With frigid temperatures and patches of snow and ice all over Baltimore, it's even more fun to contemplate the just-announced 2014 Castleton Festival, since one thing you can count on at this engaging enterprise deep in Virginia's Rappahannock County is plenty of warmth. The sixth annual festival will run June 28 to July 20.
Castleton, founded by prominent conductor Lorin Maazel on his sprawling country estate and co-directed with his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, is most noted for its opera productions showcasing rising young talent. The 2014 season includes new stagings of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Pucicni's Madama Butterfly conducted by Maazel in the 650-seat Festival Theatre.
A couple of casting details were announced. Two singers who made strong impressions in previous Castleton stagings will return -- Javier Arrey, who was Iago in last year's "Otello," will have the title role in "Don Giovanni"; Jonathan Burton, who sang Dick Johnson in "La fanciulla del West" (2013) and Rodolfo in "La Boheme" (2011), will be back as Pinkerton in "Butterfly."
As a companion piece to the Mozart work, there will be a theatrical reading of George Bernard Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell" from "Man and Superman" in the 140-seat Theatre House.
Orchestral concerts will also be offered, focusing on Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Maazel. The latter, who has composed a good deal of music over the years, will conduct three of his works for narrator and orchestra ona program with Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf."
Chamber concerts, vocal recitals and fireworks, too, are on the schedule.
Folks who have made the annual trek to Castleton (I've seen more and more from Baltimore each time I go) likely need no encouragement to return. Those who have not yet been there should find the lineup for the 2014 festival a good inducement.