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Summer Splash | Music / Critic's Pick

May 22, 1997|MARK SWED

It's back from the dead with the "House of the Dead." The long-suffering Long Beach Opera, always taking artistic risks but rarely having the wherewithal to pay for them, is now incorporated with Cal State Long Beach and is apparently as feisty as ever. With its season moved to mid-June, it will offer the June XX premiere of "Hopper's Wife" (a whimsical look at the painter and the gossip columnist by the "Harvey Milk" team of composer Stuart Wallace and librettist Michael Korie) and Janacek's anything but whimsical last opera, "From the House of the Dead" (DATE TK).

Simon Rattle is an old friend of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl. But we knew him when, and now, at age 42, he has become one of the most distinguished conductors in Europe. Lately his Beethoven has been singled out for its profundity, and for his single appearance at the Bowl on DATE TK, he conducts Beethoven's monumental Ninth Symphony.

Three musicians are coming our way over the next few weeks who are specially worth noting. Conductor Christoph Eschenbach has quietly become one of the finest Mahler conductors to be found anywhere, and he closes the Los Angeles Philharmonic season on DATE TK at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the composer's Fifth Symphony; clarinetist Richard Stoltzman is one of the congenial crew Emanuel Ax has assembled for the Ojai Festival (DATES), and he will offer the West Coast premiere of John Adam's ADAMS'? Benny Goodmanesque clarinet concerto, "Gnarly Buttons" (DATE); and Maxim Vengerov, the young violinist from Siberia with the tone of extraordinary velvet and the temperament of a tiger, plays the Brahms Violin Concerto to open the Hollywood Bowl season on July X.

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