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Washington classical music and opera picks for February, March, April, May 2010

Collaboration: The Kronos Quartet, above, joins pipa player Wu Man and director Chen Shi-Zheng in
Collaboration: The Kronos Quartet, above, joins pipa player Wu Man and director Chen Shi-Zheng in "A Chinese Home" project. (Copyright Jay Blakesberg)
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By Anne Midgette
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 31, 2010

FEBRUARY

1 -- Opera Lafayette, Washington's home-grown Baroque opera specialist, celebrates its 15th anniversary by renting out the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for its biggest production yet, a staged performance of Gluck's "Armide" with the New York Baroque Dance Company and some notable soloists under the direction of the group's founder, Ryan Brown.

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12 -- The Kronos Quartet's ongoing residency at the University of Maryland reliably brings color to the winter season. Their latest collaboration, the multimedia project "A Chinese Home" with the pipa player Wu Man and the acclaimed director Chen Shi-Zheng, was inspired by an actual house in China that was reassembled in an American museum. It's accompanied by part of Tan Dun's "Ghost Opera."

12-13 -- The Post-Classical Ensemble hosts a two-day symposium at Georgetown, capped by two performances, "Liszt and Italy" and "Angels and Devils," exploring the music of the visionary and virtuosic Franz Liszt. Daytime events include an exploration of Liszt recordings and a number of live performances.

14 -- The East Coast Chamber Orchestra is a group of young musicians with orchestra jobs and solo careers around the country who come together twice a year to make music for the love of it -- as a conductorless chamber orchestra with some serious technical chops. They come to the Kennedy Center with a varied program, including serenades by Elgar and Tchaikovsky.

15 -- Rankings are dicey, but not many argued when the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was named the world's greatest orchestra in Gramophone Magazine last year. Under superconductor Mariss Jansons, the Dutch orchestra comes to the Kennedy Center with the violinist Janine Jansen to play Sibelius's violin concerto and Rachmaninoff's second symphony.

19 -- The Vocal Arts Society has reached out to Washington's classical music community to create the festival America Sings in the Nation's Capital, a rubric that covers a host of different performances of American vocal music by everyone from the National Symphony Orchestra through a solo recital by Anthony Dean Griffey to the Washington National Opera's "Porgy and Bess." On April 10, a special free showcase at the Kennedy Center spotlights some of the participating groups, including the soprano Patricia Racette. Through June 5.

24 -- Changes: Seasons is a two-week series of concerts and workshops exploring the use of technology in music and the role that performance spaces play in the way music is presented. Curated by composers Roger Reynolds and Steve Antosca, the series culminates in a concert of Varese, Xenakis and their own music in a distinctive space: the atrium of the I.M. Pei East Building of the National Gallery of Art. Through March 7.

27 -- Led by the peripatetic Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra arrive at the Kennedy Center for a residency that includes the production of Prokofiev's "War and Peace" seen at the Metropolitan Opera, concert performances of "Eugene Onegin" and "Boris Godunov" and two evenings of opera scenes by Borodin, Mussorgsky and others, including Tchaikovsky's "Iolanta" with Anna Netrebko. Through March 7.

28 -- Composer Morten Lauridsen is coming to town for the inaugural concert of the National Master Chorale, risen from the remains of the now-defunct Master Chorale, at the National Presbyterian Church.

MARCH

11 -- The National Symphony Orchestra's music director-designate Christoph Eschenbach comes to town to perform the Verdi Requiem with his future orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

18 -- The Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas is the subject of a lecture-performance (including a world premiere) in the Phillips Collection's inaugural season of its series: Leading European Composers.

29 -- Two great voices, two challenging last names: opera singers Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Sondra Radvanovsky join in concert at the Kennedy Center.


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