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Single tickets going on sale for final operas


Single tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday for the Baltimore Opera Company's final two productions of the season, Verdi's "A Masked Ball" in March and Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" in April.

Verdi's opera will be performed at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, March 9, Wednesday, March 13, Friday, March 15, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at The Lyric. Puccini's opera will be presented at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, April 20, Wednesday, April 24 and Friday, April 26 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28.

Singing in "A Masked Ball" will be Stefka Evstatieva, a Bulgarian soprano, as Amelia; Ruben Dominguez, a Venezuelan (replacing the originally scheduled Kristjan Johannsson), as Gustav; American Robert McFarland as Renato; Judy Berry, American coloratura, as Oskar and Mariana Paunova, a Bulgarian, as Ulrica. Tickets are $15 to $70. Call 685-0692.

Other notes and half-notes of interest:

* The Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., will honor Gian Carlo Menotti's 80th birthday this year with 120 music, dance, theater and art productions from May 23 to June 9. Menotti began the festival in 1977, 19 years after he started the original in Italy.

Offerings include the operas, "Maria Golovin" (1958) by Menotti, "The Tales of Hoffmann" by Offenbach and "The Coronation of Poppea" by Monteverdi. For schedules and ticket information, write Spoleto Festival, P.O. Box 157, Charleston, S.C. 29402 or call (803) 722-2764.

* The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has postponed its 20-day February tour in 16 European cities because the Persian Gulf War has resulted in "an impossible situation" of "interminable travel delays due to increased security measures" and "dramatically reduced concert attendance as a result of potential anti-war activity."

Instead of touring Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Austria, the orchestra, led by Leonard Slatkin, will tour the state of Missouri for a month-long series of special concerts leaning heavily on American composers. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra recently postponed its 1992 tour of Europe for economic reasons.

* The Opera Company of Philadelphia has named Robert B. Driver, artistic director of Opera Memphis and the Indianapolis Opera, as new general director, replacing acting general director Jane Grey Nemeth. Driver was picked over 40 candidates and will assume his job now. Danielle Orlando is the company's artistic administrator.

The company is producing Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" Feb. 4 and Feb. 8 and Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" March 11 and March 15 at the Academy of Music. Call 215-557-2205.

* Placido Domingo and others are throwing a big party in Washington's Kennedy Center March 16 for Martin Feinstein's 70th birthday and his 10th year as general director of the Washington Opera. But don't get too worked up -- it's $1,000 a pop for the Terrace Theater opera fund-raiser.

Feinstein has been the catalyst over there. Since he came in 1980, Washington Opera went from four operas a year to seven; from 16 performances to 55 (62 next year) in two theaters, from 30,000 patrons a year to 90,000 and from a box office take of $720,000 to $5 million. Its upcoming "King Arthur" by Handel, "Manon," "The Saint of Bleeker Street" and "Rigoletto" are sold out except for standing room sold in the Hall of Nations on performance days.

* Your first chance since 1975 to hear and see the Bolshoi Opera in the area will be at Wolf Trap Farm Park this summer when the leading company in the Soviet Union performs Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" July 11, 12 and 13 and Rimsky-Korsakov's opera-ballet "Mlada" July 14 and 15. Tickets are $18 to $75. Earlier, between June 25 and July 6, the Bolshoi performs those two and Tchaikovsky's "Maid of Orleans" over 12 days at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

* Music magician Peter Schickele and his fictional creation, P.D.Q. Bach, will be history soon, after 25 years of what Alan Rich of the Los Angeles Daily News calls "an ultimate distillation of the legitimate absurdity that is part of our serious musical heritage."

Rich reminds folks that Schickele's alter ego will call it quits in parodying music after his current tour. Rich asks "Never mind the oil shortage; how will the world survive the loss of P.D.Q. Bach?"

* The 71-year-old Salzburg Festival in Austria and the Cleveland Orchestra are teaming up starting in the summer of 1992 in what's called a first-of-its-kind arrangement with an American orchestra. Appearances by the Cleveland, led by Christoph von Dohnanyi, will be scheduled in 1992, 1994, 1995 (an extended residency) and later, said the festival's new director, Gerard Mortier.

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