Almost like clockwork, Itzhak Perlman returns every other season for a recital. Perlman, above, exists in a different realm from other violinists because he makes it look so effortless. The fluidity and sensitivity of his bowing, the polished warmth of his phrasing, the opulent tone and rock-solid intonation are uncanny. Because he has been performing at such a high level for so many years _ a 1958 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show marked his ascension to stardom as a 13-year-old _ it is perfectly natural to wonder how long Perlman can keep it up, to listen for the suggestion of ennui in his playing, however impeccable the technique. Violin aficionados can judge for themselves when he plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets: $40-$50. (727) 791-7400.
_ JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic