THIS SUMMER’S cultural events seem to be lighter in nature, with many having moved out of the usual brick-and-mortar venues into the open air. Yet, with the upcoming theatre and musical season inching closer, a few big, highly anticipated international festivals are coming in September.

The Bratislava Music Festival (BHS) runs from September 21 to October 12, offering 25 concerts featuring eight exceptional foreign orchestras, like the Israeli Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Symphony, the Czech Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon and Orquesta Sinfonica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluňa. Conductors will include Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Fedosejev, Jiří Bělohlávek, Leonard Slatkin, Peter Schneider, Iván Fischer, Pinchas Steinberg and ‘host conductor’ Emmanuel Villaume.

The 50th year of the classical music festival features famous soprano of Slovak origin Edita Gruberová, both performing and appearing as an honorary chair. Tickets will be sold starting August 20 in the Reduta building of the Slovak Philharmonic on E. Suchoňa Square 1 in downtown Bratislava. More information can be found at bhsfestival.sk.

The other festival is a different cup of tea: drama, dance and multi-genre pieces will be offered with subtitles in English during the Divadelná Nitra international festival on the last weekend in September in Nitra. The main festival will offer 10 works by ensembles from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia and Slovakia, which will answer the question Art – What For? In the Festival Plus section, rare works, like an opera performed by children, contemporary dance and a theatre performance of a cult film, will attempt to answer this eternal question.

Tickets for the 23rd year of the theatre festival can be purchased online starting August 1 through the nitrafest.sk website, and from September 2 in the A. Bagar Theatre in Nitra.

The Slovak National Theatre has made tickets for the 2014/2015 season available, too, while apart from the pieces already in the repertory, new premieres include Richard Strauss’ opera Salome, The Land of Smiles by Franz Lehár, Chalres Gunaud’s Romeo and Juliet, Jewells of Madonna by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, and King Theodor in Venice by Giovanni Paisiello.

New ballets include Giselle by A. Ch. Adam and Angelica by Mauro de Candia, Rudolf Pepucha and Eugen Suchoň, as well as From Fairytale to Fairytale by Oskar Nedbal. Special one-time stagings are also offered, and the whole programme can be found - in German and English - at snd.sk, and a programme brochure can be purchased in the ticket office on Pribinova 17 (new building), via phone (02/2047-2296) or online through navstevnik.sk.