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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.

March 16, 2001|SHAUNA SNOW

PERFORMING ARTS

Reinterpreting Harry Smith: Elvis Costello, Beck and Marianne Faithfull top the lineup for "Hal Willner's Harry Smith Project," a reinterpretation of multimedia artist Harry Smith's seminal 1952 recording, "Anthology of American Folk Music," taking place April 25 and 26 at UCLA's Royce Hall. The project is the first event programmed by UCLA Center for the Performing Arts' new director, David Sefton, who previously presented "The Harry Smith Project" in 1999 in London, where he was head of contemporary culture at Royal Festival Hall. Other artists slated to perform include the Folksmen (Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest), Todd Rundgren, Eric Mingus, Bill Frisell and T-Bone Burnett. The Getty Research Institute, meanwhile, in its first collaboration with UCLA performing arts, will host a two-day related interdisciplinary multimedia symposium, "Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in American Vernacular," on April 20 and 21 at the Getty Center.

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Pianist's Road to Recovery: Alexei Sultanov, the youngest pianist ever to win the prestigious Van Cliburn competition, is recovering from several strokes he suffered last month after a head injury sustained in a fall at his Fort Worth home. It's too early to know whether he will be able to play again, his doctor said this week. Though the pianist's left side is paralyzed, he has spoken a few words in both Russian and English and has made "remarkable gains" in his recovery, the doctor said. Sultanov, now 31, was 19 when he took first place in the 1989 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In 1995, he won the 13th Frederic Chopin International Competition in Warsaw.

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Mozart Discovery?: A British Mozart expert from Leeds University believes she has discovered a long-lost Mozart arrangement of George Frideric Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus." Music teacher Rachel Cowgill found the adaptation of Handel's oratorio at a local government records office. Other experts are examining the piece, which is not in Mozart's own hand, but says "By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" on the title page. Cowgill is convinced it's genuine, saying the arrangement techniques match those in Mozart's adaptation of Handel's "Messiah." Mozart adapted at least four Handel pieces in the 1780s to make them more appealing to more florid contemporary tastes. Scholars have found references to a fifth Mozart Handel adaptation, but this is the first time a possible manuscript for that has surfaced.

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All in the Family: The three-hour opera "Sacco & Vanzetti," about two Italian immigrants executed in 1927 for murder despite lingering doubts about their guilt, debuts tonight in Tampa, Fla., under the baton of conductor Anton Coppola, who wrote the score and the libretto. Coppola, who has conducted regularly for many American opera companies, is the uncle of film director Francis Ford Coppola. The elder Coppola, 83, originally began writing music for his nephew's planned documentary about Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. But after hearing the score, the director encouraged his uncle to turn it into an opera instead.

ENTERTAINMENT

Strike Worries Played Down: CBS Television President Leslie Moonves, presenting an early look at the CBS fall schedule Thursday, told advertisers he was "hopeful and even optimistic" that the industry wouldn't be hit by strikes by writers and actors, but that if so, the network is "very prepared." CBS, he said, has stockpiled theatrical films and TV movies, has its news divisions on notice to increase newsmagazine editions, and has several quick-turnaround concepts for staged, unscripted series like "Survivor."

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Facing a Lesser Rap: Rapper Nate Dogg will stand trial on a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon, but will not be tried on four other charges stemming from an alleged kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend. The rapper, who got his start recording with rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, was accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from her mother's house in June, holding her against her will at a Lakewood home, assaulting her and setting a car on fire. The more serious charges related to the alleged kidnapping--which carried a possible life sentence--were dismissed Wednesday because the ex-girlfriend said she did not want to be responsible for sending her son's father to prison, prosecutors said. The firearm charge carries a maximum three-year jail term.

QUICK TAKES

The Humanitas Prize organization has elected Father Frank Desiderio, former director of the campus ministry at UCLA's University Catholic Center, to carry on the tradition of the late founder, Father Ellwood "Bud" Kieser, as president of the organization, which honors "human values" in entertainment productions. Desiderio began working in radio (and later, TV) production in 1988. . . . ABC's new Denis Leary comedy, "The Job," made a respectable debut Wednesday, finishing second in its 9:30 p.m. slot against the second half of NBC's "The West Wing." The new series kept 96% of the audience from its lead-in, "The Drew Carey Show." Meanwhile, CBS' new cop drama, "Big Apple," took another tumble in a special Wednesday night edition following "Survivor," losing 67% of the staged, unscripted series' 28 million viewers.

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