The New Year will bring the naming of a new music director of the Pacific Symphony, the usual impressive imports from the Orange County Philharmonic Society and a new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" by Opera Pacific.
We may not see the Royal Ballet of Britain, however, which had announced a United States tour for July 2 through Aug. 5. The Metropolitan Opera, one of the original presenters, now says that the company is having trouble raising funds and the Met is no longer involved in the tour. The three-city tour was to have included stops in New York, Washington and Costa Mesa.
Otherwise, here are some music and dance picks for the new year.
*The Pacific Symphony's search for a new music director resumes on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 when Boston Symphony assistant conductor Carl St. Clair will lead the orchestra in a program of works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Joseph Canteloube at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.
St. Clair is the latest conductor in series of guest conductors that so far this season has included Lawrence Foster, Christopher Seaman, Stuart Challender and Toshiyuki Shimada.
The contest continues on March 28 and 29 with Richard Buckley, former director of the Oakland Symphony, and on May 23 and 24, with Sergiu Comissiona, former New York City Opera conductor.
The Pacific's music adviser, Kazimierz Kord, who says that he is not a candidate, will conduct two pairs of concerts, on April 18 and 19 and on May 2 and 3.
Orchestra officials say that a decision will be announced this year.
* The Philharmonic Society will sponsor a number of appearances at the Center, including Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Orchester der Beethovenhalle, Bonn, on March 30, Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Radio Symphony of West Berlin on May 6, and Yuri Temirkanov leading the Philadelphia Orchestra on May 31.
* The Garden Grove Symphony will be led by Philippe Bender, music director of the Orchestre Regional de Cannes, in a program of music by French composers on June 2. In a conductor-exchange program, Edward Peterson, music director of the Garden Grove Symphony, will first fly to Cannes, France on Feb. 18 to lead Bender's orchestra.
* The local opera season will begin on Jan. 13 through 20 with Opera Pacific's presentation of the San Francisco Opera production of Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Center.
The company will follow with a joint production (between Dallas, Houston, Miami and San Francisco operas) of Puccini's "Turandot," Feb. 16 through March 2, and the company's own production of "Don Giovanni," Feb. 21 through March 3. (Unfortunately, "Turandot" will open on the same day as Verdi's "Falstaff" by the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.)
The Costa Mesa-based company will finish its season with Jerome Kern's classic musical "Show Boat" July 13 through 22 at the Center.
* The newly formed Garden Grove Opera will venture its first production--Rossini's "Semiramide"--on Feb. 9 and 11 at the Don Wash Auditorium in Garden Grove.
Other vocal events:
* William Hall will lead the Master Chorale of Orange County in Brahms' "Schicksalslied" and "Ein deutsches Requiem" on Feb. 9 at the Center.
* Robert Hickok will conduct his Irvine Camerata in music of de Prez, Gibbons, Britten and others on Feb. 10, and works by Bach and Carissimi on May 5. Both concerts will be at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.
* The Pacific Chorale will sponsor its third annual high school chorale festival on April 29 at the Center.
In chamber music offerings:
* The Southwest Chamber Music Society will give the first West Coast performances of Hans Werner Henze's "L'autunno" for Wind Quintet on Jan. 18 at Chapman College in Orange and on Jan. 20 at Newport Harbor Art Museum; and of Charles Wuorinen's Sonata for Violin and Piano, April 5 at Chapman and April 7 at Newport Harbor.
* The mighty pianist Menahem Pressler will appear with the Pasquier String Trio on Feb. 8 at the Laguna Beach High School as part of the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society's series. Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and the Tashi String Quartet will play on March 11, as part of that series.
* Other long-term chamber groups will resume their activities: the Harmonia Baroque Players on Jan. 14 in Newport Beach and the Fullerton Friends of Music on Jan. 21 at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. The UC Irvine Chamber Players will offer a concert on Jan. 14.
* Next up among a series of chamber and orchestra seasons include Ami Porat's Mozart Camerata at St. Andrew's in Newport Beach on Jan. 26; Micah Levy's Orange County Chamber Orchestra's on Feb. 4 at Loyola Marymount University in Orange and Feb. 5 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa; and Larry Granger's South Coast Symphony on Feb. 17 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
* American Ballet Theatre will dance Kenneth MacMillan's "Romeo and Juliet" and various programs of shorter repertory March 6 through 18 at the Center.