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Kennedy Center Announces New Season

The Kennedy Center has a shiny new Web site to go with its new president. Earlier this week, Washington's leading cultural institution announced its new season, marked by a desperate, rather pathetic grab for more popular programming, but there is relatively little new of interest to readers of Ionarts.

For this Wagnerian at least, top billing goes to the long-awaited debut of Washington National Opera's first complete staging of the Ring cycle (April 30 to May 22, 2016). We have already reviewed three of the four operas in Francesca Zambello's American-themed staging, but the chance to see the whole cycle with Philippe Auguin at the podium and, as Brünnhilde, Catherine Foster (Cycles I and II) and Nina Stemme (Cycle III) makes this the highlight of the season to come. If you need to find me during that month, I will probably be in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Adding the premiere of a major revision of Philip Glass's Appomattox is another positive, while the Return of the Musical, with the Lost in the Stars I found so tedious at Glimmerglass, is a decided negative.

The National Symphony Orchestra's season has a few high points, starting with Donald Runnicles at the podium and soprano Olga Peretyatko singing Strauss's Four Last Songs (October 1 to 3); Christoph Eschenbach conducting Mahler's third symphony, with Anne Sofie von Otter as soloist (November 5 to 7); and Jiří Bělohlávek leading Martinů's sixth symphony, plus Igor Levit as soloist in Beethoven's fifth piano concerto (November 19 to 21). Interesting world premieres include Tobias Picker's Concerto for Orchestra (March 10 to 12, 2016) and Sean Shepherd's violin concerto (June 2 to 4, 2016). The speculation about the successor to Christoph Eschenbach will continue, something that will increase with each guest conductor's appearance.

On the Fortas Chamber Music series, we look forward to the Tallis Scholars (December 3), eighth blackbird (March 7, 2016), and the Takács Quartet (April 20, 2016) -- dotted amid a bunch of crossover acts that do not interest us. On the theater season, Belgium's Ivo van Hove will direct a production of Sophocles's Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche (October 22 to 25). The ballet season will feature visits from the Joffrey Ballet (Nutcracker), the National Ballet of Canada (The Winter's Tale), American Ballet Theater (The Sleeping Beauty), the Mariinsky Ballet (Raymonda), New York City Ballet, and the Royal Swedish Ballet (Juliet and Romeo). Contemporary dance is also heavy on the usual suspects: Alvin Ailey, Ronald K. Brown, Paul Taylor, plus the 50th anniversary of Twyla Tharp's company (November 11 to 14).

Beyond these highlights, it looks like Ionarts will be reporting somewhat less from the Kennedy Center next season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it unacceptable that the Kennedy Center did not display the details of each concert on their web site, as they did in the previous years. Is this the change that Deb Rutter is bringing, i.e. less transparency?