A two-week-long festival at the Kennedy Center featuring the profusion of art that flowed from Paris in the mid-Romantic period was announced yesterday.
The French government will pay for transporting the 130 members of the Orchestre de Paris, its 160-member chorus, several soloists and the 65 members of the Comedie Francaise. The remaining expenses will have to be met by the Center as part of its public service programming and from outside sources. The full cost is not yet set, but Martin Feinstein, the Center's executive director for the Performing Arts, said, "It will be expensive."
Starting on May 15, the three major houses of the Center will be devoted to the performances. On that night the historic Comedie Francaise will open a two-week run in the Eisenhower Theater with a new production of Victor Hugo's "Ruy Blas," to be repeated for the remainder of the week. Subsequent plays to be presented have yet to be chosen. Simultaneous translation facilities will be available.
On the same night the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim will initiate a two-week Berlioz festival with Berlioz' "The Damnation of Faust."
Two nights later there will be the dramatic symphony, "Romeo et Juliette," with Norman Burrows and Bastin. Burrows will be the soloist in the Berlioz "Requiem" the following night. And, squeezed in on May 16, will be an orchestral concert with the seldom-performed "Tristia" and the often-performed "Symphonie Fantastique."
During those two weeks the company in the Opera House will be the German Stuttgart Ballet. But the company's featured work will be a production, now less than a month old, of a ballet based on one of the best known mid-Romantic works, Alexandre Dumas's novel "La Dame aux camelias," a dance equivalent of Garbo's "Camille" or Verdi's "La Traviata." The star is Marcia Haydee, the choreographer is John Neumeier and the music is Chopin.
Three other choral concerts will be part of the festival. On May 20 the Paul Hill Chorale will perform some Berlioz choral songs and Cherubini's C minor Mass. On May 26 the Choral Arts Society will sing a program including Berlioz' "Nuits d'ete," and the Stabat Mater of Rossini, who settled in Paris in this era.
Sometime during that same week Robert Shafer's Oratorio Society will sing a program including what is believed to be the first American performance of Donizetti's "Credo."
Solo recitals will be devoted to the works of two persons who were virtuoso toasts of Paris at that time, which the Center is calling "The Romantic Epoch." Pianist Jorge Bolet will play Liszt on May 25 and Ruggiero Ricci will play Paganini on May 22.