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UCLA Live gets Sondheim to talk

The composer speaking with Frank Rich is one of 56 cultural events on the wide-ranging 2007-08 season.

June 06, 2007|Chris Pasles | Times Staff Writer

The return of German choreographer Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal after eight years; the U.S. premiere of a Scottish military drama about Iraq, "Black Watch"; and composer Stephen Sondheim interviewed by New York Times columnist Frank Rich will be among the notable offerings of the 2007-08 UCLA Live season.

They will take place in addition to the previously announced Royal Shakespeare Company presentations of Ian McKellen in "King Lear" and Chekhov's "The Seagull," both directed by Trevor Nunn.

The season, announced today, will begin Sept. 18 and consist of 56 events, or about 138 performances, compared with 59 events comprising 149 performances in 2006-07. The budget, said series director David Sefton, is just over $9 million, an increase of approximately 7% over last season.

"It's a bigger season that's substantially more expensive than last year," Sefton said. "Last year's 'Slava's Snowshow' was a big chunk of 30 performances, which made the season huge. If you take that out, this is actually more. We keep building up."

The additional money, Sefton said, came from fundraising initiatives built around the Royal Shakespeare Company tour.

"I can't pretend I'm not happy about the Royal Shakespeare Company," he said. "Talk about an offer you can't refuse. It's a huge deal. Since we announced this, we've had the London reviews back from these productions. Five stars, across the board."

The series -- to be presented primarily at UCLA's Royce Hall and Freud Playhouse -- will also offer classical, jazz, world, folk and popular music performances, other dance events, lectures and family-oriented programs. Among the latter will be "Aurelia's Oratorio," created by "new circus" pioneers and Charlie Chaplin descendants Aurelia Thierree and her mother, Victoria Thierree Chaplin.

The theater lineup will include Amsterdam's Dood Paard (Dead Horse) in "medEia," an adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy; Poland's Teatr Zar in "Gospels of Childhood"; and a marionette play, "The Fortune Teller," created by New York puppet maker Erik Sanko.

In addition to Bausch's company in the North American premiere of "Ten Chi," the dance series will present Bolshoi Ballet star Nina Ananiashvili dancing "Giselle" with the State Ballet of Georgia; the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in "Blind Date"; Montreal's La La La Human Steps; Belgium's Ultima Vez; and the L.A. debut of Vietnam's Company Ea Sola.

The classical music series will offer separate recitals by sopranos Deborah Voigt and Jessye Norman; the Russian Patriarchate Choir; Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin; the Seattle Symphony with conductor Gerard Schwarz and violin soloist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg; and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

A Royce organ series will feature Christoph Bull improvising to Walter Ruttman's 1927 silent film "Berlin: The Symphony of a Great City" and a player to be named providing accompaniment for a screening of Harold Lloyd's 1923 film "Safety Last."

Other music events will include the West Coast premiere of Laurie Anderson's "Homeland"; musicians from the Monterey Jazz Festival celebrating its 50th anniversary; an Ash Grove 50th anniversary concert; Leila Haddad and the Ghawazee Musicians of Luxor, Upper Egypt; Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars; and the Richard Thompson Band.

Saxophonist Ornette Coleman, pianist Keith Jarrett, singer Dianne Reeves and the S.F. Jazz Collective will be among those performing in the jazz series.

Other personalities scheduled in the spoken-word series are Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver; and authors Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert appearing jointly.

"My favorite thing about this season is the range from quite cutting-edge, in-your-face stuff to the classics," Sefton said. "I like it that those things are all contained within the season."

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