THE BOSTON POPS ESPLANADE ORCHESTRA, led by conductor John Williams, embarks on a 10-concert tour of Japan on Nov. 23. The group (distinct from the Boston Pops) will present concerts in Osaka, Shizuoka, Yokohama, Tokyo, and Nagoya. WORKS BY ANSELM KIEFER will be exhibited by the Art Institute of Chicago, starting Dec. 5. This will be the first American retrospective exhibition of works of this contemporary German artist. The show includes paintings, sculpture, books, and photography, as well as watercolors. KEITH BARISH, producer of ``Sophie's Choice'' and other films, has been named Producer of the Year by the National Association of Theatre Owners. Barish movies due for release this season include ``Ironweed,'' with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep under Hector Babenco's direction, and ``The Running Man,'' with Arnold Schwarzenegger, based on a Stephen King novel. VERDI'S OPERA `NABUCCO' will be given a historic outdoor performance next May as part of the Israel Festival in Jerusalem. The opera, directed by Vittorio Rossi, will take place at the Sultan's Pool, an 7,700-seat amphitheater near the site of the opera's story. Michel Plasson will conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Singers include Grace Bumbry, Renato Bruson, and Ingvar Wixell.