Vienna Summer Music Festival brings internationally-acclaimed opera to St. Pete

singer and pianist on stage performing

The Vienna Summer Music Festival (get tickets) has moved to the US for its 2021 season, and the organizers have partnered with the St. Pete Opera Company for its spring/summer session. Performances will run from June 24-June 27.

An internationally-acclaimed series of operas is coming to St. Pete as the Vienna Summer Music Festival announced an upcoming residency with the St. Pete Opera, taking place at Preis Hall in St. Pete Opera Central.

Boasting a four-show lineup, the all-student production will perform Hansel und Gretel, two versions of La Boheme, the locally-written The Loathly Lady, and an Improv Opera. Traditionally held in Vienna, Austria, this is the program’s first American residency, bringing the traditions and sounds of the world’s capital for classic music to the halls of the St. Pete Opera. 

Vienna Summer Music Festivals for United States residency

The Vienna Summer Music Festival is an annual program that pairs rising classical musicians and performers with renowned leaders in the world of opera and classical music, providing them with a month of intensive training, teaching and guidance. The culmination of the festival is the lineup of public performances, now being held for the first time in the United States as a result of uncertainty around European Covid-19 restrictions. 

In bringing the festival to Florida, organizers have added prominent American and Floridian faculty to the field of Viennese instructors, offering an American flair to the productions.

Hansel und Gretel is the Humperdinck classic, “a deliciously riotous, magical story [that] follows two children and their journey through an enchanted forest full of faeries, candy and an abominable witch,” according to VSMF. Showtimes are Saturday, June 26th at 7:30pm and Sunday, June 27th at 7:30pm in Preis Hall, St. Pete Opera Central.

Transporting spectators to the Latin Quarter of 1830s Paris

The first production of La Boheme, says the festival, offers a new take on the classic as it “transports us to the Latin Quarter of 1830s Paris, but with a twist! The singers portray actors on the precipice of filming a movie centered around the traditional story of La Boheme.” Showtime is Friday, June 25th at 7:30 p.m.

The second production of La Boheme, at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 26th, takes the twist even further, presenting an all-female cast with women portraying both male and female characters and balancing the romance of the plot. 

World-class opera has a home in the Sunshine City

Written by local composer Paul Richards, The Loathly Lady is a three-part comedy based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale. The Loathly Lady is the first production in a twin-bill, followed by Improv Opera, which the festival describes as an immersive experience that “utilizes music from Carnival of The Animals by Camille Saint-Saens and allows VSMF singers to create characters, action and plot on the spot.” Show dates for the double bill are Thursday, June 24th at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 27th, at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets for all productions are $20 and are available online or at the door. Preis Hall is hosting all shows and is located 2145 1st Ave South in St. Petersburg.

Interested in even more fun in the Sunshine City?

Tickets are now on sale for July performances inside Zubrick Magic Theatre in the EDGE District.

Written by Bob Carskadon

Bob Carskadon is a writer with a background in journalism and an interest in the shared experiences of sports, food, drink, and art. Originally from Mississippi, he swapped catfish for grouper and now calls Florida home.