While San Diego Opera’s mainstage season is running at full tilt at Civic Theatre, Opera NEO Artistic Director Peter Kozma decided it would be a propitious time to announce his upcoming summer festival programming. Over a few seasons, Kozma’s young company has carved out a niche market in the San Diego music scene: opera performed by advanced students and young professionals attending the company’s summer institute and the regular inclusion of Baroque opera.
In the latter category, Opera NEO staged G. F. Handel’s Agrippina in a contemporary political setting in 2014 and Handel’s Rinaldo last summer. This August, Kozma is giving Handel a rest and will present Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.
“Since this is a Shakespeare anniversary year—the 400th year of his demise—I thought it was appropriate,” Kozma explained. The Fairy Queen is based on Shakespeaere’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, although some purists raise their eyebrows over the librettist’s interpolation of characters and animals Shakespeare never dreamed of. “I particularly appreciate this opera’s British humor and its certain royal sparkle.”
Kozma will bring in the British early music specialist Nicholas Kraemer to conduct the Purcell work, which will be semi-staged indoors at Palisades Presbyterian Church on August 5 & 6, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Kraemer conducted both of Opera NEO’s previous Handel productions, and he has also served as guest conductor on occasion for the Bach Collegium San Diego.
Opera NEO’s fully staged offering, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, will be given outdoors in the Palisades Ampitheater on August 12 & 13, 2016, directed and conducted by Kozma. Earlier in Opera NEO’s summer festival, Kozma and his crew will present a concert he is calling Aria Marathon on July 17, 2016, indoors at 6:30 p.m. in Palisades Presbyterian Church. On July 29 & 30, 2016, a more informal Cabaret concert will be given in the Concert Hall of the Encinitas Library.
Opera NEO’s summer festival runs from July 12 through August 14, 2016, with performances at Palisades Presbyterian Church and the Palisades Ampitheater, 6301 Birchwood Street, San Diego, and at the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas.