The season of joy has passed, and the more somber season of review is upon us. In arts and entertainment, 1996 was marked by many a going (Horn & Horn lunchroom, Shakespeare on Wheels, the announcement of David Zinman's departure) and an important staying (the Lucas Collection). Bad guys (Jack Valenti with his Hollywood-friendly TV ratings system) were as likely to make news as angels (John Travolta in "Michael"), and personalities (the Michael Jackson marriage saga) got more attention than performances (Alanis Morissette's best-selling album). Here's a closer look at the year's highlights and low lights, courtesy of The Sun's critics.
Most important departure: David Zinman's resignation as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra effective at end of next season
Most important arrival: Placido Domingo takes over the helm at Washington Opera and produces a stunning revial of "Il Guarany."
Most depressing sign for the arts: Declining CD sales and attendance at symphony and chamber music concerts
Most encouraging sign for classical music: Opera attendance up by more than 10 percent nationally
Most over-hyped local musical event: William Bolcom's world premiere of "Gaea," his piano concerto for two left hands for Leon Fleisher and Gary Graffman
Most impressive concerto performance: Angela Hewitt plays Beethoven's First with BSO and Zinman.
Most impressive recital: Pianist Dubravka Tomsic at the University of Maryland at College Park
Most impressive chamber music concert: The Moscow Conservatory Trio performances of trios by Shostakovich and Beethoven
Most impressive opera performance: Washington Opera's "Cosi Fan Tutte"
Most impressive concert: Mariss Janssons leads Berlioz' "Symphony Fantastique" with the BSO.
Pub Date: 12/29/96