A week-long festival, "One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide," will feature MCing, DJing, B-Boying and more. The National Symphony will even get in the act, performing with the rapper Nas.
And you thought the Kennedy Center didn’t have game.
On a more traditional front, Washington’s premiere culture palace will offer the International Theater Festival 2014, with such productions as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by the Bristol Old Vic from England and South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. Companies from Scotland, France, Israel, China and Mexico will participate.
The center will also offer what is billed as the “first major revival since the production’s original 1997 Broadway run” of Henry Krieger and Bill Russell’s “Side Show.”
Washington National Opera, in its first season planned by new artistic director Francesca Zambello, will take note of the 2013 bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner with productions of “La Forza del destino” and “Tristan und Isolde” (with Deborah Voigt).
The East Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick” is also on the schedule, part of the company's renewed commitment to American works. That commitment will be frint-and-center- during the winter season, which includes “The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me,” a family opera by Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori ("Caroline, or Change"), and freshly commissioned 20-minute operas by emerging composers and librettists.
Rounding out the opera season are what Zambello described as "two life-affirming comedies" -- Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.”
(There will be a free preview of the WNO season on May 15 at the center.)
Speaking of opera, National Symphony Orchestra music director Christoph Eschenbach will give a nod to Wagner with Act 3 of “Parsifal” (featuring Thomas Hampson). Strauss will also be saluted -- 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth -- with a concert version of “Der Rosenkavalier” (with Renee Fleming -- one performance only) and excerpts from “Salome” and “Elektra.”
Among other NSO highlights is the orchestra's first performance of Hindemith's "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd," a major and neglected work based on Walt Whitman's poem about the death of Lincoln.
A multimedia piece by Roger Reynolds, “george WASHINGTON,” co-commissioned by the NSO, will also be performed. The NSO’s guest artist list includes the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Mark Elder, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Matthias Goerne.
Dance fans will find the Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New Adventures (performing “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty”), and more.
Renee Fleming will preside over a mini-fest of vocal recitals, master classes and seminars addressing “six distinct styles of American singing.” She will be joined by Lawrence Brownlee, Kim Burrell and others.
This marks the final season planned by Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser, whose decade-plus tenure has been a major boon to the institution and to the region's cultural life.