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

Opera 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

Sellars and mezzo-soprano Lorraine

Hunt Lieberson. They will work with conductor

COLOR="#003163">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

Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, David Hoose and Michael Beattie. ...

Kansas City Symphony conductor

Anne Mason will lead the

COLOR="#003163">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),

COLOR="#003163">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

Mehta will step into the shoes of executive director of the

New York Philharmonic. Zarin is the brother of famed conductor

COLOR="#003163">Zubin Mehta, who served as musical director

of the orchestra for 13 years until 1991. Mehta will succeed

COLOR="#003163">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

COLOR="#003163">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

Orchestra 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

COLOR="#003163">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

COLOR="#003163">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

Stone 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

Schikaneder 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

COLOR="#003163">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

COLOR="#003163">Louis Armstrong. Jazz singer

COLOR="#003163">Diane Reeves and trumpeter

COLOR="#003163">Clark Terry will contribute to the tribute.


While Hollywood is trying to decide if

COLOR="#003163">Madonna or Celine

Dion might star in a feature film on the life of

COLOR="#003163">Edith Piaf, acclaimed singer

COLOR="#003163">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

COLOR="#003163">Amanda Roocroft. Her concert will include

music by British composer Ivor

Gurney. Pianist Peter

Donahue will play several works by Romantic composers

including Chopin,

COLOR="#003163">Shumann and

COLOR="#003163">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,

COLOR="#003163">Purcell and

COLOR="#003163">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

Flanigan and composers John

Duffy, Ned Rorem and

electronic-music pioneer Morton

Subotnick. ...

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

Onegin, the company's first production in Russian. Other highlights

of the season include Verdi's

Madama Butterfly and Douglas

Moore'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

Tampa 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

COLOR="#003163">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

Motels, 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