Here, in chronological order, are some of the more important summer classical music festivals in The City.
STERN GROVE FESTIVAL
Now through Aug. 17, this festival offers free concerts for the 71st summer every Sunday afternoon in the Grove. Be prepared for some walking, and weather that can range from very hot to very cold. For the best seating, arrive at least an hour early. Classical programs include the LINES Ballet July 20, and San Francisco Opera on Aug. 17, the last day of the festival.
Where: Sloat Boulevard and 19th Avenue
When: 2 p.m. Sundays
Contact: (415) 252-6252 or www.sterngrove.org
S.F. OPERA ‘SUMMER MADNESS’
Two of the acclaimed trio of operas this summer are still running. No more Wagner “Das Rheingold,” alas — but there is a pair of additional performances for Handel’s “Ariodante,” with Susan Graham and Ruth Ann Swenson, and Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” with Natalie Dessay’s sensational turn in the title role. For another opera offering, the free Schwabacher Summer Concert featuring Merola Program participants is in Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth and Mission streets, at 2 p.m., July 6.
Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave.
When: “Ariodante” at 7:30 p.m. July 1 and 2 p.m. July 6; “Lucia” at 7:30 p.m. July 2 and 8 p.m. July 5
Contact: (415) 864-3330 or www.sfopera.com
INTERNATIONAL PIANO DUO FESTIVAL
Produced by the San Francisco International Music Festival, the Milton and Peggy Salkind International Piano Duo Festival event features five different programs in three days. Performers include the Riga Piano Duo (Latvia/Armenia); Duo Pianistico di Firenze (Italy); Noriko and Yuko Kugimoto (Japan); Pas De Duo (Berkeley); the Peery Piano Duo (Mountain View) and the Angelo Piano Duo (San Francisco).
Where: San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., S.F.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1 p.m. Monday
Contact: (415) 705-0846 or www.sfmf.org/tickets
S.F. SYMPHONY ‘SUMMER IN THE CITY’
Once known as the Symphony Pops Concerts, this festival has a judicious mix of symphonic works, jazz, tango, swing, musicals, allowing visits to Davies Hall at significantly lower prices than in the regular season. Of special interest: on July 9 and 10, young violinist star Stefan Jackiw plays the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and 28-year-old maestro James Gaffigan conducts the Bach-Stokowsky Toccata and Fugue in D minor and the Mussorgsky-Ravel “Pictures at an Exhibition.”Gaffigan and SFS will also perform at two free concerts in Plaza de Cesar Chavez at noon July 15, and in Dolores Park at 2 p.m. July 20.
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave.
When: July 9-26
Contact: (415) 864-6000 or www.sfsymphony.org
AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS SUMMERFEST
Summer evenings boast the chamber music of Beethoven, Corelli, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Telemann, Vivaldi, and of course Bach, performed on period instruments. The SummerFest experience includes Artist Spotlight lecture-demonstrations, Twilight Serenades picnic-style Bach’s Suppers, and the “main event” concert starting at 8 p.m.
Where: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St.
When: 8 p.m. July 15-17
Contact: (800) 838-3006 or www.americanbach.org
MIDSUMMER MOZART FESTIVAL
For the 33rd year, George Cleve’s celebration of the music of Mozart continues in the Bay Area, in the only festival in North America dedicated exclusively to Mozart. San Francisco concerts feature Jon Nakamatsu playing the A Major Piano Concerto, Nikolai Demidenko in the C minor Piano Concerto, Laura Griffiths, principal oboist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, as the soloist in the Mozart Oboe Concerto, and other works. The festival runs July 17 to Aug. 3 in Berkeley, Sonoma, Santa Clara, San Jose and in The City.
Where: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave.
When: 7:30 p.m. July 18 and July 25
Contact: (415) 392-4400 or www.midsummermozart.org
Other major festivals outside San Francisco: