So much for the notion of the Kennedy Center as an fusty old institution. Among the more than 2,000 performances planned for 2015-2016 is a season-opening, multidisciplinary skateboarding festival, complete with specially constructed skating area in the center’s grounds. Local bands will get in on the act, too.
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As for more traditional fare, Washington National Opera, a resident company at the Kennedy Center, will present its long-delayed production of the complete “Ring” Cycle for the first time, directed by company artistic director Francesca Zambello.
Dubbed the “American Ring” due to Zambello’s incorporation of American mythology, the full cycle will be performed in April and May 2016, with a cast that includes the sensational soprano Nina Stemme.
The company will also offer its first Philip Glass opera — the premiere of the revised version of his “Appomattox,” with a new second act that takes the action from the Civil War to the 1960s civil rights movement.
Kurt Weill’s “Lost in the Stars,” featuring the majestic Eric Owens, will be another WNO premiere. The season also includes “Carmen” and “Hansel and Gretel.”
The National Symphony Orchestra, which will spend part of next season touring Europe (including the Polish birthplace of music director Christoph Eschenbach), will introduce a new 9 p.m. concert series called “Declassified” that promises “a mix of classic and modern sounds,” not to mention “dynamic multimedia.” Audiences can eat and drink in the hall during these performances, which will feature such artists as singer/songwriter Ben Folds and violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.
A new series on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. will also debut next season.
The NSO also will premiere Tobias Picker’s Concerto for Orchestra and a work by Sean Shepherd written for violinist Leila Josefowicz. Mahler symphonies are on the schedule too, continuing an exploration of the composer’s music that started this season.
The theater season at the Kenendy Center will include touring productions of such current Broadway hits as “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” “Matilda the Musical,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Kinky Boots.” A less-successful musical that nonetheless found admirers, “The Bridges of Madison County,” is also on the schedule, along with the evergreen “Phantom of the Opera.”
Other Kennedy Center offerings on tap for 2015-2016: collaborations between the center’s director for jazz, Jason Moran, and various artists; KC Jukebox curated by the center’ composer-in-residence Mason Bates; a festival of American string music led by mandolinist Chris Thile; a new work from choreographer Twyla Tharp; visits by the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet and more.
And there will be a festival of Irish arts, including music, dance and theater to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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