Best Of This Week

July 13, 2008

Classical

BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : 8 p.m. Thursday. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $25 to $60. Call 410-783-8000 or go to bsomusic.org.

Tchaikovsky's music, with its passionate melodies and vivid instrumental coloring, seems to go particularly well with the heat of summer. Orchestras almost everywhere can be counted on to turn on the Tchaikovsky at this time of year, and not just his 1812 Overture, which just got its usual workout on the Fourth of July. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Summer Nights season focuses on the composer this week with a program that includes some of his best-loved works, including the Violin Concerto (with soloist Jennifer Koh, a winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow); the "fantasy overture" Romeo and Juliet; and selections from the ballet Swan Lake. Christian Knapp, whose teachers included former BSO music director Yuri Temirkanov, will conduct.

Tim Smith

Pop

Donna Summer: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Pier Six Concert Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. $52-75. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com.

Although she has long been known as the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer has ventured into various styles over her 33-year recording career, often with dynamic results. She was the first black artist to win a Grammy in the rock category for the 1979 No. 1 smash "Hot Stuff," and her 1980 gold-selling LP The Wanderer is a new wave classic. After a 17-year hiatus from the recording studio, Summer has returned to the pop scene with Crayons. On the CD, she's still mixing styles - from country-pop to sleek electronic dance music - and her full-throttle voice remains a dazzling instrument.

Rashod D. Ollison

TV

Foyle's War : 9 tonight. MPT (Channels 22 and 67).

The first of three final episodes of this lovely series makes its premiere tonight on PBS. When last we visited the seaside community of Hastings, Inspector Foyle (Michael Kitchen) had left the police force. He is still in retirement as tonight's episode begins with his faithful driver, Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks), now serving as his faithful typist as he tries to write a book about police duties during the war.

Foyle is a terrible writer, and Sam's a worse typist. But events quickly lead to a recall to police duty for both of them as World War II winds down.

Faithful fans will be glad to know that the series goes out with honor during its last three weeks. It does not sugarcoat the effects of war one bit, and Foyle never softens in his steely stoicism. The three hours are filled with psychic wounds that are unlikely to ever heal, and yet there is something inspirational about how bravely men and women like Foyle and Sam serve to the bitter end.

David Zurawik

DVD

The Bank Job : Available Tuesday. Arclight Films. DVD: $29.95; Blu-ray and special edition: $34.98.

This tense, gritty heist picture boasts a grand, fact-inspired gimmick. We're in swinging England, 1971. To defuse or destroy blackmail photographs of Princess Margaret cavorting in the Caribbean, a slick British secret agent, Tim Everett (Richard Lintern), devises a cocky plan.

He coerces a Cockney beauty in a jam, an ex-model named Martine Love (Saffron Burrows), to get a crew of her old friends and local "villains" to rob a Lloyd's Bank in central London.

That's where Michael X (Peter De Jersey), a fake revolutionary and genuine racketeer, has stashed the photos in a safe-deposit box. Everett compares cracking open that box to the myth of Pandora's box. But it's more like unsealing hundreds of Pandora's boxes, because the bank has been the repository of every dirty little secret held by crooked cops, gangsters and whore-mongering ministers and aristocrats.

This story is a gift that keeps on giving: It exposes all the characters to multiple paybacks and Hydra-headed jeopardy. By the end, it seems a miracle that anyone gets out of this mess alive.

Michael Sragow

Leisure

Play Like a Rock Star : 1 p.m.-6 p.m. today. Power Plant Live!, Market Place and Water Street. Free. Call 443-799-1649 or go to www.plarskids.com.

Families can play Guitar Hero and Rockband, watch mini rock stars (ages 5-14) perform on stage, or enjoy other activities, including a moon bounce and obstacle course. Each of the 35 young "stars," chosen through an audition process, gets to front a rock band and perform one song live. The event also includes a vendor area.

Jennifer Choi

Theater

Richard III : 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 3. At Load of Fun Art Space, 120 W. North Ave. $10-$12. Call 443-844-9253 or go to www.singlecarrot.com.

Single Carrot Theatre, Baltimore's newest troupe of innovative young actors, will end the group's first season by infusing Shakespeare's classic tale of murder, lust and power with hints of Japanese-style movement.

Director J. Buck Jabaily will oversee a cast of eight performers, each of whom will play between one and five roles. The intimacy of the performing space, in which the audience sits close enough to the actors to see their eyelids flutter, also should humanize the Bard's most enigmatic villain.

Not only does Richard III include the horrific murder of the little princes imprisoned in the Tower of London, it also includes one of the most notorious seduction scenes ever written.

Mary Carole McCauley

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