An item in yesterday's Weekend section implied that Metrorail service would be available for those attending Sunday night's concert on the Mall by the National Symphony Orchestra. The concert is at 8 p.m.; Metrorail service ends at 6 on Sunday nights.

The story of classical music in Washington has been one of steady, sometimes spectacular growth since the early 1970s. The 1985-'86 season may become the point at which that growth slows down, at least temporarily.

The problems are not artistic but economic, and they seem to be affecting the city's (and the nation's) large musical organizations more than the smaller ones. While the multimillion-dollar budgets are running into problems, more modest enterprises are showing signs of growth. The Montgomery Chamber Orchestra, for instance, in its second season, will double its schedule to eight concerts. The Summer Opera Theatre, which doubled its season to two productions this year, sold out completely and plans to continue its policy of cautious growth. The Washington Music Ensemble, which toured Europe in August, is planning a festival of French music. The Alexandria Choral Society will participate in an international choral festival in Brazil.

Meanwhile, there will be a sharp cutback in the season of the Washington Opera: five productions rather than the seven that have been customary in recent years. Only one of these productions, Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment," will be completely new; "Don Giovanni," produced jointly with L'Orchestre de Paris, will have its first U.S. performance but has already been seen in Paris.

The Metropolitan Opera will not come to Washington at all in this season, which will mark the end of its century-old tradition of touring.

At the National Symphony, the cutbacks are less apparent but no less real. The programming will be varied and interesting, but big-name guest soloists will be less frequent than normal. A major American premiere is on the agenda -- the complete "Polish Requiem" of Krzysztof Penderecki -- but much of the "Requiem" will be a rerun, since the NSO had already performed substantial parts of the work before its completion. Another notable NSO novelty: the world premiere, under music director Mstislav Rostropovich, of Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen's Symphony No. 5.

Soloists with the orchestra will include trumpeter Maurice Andre', flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, soprano Jessye Norman and pianists Andre'-Michel Schub, Jeffrey Kahane, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Shura Cherkassky, Bella Davidovich and Michael Tilson-Thomas -- eminent performers one and all. But the details of the programs show cleverly managed economies. Rampal and Thomas (each engaged for two weeks with the symphony) will perform as both conductors and soloists -- as will Rostropovich. Other soloists will be outstanding musicians but still young and relatively inexpensive compared to Rudolf Serkin or Isaac Stern: violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and cellist Frans Helmerson, for example. One noteworthy soloist will be violist Marcus Thompson, a superb musician but not a famous or an expensive one.

There will be a perceptible emphasis on Washington performers -- soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, for example, who will sing in two programs. And the orchestra will feature seven of its own members as soloists in various subscription concerts: concertmaster William Steck (twice), pianist Lambert Orkis, oboist Rudolph Vrbsky, trombonist Milton Stevens, clarinetist Loren Kitt, harpist Dotian Carter and cellist John Martin. This represents a commendable willingness to put a spotlight on the orchestra's members. It also saves money.

The lion's share of conducting assignments will be taken by Rostropovich and principal guest conductor Rafael Fru hbeck de Burgos, with one concert apiece by associate conductor Andrew Litton and his predecessor, Hugh Wolff. Other notable guest conductors will include Klaus Tennstedt, Peter Maag, Serge Baudo, Yoel Levi, Leopold Hager and former NSO music director Antal Dorati, in his first appearance with the orchestra since 1980. The subscription season will not begin until October, as the orchestra will spend September touring in Europe.

The Washington Performing Arts Society is the one large organization that does not seem to have been hit too hard by economic problems. WPAS will make a major contribution to Washington's fall opera season by bringing Dame Joan Sutherland in a full-length concert version of Donizetti's "Anna Bolena," with her husband, Richard Bonynge, conducting. It will be Sutherland's first performance on a WPAS series since 1970.

In addition to first performances by the National Symphony, this fall will be especially rich in premieres. Among them: the premiere of Peter Lieberson's "Feast Day" at the Library of Congress by the chamber ensemble Tafelmusik; the Washington premiere of Frank Zappa's "Time's Beach" at the Library by the Aspen Wind Quintet; the world premiere of John Harbison's new String Quartet by the Cleveland Quartet at the Corcoran; the East Coast premiere, by the Dallas Symphony at the Kennedy Center with violinist Pinchas Zukerman and mezzo Zehava Gal, of Benjamin Lees' "Memorial Candles" Symphony, based on the poetry of Nobel Prize-winning Holocaust survivor Nelly Sachs; the world premiere of composer La Monte Young's "The Melodic Version" in a concert devoted to his music opening the Kennedy Center's "American Composers" series; the premiere of Washington composer Herman Berlinski's Violin Sonata at the Library of Congress, and the premiere at the Library of a newly commissioned work for soprano (in this case, Phyllis Bryn-Julson) and string quartet by Vivian Fine.

Other Washington premieres before the end of 1985 include composer Jon Deak's "Lady Chatterly's Dream," by the 20th Century Consort at the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Washington premiere of Keith Jarrett's "Sacred Ground -- for the American Indian, for flute, clarinet, cello and piano" at the Kennedy Center by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with the composer at the piano. Finally, there is the annual Friedheim Competition of the Kennedy Center, devoted this year to new chamber music. The four final contenders are works by composers Robert Erickson, Stephen Hartke, Donald Martino and Gunther Schuller. They will be played and winners will be announced at a concert at the Terrace Theater on Oct. 27.

Here is a chronological breakdown of some of the high points of the fall season: September

Simply because of the National Symphony's absence in Europe, the music season will start more slowly than usual. Today the free weekly Sunday series at the Phillips Collection begins, with the Carnegie Trio. Also this afternoon there will be a benefit by Artists to End Hunger/Washington at the Performing Arts Center of Montgomery College/Rockville. The stars will be soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson and violinist Jody Gatwood.

The television opera season begins on Wednesday, with the Chicago Lyric Opera's version of Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," a widely admired production that will be borrowed by the Washington Opera this season and premiered at the Kennedy Center on Nov. 2, as the second of the three large-scale operas to be done in the Opera House, with Washington baritone J. Patrick Raftery in the title role.

Next Sunday, the 15th, there are three promising events. Pianist Barbara Baily plays at the Phillips. And the Handel/Bach tricentennial picks up again, even though their 300th birthdays were late last winter, as the Glenmont United Methodist Church presents the third of its four-concert festival, with trumpeter Emerson Head, soprano Leela Nowrangi and baritone Robert Young.

And, starting at 2 p.m. next Sunday, there will be a marathon performance of the complete organ works of Ce'sar Franck to conclude a weekend workshop of Franck's organ music on the new 60-rank Casavant organ at the Foundry United Methodist Church.

On Sept. 20, the World Bank inaugurates its fall free lunch-time series with a one-hour concert starting at 12:30 p.m. at Western Presbyterian Church by a 40-voice Italian male chorus, the CORO Stelutis of Bologna.

On Sept. 21, the auspicious chamber series of the Library of Congress begins with the concert by Tafelmusik that features the premiere of Lieberson's "Feast Day." Be reminded that the Library will also be inaugurating its new telephone-only reservation policy.

Also on the 21st, European pianist Richard Clayderman, who became famous with the background music of the film "Chariots of Fire," will make his Washington debut with an 18-piece orchestra at Constitution Hall.

On Sept. 22, Washington Cathedral will have the final concert of its summer series, "Music for High Holy Days," sung by the Shir Chadesh Choral Society.

The annual Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at the Kennedy Center begin on the 23rd, with pianist Malcolm Frager the soloist and music director Riccardo Muti conducting.

At the Kennedy Center on Sept. 27 the WPAS will present a recital by Jose' Feghali, the young pianist who won the 1985 Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth.

The next evening (Saturday the 28th) the Kennedy Center's extensive Terrace Theater series opens with the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble of Sweden playing Telemann, Purcell, Sammartini, Handel and Roman.

On Sept. 29 the Colorado Symphony Orchestra from Denver makes a rare Kennedy Center appearence, under music director Carl Topilow, with jazz pianist Billy Taylor and Charlton Heston narrating Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait." October

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Baltimore Symphony makes its first Kennedy Center appearance under its new music director David Zinman, sponsored by WPAS. All the music is for soloist and orchestra and the soloists are spectacular: Isaac Stern and Peter Serkin.

The next night the National Symphony returns to town and opens the season under Rostropovich, with trumpeter Maurice Andre'. He will play concertos by Haydn and Marcello.

On Oct. 4, the Lindsay String Quartet will be at the Library of Congress, with a particular novelty, Sir Michael Tippett's Quartet No. 1. And the Manchester Music Festival Orchestra opens the Kennedy Center's Fortas Series in the Terrace.

On Oct. 5 the Evelyn Swarthout and Patrick Hayes Piano Series begins with a recital at the Terrace Theater by Margaret Leng Tan. Later that afternoon the Aspen Wind Quintet plays at the Library, with the premiere of the Zappa work. And to top off that day there will be a concert at the Kennedy Center by the great Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam under its music director Bernard Haitink.

On Oct. 6 the Paul Hill Chorale and his Washington Singers start their season with a free concert based on phrases from the Gettysburg Address, at the Wesley United Methodist Church.

On Oct. 8 renowned Wagnerian tenor Siegfried Jerusalem will sing a recital in the Terrace.

On the 9th, Dame Janet Baker is to sing one of her no-doubt typically pristine recitals at the Kennedy Center. On the 10th, the Folger opens its Midday Muse series of luncheon concerts with a program by harpsichordist Geoffrey Thomas. And that evening Rostropovich is to conduct the first performance of the new Sallinen symphony at the Kennedy Center (along with Sibelius' "En Saga" and the Beethoven Second). That same evening Horacio Gutie'rrez will play a piano recital at the Terrace.

On Oct. 11, the Smithsonian Resident Associate series begins at the Departmental Auditorium with the Hanover Band of London, in their North American debut tour, recreating the historic concert of April 12, 1800, at Vienna's Burgtheater when his First Symphony was heard for the first time.

That same evening the Juilliard String Quartet, the Library of Congress resident quartet, opens its season here, with Schubert, Sibelius and Beethoven. Also that evening, the Cleveland Quartet will give the first performance of the new Harbison quartet, at the Corcoran.

On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 12, the Boston Symphony will make its Washington season debut, under music director Seiji Ozawa, at the Kennedy Center, in a program including Copland's "Appalachian Spring," in honor of the composer's 85th birthday.

Also on the 12th the Baltimore Consort gives a preview of its national touring program, "Greensleeves and Other Delights," at the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, and the Montgomery Chamber Orchestra opens its season at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg.

On the 13th at the Kennedy Center, the Dallas Symphony presents the Benjamin Lees symphony. Oct. 16 will bring the Detroit Symphony under its new music director, Gunther Herbig, with soprano Kiri Te Kanawa singing Mozart. That same evening there is the concert of music by Herman Berlinski at the Library of Congress. And the American Composers series at the Terrace Theater opens with the music of La Monte Young.

On Oct. 17 Rostropovich will conduct the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in the Glazonov and Mendelssohn concertos. That night the Juilliard Quartet's program at the Library will include Haydn, Bartok and Beethoven (all Juilliard programs are repeated the following night except for the first week).

On Oct. 18 the Westminster Cathedral Choir sings at the Kennedy Center and the Lanier Trio, led by National Symphony concertmaster William Steck, plays at the Terrace. On the following afternoon the Munich Philharmonic plays at the Kennedy Center under Lorin Maazel. That same afternoon the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center opens its season with a program called "Both Sides of the Channel."

On Oct. 19, the Folger Consort opens its regular series with a program of Renaissance music from Ferrara. On the 20th the Cathedral Choral Society begins its season with "A Tribute to Handel."

Oct. 22 brings the first concert of the season on authentic instruments by the Smithson String Quartet. Misha and Cipa Dichter play a duo-piano recital at the Terrace on the evening of the 22nd. On the 23rd the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center opens its series at the Kennedy Center. And the Emerson String Quartet gives its first concert of the season on Saturday the 26th at the Renwick Gallery. Also on the 26th, the Washington Opera season opens with Mozart's "Don Giovanni," directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, conducted by Daniel Barenboim and with Renato Bruson in the title role.

The next day come the Friedheim Competition finals, as well as the Virginia Chamber Orchestra at The Barns of Wolf Trap with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Also that day, the Smithsonian Chamber Players open their season with "Acis and Galatea" at the University of Maryland Handel Festival.

On Oct. 28 the Contemporary Music Forum starts its season, at the Corcoran. And on Oct. 31st the National Symphony will do the Mahler Second Symphony under principal guest conductor Rafael Fru hbeck de Burgos, with Norman Scribner's Choral Arts Society in its seasonal debut. November

On Saturday, Nov. 2, the 20th Century Consort will open its 10th anniversary celebration with works by contemporary Pulitzer Prize-winning composers -- Albert, Crumb amd Schwantner. The Washington Opera's "Eugene Onegin" debuts that evening. Paul Hill's Washington Singers make their Kennedy Center debut with the music of Copland. The baroque ensemble, Hesperus, opens its season at Georgetown's Gaston Hall. And Itzhak Perlman plays a recital at the Kennedy Center.

On Nov. 4, cellist Aurora Natola-Ginastera plays a program at the Terrace, including two works of her late husband, Alberto Ginastera.

The Vienna Symphony comes to town on the 6th, under the eminent Wolfgang Sawallish. And on Nov. 7 pianist Jeffrey Kahane plays with Fru hbeck and the NSO.

On Nov. 9, the Washington Opera revives its much-respected version of Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera," with the celebrated Sylvia Sass as Amelia. On Nov. 10 Geneva's L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande visits the Kennedy Center. Cellist Frans Helmerson will play with Fru hbeck and the NSO Nov. 14. The Folger Consort will present a program called "The Peace of Bordeaux" on Friday the 15th, the same evening as a Handel Festival concert at the Terrace. That weekend's Theater Chamber Players' program will be called "The Viennese Tradition," with the emphasis on Zemlinsky and Korngold.

On Nov. 20, Washington soprano Chrissellene Petropoulos will sing in the Terrace. And the next night, Dorati returns to the National Symphony. That same evening and the following one, Peter Maxwell Davies' music-theater group "Fires of London" will perform at Lisner.

On Nov. 22 L'Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse will play at the Kennedy Center, and there will be a recital at the University of Maryland by pianist Andre'-Michel Schub and cellist Nathaniel Rosen. On Nov. 23 the Guarneri String Quartet will play at the Terrace. Starting Friday the 29th, Rostropovich will conduct the Penderecki Requiem with the NSO. December

The month opens on the afternoon of the 1st with the annual Rudolf Serkin recital, always one of the year's high points. Sutherland brings "Anna Bolena" on Dec. 6. On Dec. 7 the Boston Symphony returns, presenting the Washington debut of Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist Victoria Mullova. Dec. 18, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns, with a program including Jarrett's "Sacred Ground." And Dec. 28, the Washington Opera's new "Daughter of the Regiment" makes its bow.