The logical combination of dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and choreographer Mark Morris has surfaced in Jacksonville, Fla. There on the White Oak Plantation of Howard Gilman, head of Gilman Paper, the two rehearsed the seven dancers of the White Oak Project for a 3-week, 17-city national tour, consisting mostly of one-night stands, now going on. (Opening night was at the Wang Center in Boston on Oct. 23.) The repertory consists of five choreographies by Morris.Both superstars have uncertain futures. The Monnaie Dance Group/Mark Morris may be out of work at the expiration in June 1991 of the company's 3-year contract with the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. And Baryshnikov, with no company to direct and after several injuries, in unlikely to return to classical ballet full time.
- TENOR PLACIDO DOMINGO, artistic consultant to the Los Angeles Opera, will also advise the 1992 Universal Exposition in Seville, Spain.
At Expo '92, one of the main cultural highlights will be the production of every opera set in Seville - seven total, including "Carmen," "The Marriage of Figaro," "The Barber of Seville" and "Don Giovanni."
Opera companies scheduled to perform in Seville include the Met, Milan, Florence, Dresden, Stockholm, Vienna, maybe Los Angeles or Paris; also symphony orchestras from London, Vienna, Leningrad, Israel and Pittsburgh, among other places.
Productions will be in the new Maestranza Theater, now under construction but scheduled to open in spring 1991.
- THE ORIGINAL D`OYLY CARTE OPERA shut down in 1982, but the new D'Oyly Carte is alive and well, thanks to the D'Oyly Carte Opera Trust. Also, upon her death in 1985, Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte, granddaughter of founder Richard D'Oyly Carte, left a bequest of about $2 million "specifically to restart the company," said Michael Bishop. He now heads the company and is also chairman of British Midland Airways, which annually matches income from the trust fund.
This year's restagings include "HMS Pinafore" and "Trial by Jury," but Bishop has plans to diversify. "I think there is a place in Britain for us to become the national light opera company," he said. In January the D'Oyly Carte will leave London for a permanent base in Birmingham.
- DANCE COMPANIES: Dance Theatre of Harlem is again concertizing, thanks to some generous gifts that have put it in the black. Since the company suspended operations in April 1990, $1 million grants have come from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and American Express, which gave an extra $250,000 in marketing aid as well . . . Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet became Birmingham Royal Ballet when it moved from London to that city in August. The company will dance at Birmingham's famed Hippodrome, including several Balanchine works in its opening season. It will continue to dance inLondon at Both Sadler's Wells Theater and the Royal Opera House . . . Colorado Ballet and Tampa Ballet have dissolved their 3-year alliance, in which each company paid for half a 30-week season and shared dancers and artistic personnel. Artistic growth and possibility of longer seasons in both communities made greater independence desirable . . . Twenty American dance companies have been awarded a total of $400,000 under the 1990 composer-choreographer project of Meet the Composer, for commissioning fees and related music costs. The range of grants includes $30,000 for Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet and $18,000 for the Berkshire Ballet of Pittsfield, Mass. The largest sum, $40,000, goes to the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. of New York.
- THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM is hosting through December a major exhibition, "Titanic!" recalling the 1912 sinking of a symbol of maritime luxury and disaster.
The exhibition is drawn from the collections of Northern Ireland's Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, and other collections in Liverpool, Southampton and Northern Ireland. It features original designs, ship plans, artifacts, newspaper clips, recordings, newsreels, music and models relating to the famous vessel's maiden and only voyage.
The exhibition also will be seen next year at the University of California at Fullerton and at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Conn.
- ENGLAND'S ROYAL OPERA opened in September with "Turandot" and financial insecurity. The company will have a $9.45 million deficit at the end of the season, despite a government subsidy that amounted to $28.3 million this year.
Conductor Colin Davis was presented with the Royal Opera's silver medal, marking his 25th year at Covent Garden.
- FREDERICA VON STADE's husband and voice coach will not receive a divorce settlement from her, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court ruling. Peter Elkus, 50, argued that he was entitled to a portion of von Stade's earnings because of the sacrifices he made during their 17-year marriage to further her career.
However, the judge ruled that the Metropolitan Opera mezzo's stardom is not a marital property that should be equitably distributed between her and her husband.
- A FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT EXHIBITION now on tour will be duplicated for Japan.
The exhibit, "Frank Lloyd Wright: In the Realm of Ideas," recently completed a showing in San Diego, then returns to Scottsdale in December and will go to a recently authorized ninth city - Madison, Wis. - minus Wright's Usonian Automatic House.
A duplicate exhibition including one of the Usonian houses will be produced and presented in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. "Usonian" stands for Wright's vision of a Utopian United States.
- WHY DOES TONY BENNETT think Italians are the world's most creative artists and musicians?
"Italians have it in their genes," he says. "When it comes to the creative eye, the creative feeling, the soul of things, they feel free to express their creativity."
Bennett should know. He revived his recording career in the '80s, bringing the total of his albums to 91, and also became a widely recognized painter.