seen in metropolitan venues, in a more intimate setting while relishing the stunning beauty of the surrounding Catskills Mountains.

What could be more French than the life of struggling artists and young lovers in a Paris garret, even if the celestial music that tells the tale is by that great Italian, Giacomo Puccini? La Boheme, one of the most famous operas of all time, will grace the Festival’s Main Stage, starring Metropolitan Opera singers John Osborn as Rodolfo, Lynette Tapia as Mimi, this year’s Grammy Award winner Lucas Meachem (Figaro in our Barber of Seville in 2014) as Marcello, plus 22-year Met veteran Richard Bernstein and 2017 debutante Mireille Asselin. The production is staged and directed by Maria Todaro and conducted by maestro David Wroe.

The French theme kicks off, almost literally, on Friday night with a French celebration of Jacques Offenbach, best known for his spirited cancan music, and of other French composers, as well as tributes to such champions of the chanson as Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Yves Montand, and Jacques Brel.

Festival favorites, The Cambridge Singers, will also return with a program celebrating France. A new work, The Three Musketeers – a beloved story never before adapted to opera until composer Mitchell Bach, a direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach, decided to do so – will have its world premiere in Phoenicia this summer.

In keeping with tradition, the Festival will close with choral music – this year’s “The Spiritual Side of Duke” honors jazz legend Duke Ellington in a celebration of the less known, spiritual elements of his body of work. Combining jazz, classical, gospel and more, percussionist John Lumpkin leads a septet featuring vocalists Brianna Thomas, who has collaborated with distinguished artists including Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis and Wycliffe Gordon, and Vuyo Sotashe, prize winner of the Mid-Atlantic, Shure Montreux, and Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal Competitions. As always, the Festival’s choral night offers a performance not to be missed.

Latte lectures and workshops round out the array of offerings the Festival brings to these mountains at accessible ticket prices ranging from $25 to $35 for general admission.

In addition, the Festival continues to offer a range of internship opportunities in such disciplines as art management, marketing, and musical and artistic development as well as Master Classes and counseling in career management. Interns receive college credits along with the enriching experience of being part of the Festival. A number of the “graduates” of our young artists’ programs today perform alongside established international artists.

We are also partnering with the brilliant Catskills Jazz Factory. Led by Piers and Lucy Playfair, the Factory presents world-class jazz performances all over the Hudson Valley.

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is set to take place on August 4-6, 2017 in the small village of Phoenicia, New York, in the foothills of the breathtakingly beautiful Catskill mountains.

For more information, please visit our website.

Kerry M