Classical Beat: James V. Kimsey, National Opera, Emmanuel Music …

America Online co-founder gives $10 million to the Kennedy Center.

Internet billionaire James V. Kimsey has donated $10 million to the
Kennedy Center. The co-founder of America Online is a trustee of the
Kennedy Center, chairman of the National
and a member of the board of the National Symphony Orchestra. Part of the
Washington-raised billionaire’s gift will go toward endowing the
principal tuba chair in the orchestra and giving every fifth-grade
student in the District of Columbia the opportunity to attend a
performance at the Center. …

The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on Tuesday (June 6) to
re-christen the Washington Opera as the National Opera. The resolution was primarily a symbolic act to give the fifth largest opera company in the country a more prominent stature. The company requested the official name change even though it didn’t need such legislation to take on the “national” moniker. Rep. William Goodling (R-Pa.) said he introduced the resolution with the goal of improving both ticket sales and fund-raising prospects for the privately held company. Artistic director Pl&#aacute;cido Domingo will continue his role overseeing the renamed National Opera and the company will continue to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. …

As part of Emmanuel Music’s 30th
anniversary season, the company will collaborate with two of its
illustrious alumni: stage director Peter
and mezzo-soprano Lorraine
Hunt Lieberson
. They will work with conductor Craig Smith and the Emmanuel musicians on a
triptych of staged Bach cantatas.
Also featured in the 2000–01 season will be Sunday-morning cantatas with guest conductors including Seiji
, Christopher Hogwood, David Hoose and Michael Beattie. …

Kansas City Symphony conductor
Anne Mason will lead the Geneva Opera of Switzerland in a staging of
American composer Carlisle Floyd’s
groundbreaking opera Susanna. Mason will lead the production
despite chronic pain of the sciatic nerve, diagnosed at the end of the
symphonic season in Kansas City, Mo. Noted bass Samuel Ramey joins tenor Gordon Gietz and soprano Nancy Gustafson, who is playing the title role of this distinctly American tale. Performances of the opera will run June 16–28 in Switzerland; rehearsals began Monday (June 5). Because of the chronic pain, Mason has canceled all other appointments this summer to take a three-month rest, as prescribed by her doctor. …

Luciano Pavarotti has announced the
lineup for this year’s Pavarotti & Friends concert held in his hometown
of Modena, Italy. The all-star event, which takes place Tuesday (June
6), features performances by Tracy Chapman, Eurythmics, Enrique Iglesias, George Michael, Savage Garden and Zucchero. Also appearing are Aqua (from Denmark), Biagio Antonacci (Italy), Irene Grandi (Italy), Monica Naranjo (Spain), Skunk Anansie (UK) and Caetono Veloso (Brazil). The concert will be recorded, and Decca Records will release the album in October. …

The New York Times reported that Zarin
will step into the shoes of executive director of the
New York Philharmonic. Zarin is the brother of famed conductor Zubin Mehta, who served as musical director
of the orchestra for 13 years until 1991. Mehta will succeed Deborah Borda, who left her position to join
the Los Angeles Philharmonic. …

Conductor Erich Kunzel led the
National Symphony Orchestra in a
Memorial Day program on the U.S. Capitol’s west lawn that included a
Morton Gould arrangement of the
classic “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and a performance by blues
master B.B. King. The concert also
featured a selection from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 that came with video images from the Korean War that were synchronized with the NSO. …

The English National Opera will
perform 10 consecutive new productions as part of London’s String of
Pearls Millennium Festival. The operas — which open with Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea
and end with Verdi’s Requiem
— will run from September through December. …

Director Pinchas Zukerman of
Canada’s National Arts Centre
announced Thursday (May 25) that the NAC will
present its second annual Great Composers Festival in July in Ottawa.
Performers include tenor Ben Heppner
and pianists Angela Hewitt and
Alicia de Laroccha. There will be a
Bach-around-the-clock marathon, a
jazz concert along with various chamber music recitals. The festival
unfolds July 4–28. …

The Peking Opera will perform at the
Atlantic City Sands Hotel & Casino from June 27 to Sept. 10. …
California’s Orange County is known for its conservative political
climate. But this week, the Orange County High School of the Arts will
step out onto the avant-garde edge with a series of performances that
include Three Mob Pieces by Austrian composer H.K. Gruber; Le Tombeau de Liberace by
American Michael Daugherty (of
Jackie O opera fame); and the West Coast premiere of I: A
Meditation on Iona
for percussion and strings by modern Scottish
composer James MacMillan. …

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra
featured soloist Yo-Yo Ma in the
debut Wednesday (May 24) of a new work by American composer Peter Lieberson. The Six Realms, a
concerto for amplified cello and orchestra, is titled in reference to
the Buddhist view of the world — the six states of mind that form
human experience. Lieberson, a practicing Buddhist and teacher, wrote
the piece under a commission from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in
partnership with the national festival Music Canada Musique 2000.

Mozart’s opera The Philosopher’s
will be performed in Europe for the first time since 1814 at
London’s Hampstead and Highgate Festival this weekend. Discovered in
1996, the piece was co-written with Emanuel
in 1790. Schikaneder and Mozart later worked
together on The Magic Flute. The festival will offer concerts,
recitals and illustrated lectures in the 18th- and 19th-century
churches, museums and historic houses of Hampstead and Highgate.

Tenor Andrea Bocelli and the
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with
Wynton Marsalis will headline the
first Liberty State Park Music and Heritage Festival beginning July 1.
The twice-Grammy-nominated Bocelli will be joined by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for his only
New York-area performance of the year. Marsalis and the Lincoln Center
Orchestra will headline a Fourth of July tribute to Louis Armstrong. Jazz singer Diane Reeves and trumpeter Clark Terry will contribute to the tribute.

While Hollywood is trying to decide if Madonna or Celine
might star in a feature film on the life of Edith Piaf, acclaimed singer Raquel Bitton and her one-woman show based on
the life of France’s “little sparrow” will be hitting a theater near
you. Her upcoming Paris performance in the fall will be recorded for a
documentary concert film to be directed by rock video director Barry
Stone. Bitton has recently been signed to OMTOWN/Higher Octave Music, a
Virgin-associated label. Her debut CD for the label, Raquel Bitton
Sings Edith Piaf, Vol. I,
is due July 18. …

The idyllic Wilton Church in Salisbury, Wiltshire, plays host again to
the Wardour Music Festival from June 23–28. The five-day event will
feature top British artists, including a recital by soprano Amanda Roocroft. Her concert will include
music by British composer Ivor
. Pianist Peter
will play several works by Romantic composers
including Chopin, Shumann and Liszt. The festival closes with a performance
by the Wallace Collection, one of
the world’s pioneering brass ensembles, and will feature works by
Mozart, Monteverdi, Purcell and Stravinsky. …

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers will recognize
New York’s WNYC Radio’s 75-year history of promoting and broadcasting
contemporary American music at its first Annual Concert Music Awards at
the Juilliard School on Thursday (May 25). Four other awards will be
presented at the ceremony, to soprano Lauren
and composers John
, Ned Rorem and
electronic-music pioneer Morton
. …

Utah Opera announced its 2000–01 season of four productions playing
in Salt Lake City’s Capitol Theatre. The season opens Oct. 21–29
with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene
the company’s first production in Russian. Other highlights
of the season include Verdi’s
Madama Butterfly and Douglas
’s The Ballad of Baby Doe. … French
composer/conductor Pierre Boulez and
Italian conductor Riccardo Muti have
won the Wolf Prize in music. The award — the Israeli equivalent of
the Nobel Prize — comes with a cash award of $100,000. …

Composer/teacher Ellis Kohs died May
17 at the age of 84. His opera, Amerika, based on the novel by
Franz Kafka, was staged in Los Angeles in 1970. He was a professor of
music composition and theory at the University of Southern California’s
school of music for 38 years. … Opera
announced on Friday (May 19) it will present the world
premiere of Sacco and Vanzetti. The full-scale opera was composed
by Anton Coppola (uncle of film
director Francis Ford Coppola). …

André Previn will conduct the
British premiere of his work Diversions with the London Symphony Orchestra in concerts at
London’s Barbican center, June 11 and 18. The piece was commissioned by
the Mozarteum International Foundation and debuted in Salzburg, Austria,
in January. …

The annual Holland Festival is known for its wide-ranging productions of
theater, opera, dance and music (in 1995, the event featured the world
premiere of Karlhaeinz Stockhausen’s
Helikopter Quartet). This year’s festival includes the live
premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200
which was originally realized as a film that starred the
composer, ex-Beatles drummer
Ringo Starr and others. The Holland
Festival runs from June 3 to June 25. …

— staff report