You've memorized the CD and seen the movie, but if the Buena Vista Social Club isn't in town when you visit Havana, where do you go for the best Cuban sounds?We asked Juan de Marcos González, a founding member of the BVSC, to lead us on a musical tour. His advice: Pass up the famous Tropicana in favor of pure Afro-Cuban jazz at the Jazz Café (in front of Hotel Meliá Cohiba; 53-7/333-636). Rub elbows with Cuban intellectuals while soaking up the rumba at UNEAC (Calle 17, Vedado; 53-7/324-571). For live salsa, head to Cabaret Parisien (Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Calle 21, Vedado; 53-7/333-564), or try to catch El Dan Den at Café Cantante (Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Paseo y 39, Vedado; 53-7/796-011). Local bands' recordings can be found at Artex(Quinta Avda., Miramar; 53-7/242-741). González's final tip: "Just wander the streets of Old Havana, and you'll stumble across twenty-five Buena Vista Social Clubs."
Where music lives and breathes
Forget Miami and Nashville; never mind South Africa or Brazil. If there's a world capital of music right now, it's Dakar, Senegal. During a single night here, you might catch international pop star Youssou N'Dour singing at his Club Thiossane (10 Blvd. Diirldiop; 221-8/246-046), groove to the Cuban-reggae fusion of Cheikh Lô at Studio 2000 (Rue de Thann; 221-8/239-354), or dance to the Latin-based mbalax rhythms of Thione Seck at Le Sahel (Rte.d'Ouakam; 221-8/212-118). But clubbing is only one way to take in Dakar's rich music scene. On Sunday mornings, the 100-member Chorale of Julian Jouga fills the church of St. Josèphe de Medina (Rte. d'Ouakam; 221-8/224-626) with hymns in Latin, Wolof songs, and Negro spirituals. An hour and a half outside town, the Benedictine monks at the Keur Moussa Abbey (Rte. de Thies, km 50; 221-8/363-309) make gorgeous sounds by melding Gregorian chants with music played on the lute-likekora.
For a behind-the-scenes guided excursion, contact Afropop Tours (888/373-4816; www.afropop.org); last year's itinerary included a visit to N'Dour's studio and a concert by the renowned Baaba Maal.
The new year brings some major changes at Europe's hottest theaters. (64)In London, the Royal Court Theatre—where such Broadway hits as The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Weir originated—reopens this month after extensive renovations. This season sees new works by playwrights Conor McPherson (Dublin Carol) and Martin Crimp (The Country).(65)In Berlin, the venerable Schaubühne theater reopens this month, under the directorship of 31-year-old hotshot Thomas Ostermeier, and produces a new Festival of International Drama in March and April.(66)To celebrate the millennium, the Avignon Festival (July 530) turns its spotlight onyoung directors from Eastern Europe, presenting plays in their native languages with French surtitles. (67)Hannover's EXPO 2000 has the summer's biggest event: legendary director Peter Stein will stage the complete text of Goethe's epic Faust in a 21-hour, two-part production (July 22September 17)—brush up your German!
Where will we find the next great tenor?We checked in with Brian Kellow, executive editor of Opera News. "I love summer in (68)Sweden, where you can hear Mozart at Drottningholm in a theater with eighteenth-century stage machinery; see rare early opera and new works in medieval Vadstena; and attend outdoor performances in Rättvik of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung, staged in a former quarry." Kellow also recommends (69) the Telstra Adelaide Festival in Australia, an international festival of music, theater, and dance, held in March.
Elsewhere, look for changes as two prominent companies will be led by women: Elaine Padmore joinsLondon's Royal Opera, Covent Garden, this month, and Pamela Rosenberg arrives at the San Francisco Opera in 2001. But according to Kellow, "the big question is, Who will succeed Gérard Mortier at the Salzburg Festival when he steps down in 2001?"