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November 21, 1998|JUDITH MICHAELSON


'Creative, Rebellious Mind': Peter Sellars, who headed the Los Angeles Arts Festival in 1990 and 1993, and was director of the opera "Nixon in China," will receive the prestigious Erasmus Award from Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at the palace in Amsterdam on Tuesday. The $160,000 award is presented each year to two artists or institutions who have made exceptional contributions to theater, music, dance or film. The other Erasmus recipient is German musician Mauricio Kagel. Sellars, 41, who received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant 15 years ago, is being honored for having a "creative, rebellious mind, combined with a strong moral commitment and interest in social problems and the intercultural dialogue." Sellars, who is in Amsterdam, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Christmas Discord: Professional Musicians Local 47 is protesting the use of taped music during the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular," starring the Rockettes at the Universal Amphitheatre Dec. 9-29. During the production's season at New York's Radio City Music Hall, a 35-piece professional orchestra is the norm. "The show becomes the 'Juke Box Rockettes,' " local President Bill Peterson said of the spectacular, five productions of which took in $67 million last year. "Eventually, they'll film the Rockettes and put them on a giant video screen." On Friday, union members distributed leaflets outside a Rockettes rehearsal at Hollywood's First Methodist Church. "Such practices impact not only musicians but L.A.'s standing as a first-rate theatrical venue," said Lewis Levy, the local's lawyer. "The nose of the camel is in the tent and we don't want to let the rest of it in." A spokesperson for the Rockettes, noting that taped music is used in all road productions, called it "preposterous to think we've traveled cross-country to bring a second-rate production. . . . We've gotten rave reviews--and packed the houses--in each of the four markets we're playing."

Homecoming: Jorge Mester, music director and conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, has added two of Mexico City's leading orchestras to his conducting roster. He was recently appointed music director/conductor of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico and musical advisor/principal guest director/conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica Carlos Chavez. Mester, who was born and raised in Mexico City, said he is "happy to be able to work in the country of my birth and contribute to its cultural scene."


TNT Casting: John Lithgow will star as Don Quixote in an all-new adaptation of the Cervantes classic on TNT, it was announced by Julie Weitz, executive vice president of original programming. Robert Halmi Sr. and Lithgow, star of NBC's "3rd Rock From the Sun," will executive produce "Don Quixote" for Hallmark Entertainment Productions. Peter Yates ("Breaking Away") will direct. The novel was adapted for television by John Mortimer ("Brideshead Revisited"). . . . Also in the classic mode for Hallmark, TNT announced that Sally Field and Michael Richards will star in a new adaptation of Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield." Fields will portray Aunt Betsey, with Richards as Micawber in the two-part miniseries. Halmi will also executive-produce this production, with Peter Medak ("The Hunchback") directing. The adaptation was done by John Goldsmith ("Catherine the Great").

More Talk: KRLA-AM (1110), which debuts as a talk station Nov. 30, on Friday announced a weekend lineup that will include a potpourri of shows dealing with health, money, gardening, food, travel, sports and spirituality. The weekend lineup begins Dec. 5. Among the new programs is the syndicated show "The Group Room--Therapy for Cancer Patients," which will air Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon. . . . Meanwhile, Bob Moore, KRLA's vice president and general manager, disclosed Friday that he is talking to former morning-drive hosts Ken Minyard and Peter Tilden, whose services were terminated at KABC-AM (790) on Thursday. "I'm very interested in seeing if we can work out a deal with Minyard and Tilden, or Minyard or Tilden," he said. "I'm trying to look at a daily shift."


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