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A Look Ahead. In music and dance, a little spice but a lot of playing it safe. : 1995: A LOOK AHEAD : O.C. Tunes Up for Perlman, ‘Porgy,’ Puccini

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A few new collaborations and a major commission will highlight 1995, which otherwise looks to be a safe and unadventurous year in Orange County music and dance.

Fresh Faces . . . Sort Of

* Elliot Goldenthal’s work commissioned by the Pacific Symphony to commemorate the suffering inflicted by the Vietnam War will premiere April 26 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa (where it will be repeated the following day). The orchestra will be led by Carl St.Clair; participants will include soprano Ann Panagulias, baritone Sanford Sylvan, the Pacific Chorale, a children’s chorus and Vietnamese folk artists. The hourlong piece--the most ambitious musical commission in Orange County history--will be recorded on the Sony Classical label by the orchestra with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma participating.

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* John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale will collaborate with the Oakland Ballet in staging Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” which will be choreographed by John Butler, at the center May 13. On Feb. 26, the chorale will team up again with Ballet Pacifica, this time to present works by Norman Dello Joio, Libby Larsen, Gian Carlo Menotti and Brahms at the center. Pacifica director Molly Lynch will choreograph all the works except Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes” which will be choreographed by Jim Jones.

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* William Hall will lead the Master Chorale of Orange County in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” at the center May 20. Although the Britten piece has been a Hall staple, this time it will be sung to a screening of Derek Jarman’s film “War Requiem” with Laurence Olivier. The chorale will sing a Valentine’s Day program Feb. 12 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.

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* Rising mezzo-soprano star Cecilia Bartoli is scheduled to make her Orange County debut Sept. 21 at the center as part of the Orange County Philharmonic Society’s ’95-96 season. Violinist Itzhak Perlman, who has played here on several occasions, will return Oct. 18 in a recital at the center, also under OCPS auspices. More of the OCPS season will be announced.

Come Here Often?

* Opera Pacific will present Verdi’s “La Traviata"--again--Jan. 21-29 at the center, followed by Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly"--again--March 4-25 and Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” March 11-26. “La Traviata” audiences may be particularly interested in the performance of Tiziana Fabbricini, who stirred up controversy recently when she sang the role of Violetta at La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and in Vienna and Berlin and was criticized for intense acting at the expense of her singing. In Costa Mesa, she will alternate with Cristina Gallardo-Domas, who replaces Gwynne Gayer (who asked to be released from her contract for personal reasons). The highly praised Chinese baritone Haijing Fu will be Germont.

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* The center will present (as part of its Broadway series) the Houston Grand Opera’s new production of “Porgy and Bess” on June 21-25. Orange County saw the company’s previous production of Gershwin’s masterwork in 1987 under the sponsorship of Opera Pacific.

Welcome Back

* The splendid Royal Danish Ballet will return to the center May 22-28 with Bournonville’s “A Folk Tale,” reportedly his favorite among his works, and new company director Peter Schaufuss’ version of Bournonville’s “La Sylphide.” The Danes were the surprise hit of the season here in 1992.

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* Alain Lefevre, who recorded John Corigiliano’s Piano Concerto with St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony last year, will return to play Rachmaninoff’s ubiquitous Piano Concerto No. 2 with St.Clair and the orchestra at the center Feb. 1 and 2. St.Clair will lead another pair of concerts in February before heading to Philadelphia to conduct its fabled orchestra April 7 and 8.

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* George Cleve, who led the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in August and the Pacific at Irvine Meadows in 1993, will lead the Pacific in Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” plus works by Lalo and Ravel, at the center March 29 and 30.

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* St.Clair will lead the Pacific in Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” and Brahms’ Third Symphony at the center May 10 and 11. The popsy “Pines” was long in the Pacific repertory even before it was included in its concert inaugurating the center in 1986, but founding music director Keith Clark was at the helm then, and the orchestra hasn’t played it since. A new work by Pacific composer-in-residence Frank Ticheli also will be on the program.

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* Garrick Ohlsson, who played the opening concert at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido in September and with the Pacific Symphony in December of 1993, will play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with conductor Christof Perick and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at the Irvine Barclay Theatre Jan. 26, under the sponsorship of the Philharmonic Society. The chamber orchestra will return under the same auspices with Richard Stoltzman, another familiar figure, for Weber’s Clarinet Concerto in F minor at the Barclay on March 26.

Continuing

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* Among other Philharmonic Society-sponsored events at the center, Anthony Newman will lead the Brandenburg Collegium in its namesake concertos by Bach on Jan. 23; Joseph Silverstein will conduct the Utah Symphony on Feb. 13; Peter Maxwell Davies will lead the BBC Orchestra of Manchester on March 20 and Andre Previn will conduct the Orchestra of St. Luke’s on April 11.

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* Remaining in the chamber music series co-sponsored by the OCPS and the Laguna Chamber Music Society at the Irvine Barclay: the Alexander and Angeles String Quartets (Jan. 21), the Amici Trio (Feb. 7), the American String Quartet with guest cellist Stephen Erdody (March 4), and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players (May 9).

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* The Performing Arts Center’s chamber music series in Founders Hall will continue with the Cherubini String Quartet (Feb. 4), the Carmina String Quartet (March 23) and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival on Tour (April 27).

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* Ami Porat’s Mozart Camerata will play Jan. 14 at the Irvine Barclay (the program repeats the following day at St. Andrew’s) and April 2 and 14 at St. Andrew’s. The Orange County Chamber Orchestra has programs scheduled Jan. 22, March 5 and May 14 at the Irvine Barclay. The Fullerton Friends of Music will sponsor free programs Jan. 22, April 9 and May 7 at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. The Harmonia Baroque Players will give concerts Jan. 29 and April 30 at Christ Church by the Sea United Methodist in Newport Beach. The Community Concerts Assn. of North Orange County will present marimba player Linda Maxey on March 20 and the Vancouver Wind Trio on April 3 at the First United Methodist Church in Fullerton. The Southwest Chamber Music Society will play at Chapman University in Orange on April 30 and June 16.

More Dance

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* At the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa: the Joe Goode Performance Group (Jan. 21); Rhapsody in Taps (Feb. 25), Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (March 17 and 18) and Ballet Hispanico (April 1).

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* At the Irvine Barclay: the National Ballet of Senegal (March 7-12); Susan Marshall and Company (March 23) and Pilobolus Dance Theatre (May 13).

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* In a few weeks, the Performing Arts Center will announce its 1995-96 dance series and its replacement for the canceled engagement in April by the Joffrey Ballet. Reports are that the new dance series will have six, rather than the usual five, companies (including the above-mentioned Royal Danes).

Dance Over the County Line

* The Paris Opera Ballet Ensemble will appear in three mixed-repertory programs during an exclusive engagement Thursday through Saturday at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Choreographers represented will range from Bournonville and Petipa to Ben Stevenson and William Forsythe. Also at Cerritos: the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on March 3-5 and the Paul Taylor Dance Company on March 24 and 25. Information: (310) 916-8515.

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* Jo Dierdorff will direct the sixth “Dancers for Life” program to benefit the Inland AIDS Project on Jan. 28 in the Landis Auditorium at Riverside Community College in Riverside. Information: (909) 684-9337.

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* Ballet Folclorico do Brasil will dance March 12 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach. Also at the Carpenter: the Mehmet Sander Dance Company on March 29 and Lines Contemporary Ballet on April 23. Information: (310) 985-7023.

Summertime

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So far, the summer belongs to the Pacific Symphony and its five-concert series at Irvine Meadows. The dates: July 1 and 22, Aug. 5 and 19, and Sept. 9. The opening and closing programs will include fireworks. Still to be heard from but presumably continuing: the Corona del Mar Baroque Festival and the Seal Beach Chamber Music Festival.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

CONCERT HALLS

* Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787.

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* St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 600 St. Andrews Road, Newport Beach. (714) 556-6262 (Master Chorale of Orange County), (714) 631-2233 (Mozart Camerata).

* Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. (714) 854-4646.

* Sunny Hills High School, 1801 Warburton Way, Fullerton. (714) 525-9504 (Fullerton Friends of Music).

* Christ Church by the Sea United Methodist, 1400 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach. (714) 970-8545 (Harmonia Baroque Players).

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* First United Methodist Church, 114 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton. (714) 871-6632 (Community Concerts Assn. of North Orange County).

* Chapman University, 333 N. Glassell St., Orange. (800) 726-7147 (Southwest Chamber Music Society).

* Robert B. Moore Theatre, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa. (714) 432-5880.

* Irvine Meadows, 8800 Irvine Meadows Drive, Laguna Hills. (714) 855-6111.

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