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Center Party to Serve Figaro--Again--and Fresh 'Hot Buttered Rumba'


"Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro high, Figaro low." Figaro at the fifth anniversary gala. Figaro at the 10th anniversary gala.

Yep, it's Figaro time again at an Orange County Performing Arts Center anniversary celebration concert.

On Sunday, Carl St.Clair will lead Pacific Symphony (as he did in 1991) in excerpts from Rossini's popular "Il Barbiere di Siviglia," as well as other snazzy opera and concert snippets.

Figaro this year will be Gino Quilico, who sang another Figaro in the 1992 premiere of John Corigliano's "The Ghosts of Versailles" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. At the 1995 revival, Times Music Critic Martin Bernheimer wrote that he "blustered nicely."

Singing some of Rosina's music from the Rossini favorite this year ("Una voce poco fa") will be Jennifer Larmore, who "enjoyed a considerable success," Bernheimer wrote, singing the lead in Rossini's "L'Italiana in Algeri" with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera in January. A month later she sang Rosina in "Barbiere" at the Met.

The two also will sing excerpts from Bizet's "Carmen," including the Habanera, Seguidilla and Toreador's song. (Remember that Bizet tells the baritone to sing this popular toreador song "fatuously.")

Pianist Emanuel Ax will hold up the solo instrumental side, playing Chopin's spirited "Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise," Opus 22. Ax won the first International Artur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition in 1974 in Tel Aviv and has been a frequent Southland visitor since.

An orchestral highlight of the program will be the world premiere of Robert Xavier Rodriguez's "Concert Overture for Orchestra: Hot Buttered Rumba," commissioned by the center for this anniversary celebration.

Rodriguez, who will be at the concert, was composer-in-residence at the Dallas Symphony from 1982 to '85. He studied at USC and now lives in Dallas.

Rounding off the program will be the orchestra's offerings of Dvorak's alternately bustling and lyrical "Carnival" Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral showpiece "Capriccio Espagnol."

* What: 10th Anniversary Gala Benefit Concert.

* When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday

* Where: Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: Exit the San Diego (405) Freeway at Bristol Street; go north. Turn right onto Town Center Drive.

* Wherewithal: $20-$85 (concert only); $500 (includes post-concert dinner).

* Where to call: (714) 556-2787.

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