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Halls Alive With Sounds of Music

A Sampling of the Best Opera, Symphony and Dance Offerings


From the great wave of opera, symphonies, recitals and dance programs this season, picking even a few must-sees is hard. Here's one pass at the list . . .

Starting with opera:

* Verdi adored Shakespeare, but he composed only three operas based on Shakespearean texts. The earliest was "Macbeth," which Opera Pacific stages Jan. 16-21 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Paul Fink and Gordon Hawkins alternate in the title role. Audrey Stottler and Cynthia Lawrence alternate as Lady Macbeth. Company artistic director John DeMain will conduct.

For those who can't wait that long, Orange County's only opera troupe will also offer a sample program of opera excerpts Saturday at Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach with a cast that includes five soloists. DeMain will conduct.

* Two other opera dates to watch: Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" from April 3-8 at the center and the West Coast premiere of Mark Adamo's "Little Women" from May 12-20 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Switching to symphonies:

* Philip Glass' Choral Symphony No. 5 (Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakay) seeks to trace a spiritual history of the cosmos, from chaos to hoped-for future enlightenment. The work gets its West Coast premiere Oct. 13 at the center when Carl St.Clair will conduct the Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale and multiple soloists. The concert opens the second annual Eclectic Orange Festival sponsored by the Philharmonic Society, which helped commission the work.

* As part of its season, Pacific Symphony will host a wide-ranging Aaron Copland Centenary Festival in November. Most details are pending, but one program is set: St.Clair will conduct "Fanfare for the Common Man," "A Lincoln Portrait" and other Copland works, Nov. 15 and 16 at the center.

* For Baroque music, turn to two programs: the Academy of Ancient Music and conductor-violinist Andrew Manze with music by Bach, Handel and other composers, Nov. 19 at the center (which sponsors the concert). Second is a Vivaldi opera selections program with famed mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and the 15-member period-instrument ensemble, Il Giardino Armonico, Feb. 26 at the center. The concert is sponsored by the Philharmonic Society.

* Another important choral event: Bobby McFerrin will conduct the Pacific Chorale in Brahms, Schubert and his music May 19 at the center.

As for recitals:

* Pianist Evgeny Kissin will play works by Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms on Sept. 28 at the center. His recital is sponsored by the Philharmonic Society.

* Rising star tenor Ian Bostridge will make his Southern California recital debut with a program of Schubert and Wolf on Oct. 26 in Founders Hall at the center. The Philharmonic Society is the sponsor.

* Andras Schiff will play Bach's "Goldberg Variations" on Nov. 13 in Founders Hall at the center. The Philharmonic Society is the sponsor.

* Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves will sing her first Orange County recital Jan. 26 at the center, which is sponsoring the event.

* The dance world gets broader and broader: Martial arts emerged for self-protection, but practitioners in the East quickly realized the first opponent that needed to be subdued was the ego of the warrior. The Shaolin order of Buddhist monks from China will demonstrate their mastery Oct. 14 at the center. This is their first international tour. The program is sponsored by the Philharmonic Society.

* Elizabeth Streb's "Action Heroes" pays homage to various stunt artists. The new work gets its West Coast premiere Oct. 20-22 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, which is sponsoring the event.

* The renegade, innovative Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg will dance Eifman's "A Russian Hamlet: The Son of Catherine the Great" from March 16-18 at the center, which sponsors the engagement. The work draws on music by Beethoven and Mahler.


Irvine Barclay Theatre: (949) 854-4646

Opera Pacific: (800) 346-7372

Orange County Performing Arts Center: (714) 556-2787

Pacific Chorale: (714) 662-2345

Pacific Symphony: (714) 755-5799

Philharmonic Society of Orange County: (949) 553-2422



13642 Winthrope St., Santa Ana

(714) 731-8079

Aliso Viejo Symphony is a 70-member resident orchestra, providing concerts for more than 15 communities. The symphony, which is entering its fifth season, performs a variety of orchestral literature from symphonic masterworks to Broadway and pops. The symphony's mission is to provide south Orange County with an accessible, professional and affordable musical experience.

Season Information

A Night at the Opera--Nov. 3

Coast Hills Church in Aliso Viejo

Guest vocalists Eileen O'Hern, Kristin Rothfuss, Alvin Brightbill and John Huntington

Young Stars of the Future--Feb. 9

Lake Hills Church in Laguna Hills

Catrin Finch, harp, and the second-annual Young Artists Competition Award Winners

The Best of Broadway--March 30

Coast Hills Church in Aliso Viejo

Latin American Favorites--May 18

Coast Hills Church in Aliso Viejo

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