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Theater Music Dance

March 24, 2005

Mays is `My Own Wife'

I Am My Own Wife, Doug Wright's 2004 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, comes to Washington's National Theatre for a two-week run beginning Tuesday.

Jefferson Mays - well-known to Baltimore theatergoers from eight productions at Center Stage - re-creates his Tony-winning tour-de-force performance in this one-man show about a real-life transvestite German antiques collector named Charlotte von Mahlsdorf who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Besides donning von Mahlsdorf's black dress and pearls, Mays also portrays more than 30 other characters, including the playwright.

The show's tour not only includes a half dozen cities in the United States, but also a stop in Eastern Europe, where it is scheduled to open in Krakow, Poland, immediately after Washington. The Krakow engagement will be greeted by "the first-ever official drag ball in Poland's history," according to Wright.

Show times at the National, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, this Tuesday-April 10. Tickets are $36.25-$71.25. For more information, call 800-447-7400.

- J. Wynn Rousuck

Alexandre Tharaud at An die Musik

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who has won plaudits for his technical strengths and breadth of repertoire, makes his local debut tomorrow on the An die Musik Live series, part of a U.S. tour that includes a sold-out recital for the Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center on Saturday.

A prizewinner at the Paris Conservatoire and several international competitions, Tharaud has built a remarkable discography in the past few years, including the complete solo piano works of Ravel and Chabrier, keyboard pieces by Rameau, and chamber music by Poulenc. His newest release, Concertos Italiens, an all-Bach collection on the Harmonia Mundi label, reveals pianism of exceptional sensitivity, color and depth.

Music by Bach and Rameau will figure on the pianist's Baltimore program.

The recital is at 8 p.m. tomorrow at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. Tickets are $20, $12 for students. Call 410-385-2638.

- Tim Smith

Mirella Freni as Joan

One of the hottest opera tickets in the region this season is likely to be for The Maid of Orleans, Tchaikovsky's rarely encountered work about Joan of Arc. It's not so much the piece itself that is generating the buzz, but the star in Washington National Opera's production - stellar Italian soprano Mirella Freni. At the astonishing age of 70, half a century after her professional debut, she will be singing the title role of the young, sainted French heroine.

Freni, whose creamy tone and keen theatrical instincts earned her great public affection over the decades, added this role to her repertoire a few seasons ago at Italy's Teatro Regio di Torino. That production has been imported by the D.C. company for the occasion of Freni's first U.S. performance as Joan. Joining her in the cast will be Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus. Stefano Ronzani will conduct.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. March 31, 2 p.m. April 3, 7:30 p.m. April 5 and 8, 7 p.m. April 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues N.W., Washington. Tickets are $45 to $290. Call 800-876-7372 or visit www.dc-opera.org.

- Tim Smith

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