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Summer Splash

Critic's Music Picks

May 25, 2000|MARK SWED

Faced by the blandest Hollywood Bowl season in years, music lovers might be well advised to take advantage of two festival-full weeks in early June. Opera is the big attraction. At the Ojai Festival, this year's music director, Simon Rattle, conducts concert performances of Ravel's charmer, "L'Enfant et les Sortileges" (June 2) and Poulenc's dadaist "Les Mamelles de Tiresias." And two of the most talked-about young British composers, fanciful Thomas Ades and raw, urban Mark-Anthony Tournage (both of whom have made sensations with their operas), will also be on hand for some of their most significant instrumental works.

Thanks to Los Angeles Opera, the heralded Francesca Zambello production of Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" that made a star of Los Angeles baritone Rodney Gilfry in Paris and London will finally be seen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (June 3-17). And Long Beach Opera provokes as usual, this year with two melodramas, Puccini's very noir "Il Tabarro" and Luigi Dallapiccola's slightly more modernist "Night Flight" (Carpenter Center, Cal State Long Beach, June 11 and 17).

Perhaps the most promising week at the Bowl will be the appearance of Paul Daniel, the music director of English National Opera, leading the two grandest Classical-period piano concertos with two particularly interesting soloists: dazzling improvising period-practice authority Robert Levin in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 (July 18) and Ursula Oppens, who brings the same commanding authority to the classics that she does to the new music in which she made her name, in Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto (July 20).

And for those who want to keep the outdoors and music separate but want immediate access to both, the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival will feature two notable American women, Joan Tower and Augusta Read Thomas, as their composers in residence (San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Aug. 4-20).

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