Wagner opera, new venues as Miami Beach Classical Music Festival expands summer offerings

Written By Jesús Vega
June 24, 2022 at 9:13 AM

Miami Beach Classical Music Festival presents symphonic conductors from its Conducting Institute on Thursday, July 7, at the Temple Emanu-El.

Miami Beach Classical Music Festival (MMF) has been offering free public concerts each summer since 2013. This year, Michael Rossi, founder and artistic director, promises there will be even more to enjoy.

“MMF has increased performances, including five opera productions, two symphony concerts, and a series of summer concerts on the new Ocean Drive Promenade,” Rossi says.

The eight-week intensive training program gives young classical musicians the opportunity to work with world-renowned mentors and gain professional performing experience. The community benefits from free public concerts featuring top talent, Rossi explains. Nearly 1,500 international applicants vie for one of about 300 spots in its training institutes in orchestra, opera, piano, and conducting. Entry to get in is through a rigorous audition process, explains Rossi.

“Miami Music Festival began with a vision to provide quality classical music programming during the summer months, where most arts organizations are in their off-season,” Rossi continues. “For many attendees, especially young children, our performances may be their first exposure to classical music experiences.”

Performances at various venues throughout Miami Beach are scheduled from Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 24. Arias, Broadway and chamber music by MMF are at Lummus Park each Sunday throughout July as part of the Ocean Drive Association’s Ocean Drive Promenade Series.

Miami Music Festivals’ Wagner Institute makes its debut at the Adrienne Arsht Center in 2019 with a performance of “The Flying Dutchman.”(Photo courtesy of MMF)

The MMF kick-off begins Friday, July 1 as the MMF’s Wagner Institute will host an intimate night of arias at The Betsy Hotel. Singers will perform select pieces produced by Luana de Vol and Dolora Zajick from the American Wagner Project (AWP).

It’s also the Wagner Institute that will present “Das Rheingold,” the exciting prelude to Wagner’s famous “Ring Cycle” (also made up of “The Valkyrie”; “Siegfried” and “The Twilight of the Gods”), on Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 at the Temple House on Euclid Avenue, one of MMF’s new venues this year.

“This year, we are pleased to announce Temple House as a new performance venue in Miami Beach,” says Rossi. “In such a unique venue, we will present opera in a way that has never been experienced before, immersing the audience on stage using state-of-the-art 360-degree projections.”

Rossi explains that “Das Rheingold” was originally planned for the summer of 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

“Our artists have been training and practicing their roles for over two years and are extremely blissful that the time has come to step onto the stage and have the privilege of presenting the first fully staged production of this masterpiece in South Florida,” he says.

MMF’s Wagner Institute presents Opera at the Faena. (Photo courtesy of MMF).

The opera celebration continues with its Opera at the Faena series in the Faena Forum with three productions: Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” (Thursday, July 21 and Saturday, July 23); Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Friday, July 22 and Sunday, July 24) and Claudio Monteverdi’s  “L’Orfeo” (Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, at the Faena Forum Amphitheatre).

MMF’s “Family Opera”  is Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at Temple Emanu-El. Rossi explains that it has been conceived for young children and will be staged with dialogue in English.

But the offerings of MMF are not limited to opera. As in previous editions, music also occupies a prominent place in the program. On Thursday, July 7, at the Temple Emanu-El, the Conductor’s Symphony Concert will be presenting a group of new symphonic conductors from its Conducting Institute. They will lead the orchestra in pieces by Montgomery, Mozart, Okpepholo, Verdi, Saint-Saëns, and Schumann.

Subsequently, on Monday, July 18, the MMF’s Orchestral Institute will stage a chamber music concert at The Betsy Hotel. Rossi says it is a special event since the participating musicians are students who have selected their repertoires in partnership with teachers and artists in residence.

And the MMF Symphony Orchestra helps Miami Beach celebrate Independence Day with a program of patriotic and Broadway music at 8:30 p.m. for the Fourth of July at Lummus Park.

“Miami Music Festival began with a vision to provide quality classical music programming during the summer months, where most arts organizations are in their off-season,” Rossi says. “We are now expanding our programming beyond the summer months by presenting various performances throughout the city of Miami Beach, including annual concerts such as a New Year’s Day celebration. Every third Thursday of the month, MMF alumni and young artists surprise audiences on the terrace of The Betsy Hotel at the Miami Beach Culture Crawl. And we have many additional exciting plans.”

WHAT: Miami Beach Classical Music Festival

WHERE: Various venues throughout Miami Beach

WHEN: Throughout the month of July 

TICKETS: Admission is free, but RSVP required. Admission for “Das Rheingold is $50, $125. For some events, there are nominal general admission prices with VIP seating and priority seating at $75.

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