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Sunday, June 22, 2003
Gala kicks off busy schedule at McCaw

By Melinda Bargreen
Seattle Times music critic

The curtain officially rises on Marion Oliver McCaw Hall Saturday, with an opening night celebration that features singers from Seattle Opera — including soprano Jane Eaglen singing Wagner's aria "Dich, teure Halle" ("Thou beloved hall") — and dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet entertaining the revelers. Among the stars: dazzling dancer Patricia Barker, stellar tenor Vinson Cole, the full PNB company and the Seattle Opera Chorus.

Dressing rooms and their restrooms have widened door openings, so that performers in period costumes (such as massive court dresses and hoop skirts) can maneuver.
The one-hour program features the premiere of a special dedication piece, composed for the grand opening by Northwest native William Bolcom (one of today's most highly regarded composers; his latest opera is "A View From the Bridge").

Guests will stroll about, sipping champagne and admiring the décor; they'll dine and dance on the new stage, explore the backstage areas, and show off their plumage a little (the dress code is "formal evening attire"). Tickets are $300 and $500; the latter gets you better seats, and access to the "exclusive premiere lounge." Call Ticketmaster at 206-292-ARTS, or visit Ticketmaster.

You won't need any tickets, however, for next Sunday's Community Celebration Day, which offers a full day of activities throughout the building. This free open house, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., lets the whole community in to explore every part of the hall and see performances by singers, dancers, musicians and an Indonesian gamelan orchestra.

Seattle Opera

After that, Seattle Opera moves in for rehearsals and setup for its inaugural production in the house — a new production of Wagner's "Parsifal," a show expected to attract operagoers worldwide. The five-hour production runs Aug. 2-24, and will be accompanied by lectures, two symposia featuring international scholars, "tech talks," and a gala honoring the 20-year tenure at Seattle Opera by general director Speight Jenkins. Asher Fisch conducts "Parsifal," with Christopher Ventris in the title role; staging by Francois Rochaix, and designs by Robert Israel. The Aug. 16 show will be broadcast live over KING-FM (98.1) radio.

Other performances:

"Mourning Becomes Elektra" (Oct. 18-Nov. 1)

"Carmen" (Jan. 10-30, 2004)

"Ariadne auf Naxos" (Feb. 28-March 13, 2004)

"The Girl of the Golden West" (May 8-23, 2004)

For tickets, call 206-389-7676, or visit the Seattle Opera online.

• • •

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet holds a "Fanfare of Feathers" gala in the hall on Sept. 20 (206-441-3597). Next, it presents Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," with new sets by Ming Cho Lee and costumes by Paul Tazewell, Sept. 25-Oct. 5. PNB performed "Swan Lake" last in 1996.

Other performances:

"Beyond Bach" (Nov. 6-16)

"Nutcracker" (Nov. 28-Dec. 28)

"Balanchine Centenary" (Feb. 5-15, 2004)

"The Romantics" (March 18-28, 2004)

"Carmina Burana" (April 15-24, 2004)

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (June 5-15, 2004)

Call 206-441-2424 or visit the Pacific Northwest Ballet Web site for tickets.


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