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classical performances, gala events

Spring strikes a festive note in classical arts organizations as they add galas and special events to their line-up of concerts before taking their customary summer break.

New Orleans Opera closes its season with a powerhouse drama, “Der fliedengre Hollander,” Richard Wagner’s stormy saga of the Flying Dutchman. The production takes place March 19 and 21 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts and features Evegeny Nikitin as the doomed Dutchman and Lise Lindstrom as Senta, the woman who can save him only if she sacrifices her own life.

Those who like their music a little lighter can take in one of the Opera on Tap concerts. These free, 90-minute shows feature opera arias, Broadway tunes and other popular music and have drawn standing-room-only crowds, opera spokeswoman Janet Wilson says. Two remain: March 3 at The Inn on Bourbon and March 10 at The Rusty Nail.
Dancers from such elite corps as the New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre will grace the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater  on April 17 for the New Orleans Ballet Association’s 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala des Etoiles. The program of classical and contemporary ballet masterpieces will be followed by an elegant dance and dinner honoring E. Ralph Lupin, Henri Hall and Cecile Gibson, who will join Phyllis Taylor as ballet association Lifetime Board Members.

Musicians and audiences alike have had a boost from the orchestra’s first full season at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, says Babs Mollere, the LPO’s managing director. But the Louisiana Philharmonic continues to perform in plenty of other venues around town and on the north shore; spring brings concerts in New Orleans’ City Park, Bogue Falaya Park in Covington and Heritage Park in Slidell.

Upcoming concerts touch on just about every musical taste and include the spicy Pan-American Life Sinfonica (March 6 at the Mahalia Jackson), featuring nine-time Grammy winner Paquito D’Rivera; and a visit by Klauspeter Seibel, who serves as principal guest conductor for a March 25 concert that includes Brahm’s Symphony No. 4. The orchestra ends its year with a symphonic rock offering, The Music of Pink Floyd, led by guest conductor Brent Havens.

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