Donald’s list: Weekend choices (July 20)

Cambridge choir makes a stop at Fresno’s St. James Cathedral. Plus: It’s the kickoff of California Opera’s summer festival, “Angels in America” hits the big screen, and Inner Ear poetry does its thing at Bitwise.

There are two Thursday evening events this week I want to make sure you know about, so I’m offering this version of “Donald’s List” a little early. Here’s a rundown on promising cultural events for the weekend:

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California tour: The Selwyn College Cambridge choir performs Thursday, July 20, in Fresno.

Cambridge choir

If you love choral music, you don’t want to miss the Thursday performance of the Selwyn College Cambridge choir visiting from England on a West Coast tour. The ensemble sings a concert titled “One Equal Light: A Celebration of European Choral Music” at St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Fresno.

Sarah MacDonald conducts the choir, which is made up 29 singers (16 female and 13 male), who are undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Cambridge. She is the first woman to hold the post of director of music in an Oxbridge Chapel. MacDonald is a longtime friend of Fresno State opera professor Anthony Radford — they were both in the Ontario Youth Choir when he was 20 — and when she knew she was coming on tour to California, she wanted to visit Fresno.

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Sarah MacDonald

Her visit will be a special occasion for the venue as well. The congregation at St James Cathedral has been around since the 19th Century, Radford explains, but underwent a schism about a decade ago where the Episcopal Diocese lost control of the Cathedral. You can read a lot more about the fight here. The issue is resolved now, and the congregations of Holy Family Episcopal Church and St. James have combined, meeting at the cathedral. The visit by the Cambridge choir is the first concert at the newly redefined church, to Radford’s knowledge.

On its California tour, the choir is performing at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and other notable venues, including in Sacramento and San Diego. A little about the program:

It includes repertoire from the European continent and the British Isles by Byrd, Tallis, Bruckner, Rachmaninov, Paul Mealor, and Will Todd. The program will include the first North American performances of a new work, ‘One equal music’, a setting of words by John Donne commissioned especially for the choir from the eminent Scottish composer James MacMillan.

Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, July 20, St. James Episcopal Cathedral, 4147 E. Dakota Ave. Tickets are $10 at the door. CDs will be available for purchase.


Opera kickoff

Even with the demise of Fresno Grand Opera, the art form still thrives in Fresno, thanks to the California Opera Association’s annual arts and education festival. Each year artistic director Edna Garabedian brings together advanced students and professionals for an intensive learning experience along with public events.

This year’s festival kicks off Sunday, July 23, with the “Festival Artists Showcase” in the Fresno Art Museum’s Bonner Auditorium. Here’s a description:

International opera artists perform their signature arias and musical favorites from around the world introducing the festival’s fairy tale opera theme, including highlights of “Hansel and Gretel,” Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera, arranged for children, narrated in English.

The festival always concludes with a fully staged opera production at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre. “La Cenerentola” will be performed Aug. 4 and 6.

Details: “Festival Artists Showcase,” 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. 1st St. Admission is free. For other events in the festival, click here.


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‘Angels in America’

Here’s another British cultural connection: If you can’t make it to London to see the entirely sold-out run of “Angels in America” at the National Theatre, you can do the next best thing and watch it on the big screen at Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 & Imax. The first part, “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches,” will be broadcast on Thursday, July 20 with the second part, “Angels in America: Perestroika,” broadcast the following Thursday, July 27.

The cast includes Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane.

Details: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20, Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 & IMAX. Tickets are $24.


Inner Ear

microphoneIf it’s the third Friday of the month at Bitwise South Stadium, it must be time for the “Inner Ear presents: The Beat Down Competitive Poetry Slam.” Hosts Bryan Medina and Shane “Scurvy” Spears have planned another “fun-filled night of deep thoughts, hardy laughs, and intriguing stories as new DJ, Hip-Hop Love, provides the tunes and familiar sounds.”

Details: 7:30-10 p.m. Friday, July 21, Bitwise South Stadium, 700 Van Ness Ave. $5 to watch, $5 to slam.


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Author: Donald Munro

Covering the arts in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

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