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Your weekend arts forecast: Double-bill opera, artists talk shop

Bill DeYoung



Susan Hellman Spatafora, left, stars as "Suor Angelica," and SeungHyeon Baek is "Gianni Schicchi," in St. Pete Opera's double bill. Photos by Jim Swallow/Packinghouse Gallery.

The St. Petersburg Opera Company opens a three-performance run at the Palladium Theater Friday (May 17). Each show is a double bill of two one-act opera by the Italian Giacomo Puccini – they were written as two-thirds of a triptych, but over the years opera companies tended to drop one of the operas due to time restrictions – making it two out of three, which, as Meat Loaf reminds us, ain’t bad.

In any case, none of the operas are linked thematically, or in any other way. The SPO program includes the tragedy Suor Angelica – set in convent, with an all-female cast. Singing the title role (“Sister Angelica”) is Susan Hellman Spatafora, whose powerful yet tender soprano has made her a perennial favorite with local audiences.

Second on the bill is Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi, about a duplicitous lawyer and the havoc he wreaks on a greedy family. The lead role is played by baritone SeungHyeon Baek, a native of South Korea. Schicchi includes one of Puccini’s most famous arias, “O mio babbino caro,” sung in this production by soprano Stephanie Jabre.

The one-acts open the company’s Puccini Festival; the composer’s Madama Butterfly will wrap up the 13th St. Pete Opera season next month.

Performances are May 17, 19 and 21. Tickets and info here.

Talking about art

Friday at 6 p.m., one of Tampa Bay’s most talented painters, muralist Bekky Beukes, is speaking at the James Museum of Wildlife Art. The South African native will talk about “fear, chaos and resistance.” On her Facebook page, Beukes writes: “I’ll be sharing battle scars while unpacking the subject of ‘FEAR’, the ‘agents of fear’ as I’ve experienced them in my creative process and how fear has become my ‘North’ – look forward to opening this dialogue with all the hearts.”

Tickets are $10 in advance ($7 for members) here; they’ll be $15 at the door.

Take a selfie with Dali himself!

Saturday is The Association of Art Museum Directors’ Art Museum Day, and Florida residents can get into The Dali for  $10 all day (with valid ID), and into the Imagine Museum for free.

Sunday’s 12-2 p.m. Coffee and Collections event at the Imagine Museum features Clearwater glass artist Marlene Rose. Read all about this groundbreaking sculptor (she’s one of the few professional sand-casters in Florida) Friday in the Catalyst. Tickets for Sunday’s event are $15 here.

In the Tully-Levine Gallery, inside the Ars Xchange, artist Fred “Rootman” Woods (you read about him here last week) is giving a Coffee Talk from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; RSVP here.

And now, this

The Florida Orchestra is off again this weekend, but will return May 24-26 with the final Masterworks concerts of Season 51; we’ll have more about Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concert (featuring the concertmaster Jeffrey Melter as soloist) next week.

The Dunedin Music Society and Creative Pinellas have teamed up for a program of music and movement Friday evening. Heed the Bell includes, among other things, the debut of an original composition for cello, flute, percussion and dance by DMS general director Stephen P. Brown. It takes place at 8 p.m. at The Gallery, Pinewood Cultural Park, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo (also known as the headquarters of Creative Pinellas). It’s free, but RSVPs are requested here.

Don’t forget that Broadway and TV star Kristin Chenoweth is at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night. Here’s our interview.

It’s cabaret weekend at American Stage’s Hough Lobby. Blue Roses, the jazzy American Songbook combo featuring singer, pianist and noted author Paul Wilborn and the lovely and talented vocalist Eugenie Bondurant, with Frank Bowman (sax and clarinet) and Matt Cowley (drums) has a new show, Let’s Misbehave, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets here.

Got to see Buyer & Cellar at freeFall this week. Chris Crawford is a Tasmanian devil, channeling seven different people who converse, cajole and interrupt each other. His Streisand alone is worth the price of admission. The one-man comedy continues through June 9.

  • Are you a performing arts space, large, small or in-between, an art gallery, a bookshop or any place where public cultural events take place? Please put us on your email list – we can’t publicize you if we don’t know what (or who) you are! The address is Thanks.
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