Tanglewood's Festival of Contemporary Music offers a landmark tonight, the U.S. stage premiere of What's Next?, the only opera (so far) by 97-year-old Elliott Carter, the éminence grise of American composers.
Carter's 40-minute opera, completed in 1998, is composed for six singers and features a libretto by music critic and author Paul Griffiths. James Levine conducts the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Vocal Fellows; Doug Fitch provides stage direction and set design.
The performance is part of a triple-bill of 20th-century operas that provides one of the centerpieces of this year's contemporary music festival at Tanglewood. Sharing the program, which will be repeated tomorrow afternoon, are Paul Hindemith's Hin und zurück and Stravinsky's Mavra. According to the Tanglewood Festival/Boston Symphony web site (www.bso.org), the operas, full staged, will be sung in English.