Theater companies from France, Russia, Poland, Hungary and Italy will highlight Lincoln Center 09, the city's major summer arts festival.

Artists and companies from 14 different countries will perform during the three-week, 56-performance celebration, running July 7-26 at various spaces around the city including the Park Avenue Armory, festival director Nigel Redden has announced.

The armory's vast Wade Thompson Hall will be setting for the festival's opening attraction: the American premiere of Le Theatre du Soleil's "Les Ephemeres," directed by Ariane Mnouchkine and written by the French company. The work depicts the lives of ordinary individuals through various events, from birth to death.

Other theater companies include the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, which will present Alexander Pushkin's "Boris Godunov," directed by Declan Donnellan, and the Maly Drama Theatre, offering an adaptation of "Life and Fate," Vasily Grossman's World War II novel.

From Italy comes Goldoni's 18th-century comedy of manners, "Trilogia della villeggiatura," a joint production of Piccolo Teatro di Milano and Teatri Uniti di Napoli. The trilogy will star Toni Servillo, one of Europe's foremost actors. He will also direct.

Dance will be represented by Israel's Emanuel Gat Dance, which will do "Winter Variations" and "Silent Ballet," which is performed with only the sounds of dancers' movements and no music.

The music events will be wide-ranging. Among the presentations:

_"Tribute to Wardell Quezergue," a salute to the New Orelans songwriter, featuring such artists as Mac Rebennack, Michael Hurtt, Jean Knight and Tammy Lynn.

_"A Night in the Maghreb," a celebration of North African music featuring Algeria's Idir and Morocco's Najat Aatabou.

_Pianists Dennis Russell Davis and Maki Namekawa performing four-hand, two-piano works including a piece by Philip Glass.

Tickets for all events go on sale March 13.

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