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HERE & NOW

Sunday, June 24, 2007

DANCE

NOTHING EXPRESSES the dying light of summer, the shifting moods of love and the haunting presence of a faraway war like Paul Taylor's "Sunset." This 1983 work -- one of Taylor's most powerful and most mysterious, danced to music by Edward Elgar -- is the centerpiece of a one-night stand by the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Wolf Trap this week. Also on the program are two other Taylor standouts, "Arden Court" and "Promethean Fire."

-- Sarah Kaufman

At Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. $8 lawn, $34 in-house. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visithttp://www.wolftrap.org.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

SOPRANO DENYCE GRAVES is well known throughout the musical world but especially popular in the Washington area, where she was raised. On Thursday, the Wolf Trap Opera Company and the National Symphony Orchestra will present Bizet's "Carmen" in concert at Wolf Trap, with Graves in the smoldering leading role. Simon O'Neill will sing Don Jose and Stephen Lord will conduct. "Carmen" might just be the perfect introduction to opera; audiences of any age take to its mixture of potent melodies and fast-moving drama.

-- Tim Page

At Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. Thursday night at 8. Tickets are $20 (lawn seating) to $65.Call 703-255-1900; or visit

http://www.wolftrap.org.

POP MUSIC

ELIZABETH COOK is one of those too-country-for-country types, a smart, soulful, funny, tough and twangy neo-traditionalist with a backwoods soprano. Though she specializes in the sort of authentic music that makes Grand Ole Opry fans giddy, it's generally lost on country radio programmers. What a shame. Cook's newest album, the Rodney Crowell-produced "Balls," is one of the year's best -- a stone-cold keeper with serious echoes of Loretta and Dolly. There's also an exquisite cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" plus a riotous modern-celebrity reference in the jew's-harp hoedown, "Times Are Tough in Rock n' Roll," on which Cook twangs: "All my feelings, all my fears / Were confirmed with Britney Spears." Cook opens for Suzy Bogguss at the Birchmere on Thursday.

-- J. Freedom du Lac

Thursday at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are available at the door or through Ticketmaster at 800-551-7328. $29.50. More information athttp://www.birchmere.comor 703-549-7500.

FILM

WITH THE DELIRIOUS MUSICAL documentary "Gypsy Caravan" arriving in theaters this week, the timing couldn't be better for the National Gallery of Art's New Romany Cinema From Hungary.

Whereas "Gypsy Caravan" largely celebrates the riches of Romany culture -- which comprises a diaspora of 10 million people living throughout India, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East -- the films at the National Gallery take a look at the harsher mores of a society that has been marginalized and oppressed throughout history. Robert-Adrian Pejo's "Dallas Pashamende" (2005) tells the fictional account of a man who returns to the Eastern European Romany camp of his birth, only to encounter age-old conflicts. István Malgot's "Gypsy Moon" (2001) brings the hardships of women to light in its portrait of a girl coming of age in the 1950s. Films are in Hungarian, Romanian and Romany dialect, or a combination thereof, with subtitles.

-- Ann Hornaday

New Romany Cinema From Hungary will be shown Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is free. Call 202-842-6799 or visithttp://www.nga.gov/programs/romany.shtm.

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