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Kennedy Center's 2009-2010 season has Russian accent

The Kennedy Center announced Tuesday a typically wide-ranging lineup for the 2009-2010 season, including the start of a two-year festival of Russian arts; the first concert by National Symphony Orchestra music director-designate Christoph Eschenbach since the announcement his appointment last year; a showcase of works in a variety of genres by people with disabilities; a festival of Terrance McNally plays with operatic themes; and a production of the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire starring Cate Blanchett and by directed by Liv Ullman.

For music fans, the big news of the "Focus on Russia" fest is the visit by the Mariinsky Opera (also still popularly known as the Kirov Opera) and a production of Prokofiev's gargantuan War and Peace, conducted by Valery Gergiev (right).

There will be concert versions of Eugene Onegin and Boris Godunov as well, not to mention performances by the Mariinsky Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet.

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The NSO will contribute to the Russian theme with such guest artists as pianist Evgeny Kissin, violinist Vadim Repin and cellist Mischa Maisky.

Speaking of the NSO, Eschenbach (left) will conduct Verdi's Requiem. Other artists who will be on the orchestra's podium next season include NSO principal conductor Ivan Fischer, former NSO music director Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel (his program includes a work for narrator and orchestra he has composed), composer/conductor John Adams, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and Andrew Litton.

Soloists of note on the NSO roster: tenor Ben Heppner, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Joshua Bell, pianists Nelson Freire, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Lang Lang. The orchestra's programming covers a fairly broad sampling of repertoire, from Bach's B minor Mass to Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and Bartok's The Wooden Prince.

In addition to the Russian companies, the Kennedy Center's dance offerings include appearances by American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Danced Theater and Suzanne Farrell Ballet. There will be a gospel music series and the return of Barbara Cook Spotlight, a series featuring Broadway performers.

BALTIMORE SUN FILE PHOTOS

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