The Washington Post critics choose their favorite shows of the week. ART

Alone, two of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest drawings -- now on view at the National Gallery of Art's "Leonardo to Van Gogh: Master Drawings From Budapest" -- would be worth waiting in line to see.

Predominantly 16th- through 19th-century drawings from central and western Europe, these drawings from the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts bring to light the lesser known but equally extraordinary holdings of what were once the pride of princely collections in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. CLASSICAL MUSIC

Tonight at 8 the National Symphony will have its annual Memorial Day musical bacchanal on the Capitol's west lawn. The orchestra's Exxon/Arts Endowment conductor, Andrew Litton, will lead Brahms' First Symphony, Gershwin's "An American in Paris" and a medley of Duke Ellington. The rain date is tomorrow.

This will be Metropolitan Opera week at the Kennedy Center, opening tomorrow night with a new production of Wagner's "Lohengrin," which is to be repeated Thursday. Then comes "Rigoletto" (Tuesday), "Cosi fan Tutte" (Wednesday), "Simon Boccanegra" (Friday), "La Bohe me" and "Eugene Onegin" (both on Saturday). DANCE

Today is the final chance to see the innovative movement theater group, the Adaptors, in its daringly zany "Autobahn" at Baltimore's Theatre Project, in an afternoon or evening performance.

The next attraction in the Theatre Project's spring series will be a solo program Wednesday by noted modern dance exponent Jeff Duncan, who'll be performing there through next Sunday. Duets, Etc., the enterprising duo of Helen Rea and Don Zuckerman, presents its latest program at the Dance Place Friday and Saturday evenings. FILM

Almost a year after its New York opening, Jean-Luc Godard's "First Name: Carmen" will open Tuesday for a three-day run at the Biograph, in a double bill with "Every Man for Himself." Friday through Monday, the Auteurs series continues with Alan Rudolph's "Welcome to L.A." and "Choose Me."

The Five European Directors series begins at the American Film Institute tonight with Andrzej Wajda's "A Generation," at 9:15. Later this week at AFI, "Kanal" and "Ashes and Diamonds," probably the greatest anticommunist film ever made.

The American Screenwriters series continues at the Library of Congress' Mary Pickford Theater with "The Missouri Breaks," featuring one of Marlon Brando's kookiest performances as a boomerang-throwing gunslinger in drag.

The first Soviet-American film retrospective, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II, opens Friday at the K-B Foundry.

The Hitchcock festival continues at the Circle Dupont with a number of the master's greatest films, including "Vertigo" and "Spellbound" in a double bill tonight and tomorrow.

Thursday through Saturday at the Circle Theater, George Miller's "Mad Max," which later became "The Road Warrior," which later this summer will become "Beyond Thunderdome." Get there in time for the dazzling opening sequence, and watch for the utterly satisfying demise of The Toecutter.

The Salute to the Broadway Musical continues at the K-B Cinema. This week's offerings include "Finian's Rainbow," Wednesday through Friday. POP MUSIC

The unusual pairing of strong-willed jazzmen -- pianist McCoy Tyner and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard -- promises to bring out the best of each at Blues Alley Tuesday through Sunday.

Silly Wizard, Scotland's contribution to the Celtic Revival, comes to the Club Saba reunited under founding members John and Phil Cunningham on Tuesday.

Remember Stuff? The Section? Meet What It Is?, featuring, among others, guitarist Cornell Dupree, keyboardist Richard Tee, bassist Will Lee, drummer David Weckl and saxophonists David Sanborn and David Woodford, at Club Saba Wednesday and Thursday.

Whitney Houston's debut album was disappointing, but her very hot video suggests that in live performance, she'll be the R & B knockout she's already been behind the scenes on many folks' records. At the Warner on Friday.

Once a year, the Capital celebrates itself in many languages and rhythms at the Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park. On Saturday and Sunday, and it's free.

Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider is in the forefront of the New Age Music phenomenon that's beginning to clutter up the record stores of the nation. Meditative, pastoral, the music will put you into either a dream state or to sleep. At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Saturday. THEATER

Washington theater, which can be as tame as a kitten, has suddenly come alive with controversy, thanks to two productions. "Execution of Justice" (at Arena Stage) is a nightmarish, multimedia exploration of the trial of Dan White, the former San Francisco cop, who killed Mayor George Moscone and gay Supervisor Harvey Milk. Stirring the ashes of that divisive and inflammatory trial, playwright Emily Mann discovers a bed of coals that never went out. Controversy of a different sort is being generated by "The Count of Monte Cristo" (at the Eisenhower Theater). A piece of 19th-century melodramatic claptrap with Richard Thomas as a victim of dastardly plots and counterplots, it has been given a provocative, avant-garde staging by director Peter Sellars. Audiences are violently pro or con, but no one leaves the theater indifferent.