Organizers of the long-planned New World Festival of the Arts, scheduled for June 4-26 in Miami, today announced a program featuring 27 world premieres of theater, dance and music, all specifically commissioned for the festival.
Robert Herman, the event's executive director, said it will include premieres of new plays by Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee -- who will also direct his play -- Lanford Wilson and Peter Evans.
The subjects of the Williams, Albee and Wilson works are not yet known, Herman said, and the manuscripts are to be delivered by Jan. 1.
Robert Wright and George Forrest, who wrote the lyrics and musical adaptation for the Broadway musical "Song of Norway," are creating a new musical based on the life of Anastasia, the woman who claimed to be the surviving daughter of the last czar of Russia.
Symphonic works commissioned for the festival include John Corigliano's "Festival Fanfare," to be played by the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta, and concerti or symphonies by Michael Colgrass, Gian Carlo Menotti, Norman Dello Joio and Alan Hovhaness.
Four chamber works will be premiered at the festival by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, including specially commissioned compositions by Lukas Foss, Morton Gould, Chick Corea and Leon Kirchner.
Five art exhibits and a film festival, including works never before seen in the United States, will be offered.
A ballet company is being formed for the festival, and is intended to become a permanent resident Miami-area ballet ensemble. The ballet company will perform for two weeks of the festival and will feature guest stars Alexander Godunov, Galina Panova, Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones.
Negotiations, Herman said, are under way to secure Moscow gold-medalist Amanda McKerrow, now a member of the Washington Ballet, for the festival.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company, among others, will perform for one week and will offer a world premiere by Taylor.
A new opera by Robert Ward and Daniel Lang, which Herman said tells the story of a nuclear scientist who discovers the secret of cosmic energy and fights to prevent his discovery from being used as a weapon of war, will also be performed.
Sir Rudolf Bing, former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera and founder of the Edinburgh Festival, among the first of major European festivals, has been named executive adviser to the event.
Herman said he had a discussion with Roger Stevens of the Kennedy Center about the possibility of bringing parts of the festival to Washington, but Stevens said yesterday that he did not anticipate that anything would come of the informal negotations.
Festival director Herman, formerly an executive at New York's Metropolitan Opera and currently director of the highly regarded Greater Miami Opera Association, said that the festival, which has been in preparation since 1979, was originally planned as an off-season "strictly tourism event" for Dade County, which includes Miami and Miami Beach. He said "the big question is, can we sell contemporary arts?"
Herman said more than half of the festival's $4.8 million budget will come from federal, state and local government agencies, and that the festival needs to sell 48 percent of its tickets to break even.