Dominick Argento's tightly packed, pungent psychodrama "Postcard From Morocco" will be the Wolf Trap Opera Company's second major attraction of the summer, beginning Thursday night at the Wolf Trap Barns. If the production is comparable to the one already given to Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," this opera (one of the landmarks of the neoromantic trend in new music) should be a memorable experience.
Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture will also be performed at Wolf Trap on Thursday night -- at the Filene Center, not the Barns, with Hugh Wolff conducting the National Symphony Orchestra and a battery of cannons. It will undoubtedly attract a larger audience in one night than "Postcard From Morocco" in four, whether it should or not.
The rest of the week's picks are chamber music: for flute, violin and piano, Monday night in the almost ideal environment of Strathmore Hall in Rockville; for string quartet, Tuesday night in the more challenging acoustics of the Washington Cathedral. The Strathmore Hall concert will feature the world premiere of a work by Washington composer Haskell Small.
The Paris Opera Ballet presents a week of performances of "Swan Lake," in the version by artistic director Rudolf Nureyev, at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Four casts of principals will alternate starting Tuesday night. This is the troupe's first U.S. visit since 1948.
Michael Uthoff's well-reputed, Connecticut-based Hartford Ballet appears at the University of Maryland's Tawes Theatre Saturday night.
The Music and Movies series continues at the Library of Congress' Mary Pickford Theater with "Jazz on Film" (Monday at 7:30), Laurence Olivier as MacHeath in Peter Brook's "The Beggar's Opera" (Wednesday at 7:30), "Music and the Silent Film" (Thursday at 7:30), and "Singin' in the Rain' (Friday at 7:30.)
Today and tomorrow at the Sidwell Cinema, "A Festival of Dada and Surrealism," featuring works by Rene Clair, Man Ray, and Luis Bun uel.
Tuesday through Thursday at the Biograph, Albert Brooks' peerless satire of yuppie angst, "Lost in America," in a double bill with "After Hours," for which Martin Scorsese won the Best Director prize at Cannes.
*The Summer Cinema series continues at the National Theater tomorrow with "There's No Business Like Show Business," starring America's greatest foghorn, Ethel Merman.
Among current releases, James Cameron's "Aliens," a virtual textbook on how to make a great action sequel. Opening Friday, "Heartburn," Mike Nichols' masterpiece about how men and women mess up each other's lives.
A good week for discovering up and coming bands: Austin's Wild Seeds and Doctors Mob Sunday at the East Side; Beat Farmers and Walk the West on Monday, Ireland's Cactus World News and Godfathers on Friday, and Squirrel Bait and Volcano Suns on Saturday, all at the 9:30.
Steve Allen leaves the jokes behind even as he tickles the ivories at Blues Alley Tuesday through Sunday.
Britain's exquisite pop singer and songwriter, Joan Armatrading, appears at Wolf Trap on Tuesday.
Fresh from Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind" in New York, the engagingly eclectic Red Clay Ramblers come to the Birchmere on Wednesday.
Seminal English folk-rockers Pentangle (including founders Bert Jansch, Terry Cox and Jacqui McShee) are at the Birchmere on Thursday as part of their first American tour in 10 years.
The Capital Centre hosts a promising Funk-Lite show on Friday with Morris Day, Jermaine Jackson, Midnight Star and Ready for the World.
The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame on Tour: Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, a couple of distinctive piano men, share a bill at the Patriot Center on Friday.
Brazilian pop star Jorge Ben appears at Kilimanjaro's Heritage Hall on Friday.
For anyone who came of age during the 1960s, "Beehive" (at Arena's Kreeger Theater) strikes all the right chords. Here, recaptured by a talented cast of six, are the female vocalists and girl groups that presided over the decade. If you wept with Lesley Gore, were inflamed by Tina Turner, felt for Connie Francis or drooled over the Supremes, you'll be right at home. The show, which takes its name from the towering hairdo that enjoyed a brief vogue back then, is also a living catalogue of delirious fashions and syncopated dances. Did we really carry on like that? Apparently, we did.