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FALL PREVIEW : Our Picks for the Best of the Coming Fall Season : <i> Calendar critics make their picks for the fall season’s best bets in pop music, jazz, stage, music and dance and the visual arts. : </i> : MUSIC

Important and controversial artifacts of contemporary music theater exert a strong presence this fall, thanks to the Center for the Performing Arts at UCLA. The Paul Dresher Ensemble begins the season in Royce Hall with the local premiere of “Pioneer,” Oct. 4 and 5, and the Allen Ginsberg-Philip Glass cantata “Hydrogen Jukebox” makes its first West Coast appearances Nov. 21-23.

While the summer lingers on in some outdoor venues, Music Center Opera opens the fall season with new productions of “Madama Butterfly” and “Les Troyens” in repertory. Placido Domingo has been able to maintain his company opening-night tradition--just barely--singing Pinkerton only for the Sept. 12 gala. He is replaced in the role by Jorge Antonio Pita for the five following performances.

Charles Dutoit conducts the five-hour Berlioz epic, which will be directed by Francesca Zambello and choreographed by Susan Marshall. It begins a five-performance run Sept. 14.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic moves indoors Oct. 10, with Jessye Norman singing Beethoven’s “Ah, Perfido!” and the Immolation Scene from “Gotterdammerung,” conducted by Christof Perick. He is followed on the Philharmonic podium by Kurt Sanderling for three weeks.

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Other Philharmonic highlights include the debuts of its first female conductors, Marin Alsop and Sian Edwards, both with a week of concerts in November. In December, Richard Stoltzman offers the U.S. premiere of Lukas Foss’ Clarinet Concerto, on a program conducted by Gerard Schwarz. Among the guests the Philharmonic is importing are Gidon Kremer and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, with intriguing concerts centered around the Mozart Violin Concertos Dec. 9 and 10.

Paul Salamunovich attempts to reconnect the Los Angeles Master Chorale with its storied past while leading it into the future in his first season as music director, starting with prime late- and post-Romanticism Oct. 13.

Outgoing music director Iona Brown launches the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra season with a reprise of her Hollywood Bowl Vivaldi program Oct. 16 and 17. She also leads the next two concert pairs, with acclaimed fortepianist Melvyn Tan the soloist Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. In his local debut, Tan opens the 12th season of Chamber Music in Historic Sites, with a recital Oct. 25 at the Doheny Mansion.


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