Summer 2012 has been a scorcher with an unbroken string of weather hot enough to compel anticipation for the cool relief of autumn. Those eager for a change in season will be heartened by the return of innovative performance arts group Mixed Precipitation's Picnic Operetta. Marking its fourth year, the harvest-heralding tradition remains uniquely accessible and delectable, transforming Mozart's Idomeneo, rè di Creta for performance in 15 community gardens throughout the Twin Cities. Widely considered one of the composer's finest early works, the 1780 Italian opera dramatizes the legend of King Idomeneo, whose desperate vows in the aftermath of the Trojan War have severe consequences for his homeland of Crete. An epic tale full of overweening passions and wrathful deities, the work might initially seem a somewhat heavy match for a lighthearted picnic. Displaying their knack for inspired adaptations, however, Mixed Precipitation have refashioned the work into The Return of King Idomeneo, a family-friendly tale replete with street-corner doo-wop, girl-group harmonies, and soaring arias. No picnic would be complete without food, of course, for which returning chef Nick Schneider will contribute more mouthwatering dishes with an urban-agriculture emphasis. Guided by the same creative team behind last summer's Alcina's Island (including director Scotty Reynolds, music director Marya Hart, and choreographer Nancy Nair), this annual picnic continues to be a scrumptious feast. For tickets and a complete list of performance times and locations, visit www.mixedprecipitation.org.
Saturdays, Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Aug. 11. Continues through Aug. 12, 2012