The Kimmel's classical season opens on October 12 with the Filarmonica della Scala — the orchestra of Milan's historic opera house, stepping out of the pit and into the spotlight — and conductor Riccardo Chailly. Tenor Ben Heppner will sing arias from Die Walk‹re, G‹tterd‹mmerung and Siegfried; the program also includes Respighi's The Pines of Rome and a suite by Italian composer assembled from his score for the Federico Fellini film La Strada.
Kimmel's Great Orchestras on Tour series features three additional ensembles. Valery Gergiev will conduct the Kirov Orchestra (the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg) in an all-Stravinsky program; Murray Perahia will perform as both conductor and piano soloist with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; the Orchestre National de France, led by Kurt Masur, will appear with young French pianist David Fray.
Next season's recital series at the Kimmel features Kiri Te Kanawa, appearing with pianist Warren Jones as part of her farewell tour; cellist Yo-Yo Ma with pianist Kathryn Stott; and Lang Lang in a solo piano recital.
For his final appearance of the 2007-08 season in the city, Christoph Eschenbach (who departs as Philadelphia Orchestra music director at the end of the season) will put down his baton and turn to the piano for a recital of solo and chamber music in May.
Gillian Weir, Hector Olivera and Todd Wilson will give recitals on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the instrument inaugurated last May with a two-week organ festival.
The Kimmel Center's Fresh Ink series, which focuses on contemporary music, offers four concerts: Ethel (called "the fiercest string quartet this side of hell"); composer Phil Kline and friends (in a program called "Fear and Loathing"); So Percussion (making their Philadelphia debut with a program featuring David Lang's The So-Called Laws of Nature); and pianist Christopher O'Riley, performing his transcriptions of music by Radiohead, Nick Drake and Elliott Smith.
Also making their Kimmel Center debut are The 5 Browns, the youthful family quintet of pianists from Utah.
On the dance front, Philadanco, the modern dance company in residence at the Kimmel Center, will present both a winter and spring series of performances. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 50th anniversary with three Philadelphia performances in April. The Shen Wei Dance Arts Company returns to the city in February with two local premieres: Map and Re.