A pirate and a violinist

Critic's Choice: Classical Music

April 15, 2001|By Tim Smith

Some events beyond the Baltimore Beltway look particularly enticing this week:

* To mark the centennial of Vincenzo Bellini's birth, Washington Concert Opera will offer a rare performance of the composer's 1827 "Il pirata." Although nothing else that Bellini wrote has had quite the staying power with the public as "Norma," there's a lot to commend "Il pirata," his longest work. The story involves love, jealousy, political allegiance, madness and death -- a typical night at the opera. The music, once championed by Maria Callas, is often sublime.

Nelly Miricioiu, a Romanian soprano noted for her dramatic fire, will head the cast, joined by tenor Bruce Fowler, baritone Franco Pomponi and bass Daniel Sumegi. Stephen Crout will conduct. The unstaged presentation will feature projected English titles.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. April 22 at Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets N.W., Washington. Tickets cost $20-$55. Call 202-364-5826.

* Violinist Elmar Oliveira made headlines in 1978 when he became the first American violinist to win a gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow; he's still the only American so honored. He remains one of the most imaginative fiddlers on the scene, with an impressive technique and an unusually extensive repertoire. His interest in new music is especially strong.

Oliveira will give a recital for the Candlelight Concert Series with pianist Ronald Sat. The program offers sonatas by Mozart, Faure and Elgar, and Ravel's "Tzigane." The performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday at Smith Theatre, Howard Community College, Columbia. Tickets cost $24 for most adults; $18 for seniors, $9 for students. Call 410-715-0034 or 301-596-6203.

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