1989 THE YEAR AHEAD : Promising Picks in Performing Arts : From Kirov Ballet to Muti and Philadelphia Orchestra


Events to look forward to in the new year range from a visit by Leningrad’s fabled Kirov Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti (both at the Orange County Performing Arts Center) to an enticing new series at UC Irvine featuring contemporary composers and the perennially youthful 94-year-old music author Nicolas Slonimsky.

Here are some of the most promising picks for 1989:

-- On Monday, UCI launches a monthlong series entitled “Contemporary Composers/Musicians” with San Francisco composer Paul Dresher, who will give the first of what are billed as “performances/demonstrations/discussions” at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Gallery. Dresher creates experimental operas and chamber works utilizing electric and acoustical instruments.

Others on the free series, all at the Fine Arts Gallery, will include internationally known author and raconteur Slonimsky (Jan. 19), and composers Daniel Lentz (Jan. 25) and John King (Jan. 31), both from Los Angeles.


-- Among a slew of orchestral events the Orange County Philharmonic Society is sponsoring at the Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, several stand out: conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony on Jan. 30; Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony on March 13; Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, March 15; Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, March 18; Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra on May 16 and 18.

-- Opera buffs can look forward to productions mounted by professional companies in 1989, and these follow almost back to back at the Performing Arts Center.

New York City Opera will present Verdi’s “Rigoletto” on Jan. 17 and 19 and Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote” on Jan. 18 and 20.

Opera Pacific presents Bellini’s “Norma” on Feb. 11 to 24 and Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” on Feb. 17 to 25.

Both companies also fill out their “seasons” with operetta or musical comedy: City Opera with Lehar’s “Merry Widow” on Jan. 21 and 22; Opera Pacific with “My Fair Lady,” June 23 to July 2.

-- On the lecture circuit, UCI professor Bernard Gilmore will discuss “Originality and Other Sins,” exploring the notion of “originality” as a criterion for artistic judgment on Jan. 12, the first of two free, UCI-sponsored faculty lectures in the Stewart Room of the Bren Events Center.

Gilmore is an associate professor in composition, conducting and music theory, who last year was acting dean of the School of Fine Arts.

The second of the noon-time lectures will be on Jan. 26 when Joseph Huszti will offer “Seeing With Your Ears and Hearing With Your Eyes: Communication Through Artistic Performance.” Chairman of UCI’s music department and head of vocal performance, Huszti will discuss concepts such as “style” and “intensity” in vocal performance.

-- Ballet offerings include the Joffrey Ballet’s reconstruction of Nijinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps,” plus a new production of Loring’s “Billy the Kid,” among other works, April 18 to 23 at the Center. No word yet, however, if the Joffrey’s recent reconstruction of Balanchine’s “Cotillon” will be on the bill.

The famed Kirov Ballet will come to the Center Aug. 18 to 27, with repertory including “The Sleeping Beauty,” a recent reconstruction of “Le Corsair,” and mixed bills of works by Roland Petit, Maurice Bejart and Oleg Vinogradov, director of the Kirov.

Oakland Ballet will appear at UCI on Feb. 17 and 18 as part of the Cocteau Festival sponsored by the Severin Wunderman Foundation, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and the Center Dance Alliance. Works will include a reconstruction of Nijinska’s “Le Train Bleu” and other ballets with scenarios and designs by Jean Cocteau for the Ballets Russes.

On the lighter side, the drag Ballet Trocadero will once again spoof ballet, modern and post-modern dance on Feb 10 at UCI’s Bren Center.

-- The chamber music lineup features harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, who will play music by Bach, Rameau and others on Feb. 5 at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton as part of the Fullerton Friends of Music 30th season. As usual, the Friends’ concert is free.

The Mendelssohn String Quartet and Musicians from Marlboro will appear on the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society series, on March 22 and May 2, respectively, at Laguna Beach High School.

-- The Pacific Symphony’s coming year includes the final performances by exiting founder-conductor Keith Clark. For his penultimate concerts as music director, Clark will conduct the orchestra and the Pacific Chorale in Verdi’s Requiem at the Center on April 26 and 27. Soloists will include soprano Aprile Millo and mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajic.The final offerings in Clark’s 11-year reign will come May 10 and 11 with cellist Lynn Harrell joining a program of Joan Tower’s Cello Concerto, the Beethoven Ninth and Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme.

The parade of Pacific Symphony guest conductors--all being looked at for the musical director’s job--continues (from last year) with Chattanooga Symphony music director Vahktang Jordania on March 1 and 2.

Next season’s guests will include Monte Carlo Philharmonic music director Lawrence Foster, Oct. 10 and 11; the Pacific’s principal guest conductor and music adviser Kazimierz Kord, Nov. 1 and 2; BBC Scottish Symphony principal conductor Christopher Seaman, Nov. 21 and 22, and Milwaukee Symphony music director Zdenek Macal, Dec. 20 and 21.

-- The local chorales will offer still more Requiems in 1989. John Alexander will conduct the Pacific Chorale in Berlioz’s Requiem at the Center on March 19. William Hall will lead the Master Chorale of Orange County in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” on May 21 at the Center.

Other choral events include the Sistine Chapel Choir at the Center on Feb. 5 (the concert is sponsored by the Orange County Philharmonic Society), and a partially staged and costumed performance of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” April 9 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.