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Your weekend arts forecast: Holiday hits, safely performed

Bill DeYoung



A moment from St. Pete Opera's 2019 production of Holiday Sparkle. Photo by Jim Swallow

One of the highlights of last year’s St. Petersburg Opera Company season was the show called Holiday Sparkle, a musical celebration combining opera and secular music with dancing, humor and Christmas tree-scented frivolity. Performed with a live chamber orchestra, it was bright and fun and indeed quite sparkly, and played for eight sold-out shows at Opera Central.

A version of Holiday Sparkle returns this weekend and next, albeit in a reduced Covid-era costume. Featuring five of the original nine 2019 singers, accompanied by Teresa Ancayo on piano, the show is performed at 4 p.m. Sunday outside on the Straub Park grass by the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Admission to this “Popera” is pay-what-you-can.

On Dec. 18 and 19, Holiday Sparkle moves to Cage Brewing, with covered outdoor seating (socially distanced, of course), food and drink available for purchase, and restrooms. Capacity for each Cage Brewing show is 50 persons; tickets are here.

The Florida Orchestra

Enrico Lopez-Yañez conducts The Florida Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concerts this weekend, in five performances (including two matinees) at the Mahaffey Theater. Siri Howard on vocals is part of the reduced-ranks orchestra this year. Only seats in pairs are being sold during these safety-conscious times. All information, and tickets, can be found here.

freeFall Theatre

On Friday, freeFall Theatre’s unique “drive-in” production of A Christmas Carol In Concert begins. Dickens’ story is narrated, with typical pith and charm, by Matthew McGee. As illustrations appear on giant video screens, four live singers – Heather Baird, Eric Davis, Sara DelBeato and Jonathan Harrison -take the stage to interrupt and interact with the tale. The songs are from a Christmas Carol adaptation by Keith Ferguson and Bruce Greer.

Friday in the Catalyst: A conversation with Sara DelBeato; meanwhile, tickets are available here.

The Factory First Look and Makers Market

Saturday finds Keep St. Petersburg Local at The Factory St. Pete, 2622 Fairfield Ave S., with a 40-vendor Makers Market – all local stuff, of all varieties, being sold for your gift-purchasing pleasure. All tables are safely spread 10 feet apart. It’s part of the day’s “first look” at The Factory, which the Catalyst wrote about Wednesday. Hours for the Makers Market are 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

(Your truly will be there, representing the Catalyst and St. Petersburg Press, taking pre-orders for our coming-soon Vintage St. Pete: The Golden Age of Tourism – and More book. Stop by and say hello.)

Second Saturday ArtWalk

The monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk takes place Saturday. It is, as it has been for these past few months, not a linear, trolley-driven tour of galleries and studios. Click here for a downloadable list of Second Saturday vendors who’ll be looking forward to seeing you during the day, in the Central Arts District, EDGE District, Grand Central District, Warehouse Arts District and downtown Waterfront Arts District.

And still more

At thestudio@620, writer and playwright Sheila Cowley’s collaborative film Happy New Year premieres during the Saturday ArtWalk, 2-8 p.m. Works by artists Carrie Jadus, Ana Maria Vasquez and Tony Wong Palms, who are all seen in the film, are currently on view in the 620’s art gallery. RSVPs and masks are required for the free events; all details are here.

American Stage’s world premiere of playwright Jerry Montoya’s Nostros La Gente (We the People) continues virtually this weekend with pre-recorded performances; the next and final “live” streaming show is Dec. 17. Details are here.

Ruth Eckerd Hall’s small-capacity concert series continues with Classic Albums live doing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours Friday, a solo performance from country star Travis Tritt Saturday, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Sunday. Tickets here.


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