Kennedy Center's 2014-2015 season includes premieres, celebration of Iberian culture

Kennedy Center's 2014-2015 season includes premieres, celebration of Iberian culture
(Margot Schulman)

The Kennedy Center's 2014-2015 season will feature a celebration of arts from the Iberian peninsula, along with the premiere of a Degas-inspired theater work, and, as usual, a wide assortment of music and dance events.

The center's two major affiliate organizations will contribute to that range.


Washington National Opera plans to introduce two works to its repertoire -- Daniel Catan's "Florencia in the Amazon," one of the most successful new works of the past 30 years, and Francis Poulenc's 1957 masterpiece "Dialogues of the Carmelites," both directed by the company artistic director Francesca Zambello.

Rounding out the WNO season will be Rossini's "Cenerentola," Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" (with Eric Owens in the title role), Puccini's "La Boheme" (new production directed by Jo Davies), and the company premiere of "The Little Prince" by Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright.

As part of the company's American Opera Initiative, the season also offers the premiere of "Penny" by Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg.

Premieres are also featured in the National Symphony Orchestra's 2014-2015 lineup, including the first U.S. performances of works by Wolfgang Rihm and Matthias Pintscher.

The NSO season also offers the Fifth and Ninth symphonies by Mahler, the beginning of a multi-year exploration of that composer by music director Christoph Eschenbach. The conductor also will focus on Tchaikovsky next season with several programs covering well-known and infrequently programmed works.

Also scheduled is music by Penderecki and Busoni (the mammoth Piano Concerto with soloist Garrick Ohlsson); and, in conjunction with the center's Iberian festival, several composers from, or influenced by, Spain (Eschenbach and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos will share the podium).

On the theater side, the season offers the premiere of the musical "Little Dancer" by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, "loosely based on the creation of one of Edgar Degas' most renowned sculptures." A pre-Broadway revival of the Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe musical "Gigi," in an adaptation by Heidi Thomas, is also on the schedule.

Touring productions of "Evita," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Once" are due at the center, along with a return engagement for "The Book of Mormon."

On the dance front: The Royal Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, and several other companies.

The center's main festival, "Iberian Suite: arts remix across continents," will feature a multi-genre sampling of artists and ensembles from Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil and more.

This is the last season announced by Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser, who, after more than a decade at the helm, is heading to the University of Maryland to run the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. His successor, Deborah F. Rutter, who starts in September, said she is looking forward "to working with the Kennedy Center's talented and hard-working staff in bringing this exciting season to the stage."