“The Crucible,” of course, is Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic play about the Salem witchcraft trials, but it can also be read as a searing allegory about McCarthyism or more generally mass hysteria in times of political unrest. The new production is set in a post-World War II small town that “feels eerily close to our own.”
Highlights for this busy weekend include “Guys and Dolls” (a collaboration between Fresno Pacific University and the Selma Arts Center), a concert for all proud band geeks, the not-to-miss StageWorks Fresno cabaret, and the tantalizingly titled play “Nana’s Naughty Knickers.”
‘Guys and Dolls’
You know her as a powerhouse actress who last gave us a walloping Hedda Gabler. Now Brooke Aiello, an adjunct theater professor at Fresno Pacific University, is making her directorial debut with “Guys and Dolls.”
For the first time, the university is collaborating with the Selma Arts Center for a one-weekend run of a musical. The production includes students, community members and a special guest artist: professional actor Chris Carsten. (He just happened to play opposite Aiello in last summer’s New Ensemble production of “Hedda Gabler”). He will play a cameo as Arvide Abernathy, who sings the touching song “More I Cannot Wish You.”
You can catch up with the interview on the clip below, starting at about the 4:40 mark and going through to about the 12:00 mark. Fox (who calls himself an ASQ “groupie”) tells us a little background about the quartet, and also fills us in on Keyboard Concerts (which later this month is bringing noted pianist Jeremy Denk to Fresno, on April 27). And Fortner fills us in on Orpheus, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. (Along with the ASQ special event, Orpheus is planning a big concert on April 29.)
Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 general, $18 seniors, $5 students.
Win tickets: I’m giving away a pair of tickets to Sunday’s concert to a lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us why you’d like to hear the Alexander String Quartet. Deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Saturday. I’ll pick a winner at random.
At the top of my list for promising events this weekend are two prominent arts offerings — and one so-cute-it-barks dog event, just for the heck of it: The Orpheus chamber ensemble offers “Four Centuries of Beautiful Music” in a Friday night concert at Fresno State. The annual Danzantes Unidos Festival’s Showcase Concert Series features more than 40 Mexican folk dance groups from across the U.S. with a variety of weekend events.
And don’t forget a celebration of puppies on Friday at Bitwise.
Here’s a roundup:
In just 90 minutes, you’ll be able to travel through the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. “Four Centuries of Beautiful Music” features the talents of pianist Christoper Guerrerio, flutist Teresa Beaman, violinists John Morrice and Cynthia Stuart, cellist Nancy Skei and accordionist Daniel Cantrell.
You can win tickets to Sunday’s Fresno Philharmonic concert. Plus: “Bullets Over Broadway” opens in Visalia, and Ethan Bortnick performs live at the Tower Theatre
I have three promising weekend picks for you. They are the Fresno Philharmonic’s “Virtuoso Orchestra” concert (to which you can win a pair of tickets; for details, see below); the Central Valley premiere of the musical “Bullets Over Broadway” at Visalia’s College of the Sequoias; and a special performance by PBS star Ethan Bortnick with a select group of singers from the Bach Children’s Chorale. Read on:
Most of the time, a different stellar guest artist joins the Fresno Philharmonic at each concert for a solo performance. But for its next concert (3 p.m. Sunday, March 18), the orchestra is turning to one of its great talents within: concertmaster Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio.
“The Virtuoso Orchestra” will showcase Sant’Ambrogio performing Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” and Foss’ “Three American Pieces.” The program also includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 83 (“The Hen”) and Ginastera’s “Variaciones concertantes.”
In 2016 I did an interview with Sant’Ambrogio (here’s a link to the Fresno Bee story), who has been concertmaster in Fresno since 2010, and after talking with her, I came away even more impressed. After graduating from Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music, she landed a spot in the famed Cleveland Orchestra at age 24, then went on to become reigning concertmaster at the San Antonio Symphony for 13 years.
Options include the chamber group Moment Musical, the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, a memorial concert for Fresno State’s Brad Hufft, an artists reception at Arte Americas, and the final performance of ‘Sherlock Holmes’
Arts picks for a busy cultural weekend:
The chamber group Moment Musical presents its latest “Sunday Serenade” concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 50 E. Santa Ana Ave., Fresno.
The program includes Paul Wranitzky’s Sextet No. 3 in E flat major written for flute, oboe, violin, two violas and cello.
Also on the program: Antonin Dvorak’s Terzetto in C major (for two violins and viola); and Camille Saint-Saens’ Fantasie in A major (for violin and harp).
Options include an art song festival at Fresno State; and new theater productions in Reedley and Hanford
Here’s roundup of promising openings this weekend:
Focus on vocals
Art Song lovers, unite. Maria Briggs, a voice professor, has organized the first Fresno State Art Song Festival, which she’s calling “On Wings of Song.” The festival features a number of master classes and guest instructors. Here are three public highlights:
• On Friday, Feb. 23, Briggs offers a recital (7 p.m., Wahlberg Recital Hall).
• On Saturday, Feb. 24, there will be a student showcase recital and presentation of the “best singer” award (4 p.m., Concert Hall).
• Also on Saturday, guest faculty artist Vladimir Chernov of UCLA will give a recital (6 p.m., Concert Hall).
Briggs says that she started the festival because that while there are several opera programs locally, there is no current platform to showcase and enjoy the Art Song.
Picks include Fresno State and Fresno City College choirs, a scrappy version of “King Lear” and a chance to see the Oscar-nominated short films at Fresno Filmworks
Some promising options for a busy weekend:
‘Walk in Peace’
This sounds like a beautiful event: The choirs of Fresno State and Fresno City College collaborate on the concert “Walk in Peace,” which celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King and Black History Month. Fresno State’s Cari Earnhart and Fresno City’s Julie Dana conduct. Guest artists include Mike Dana, Richard Giddens and members of the Fresno State Jazz Ensemble.
If you’re a fan of choral music, this is a chance to hear two strong collegiate music programs for the price of one!
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $5.
Just three performances of the Shakespeare classic remain in Theatre Ventoux’s run. This taut adaptation, directed by Broderic Beard and starring Greg Taber in the title role, runs just 105 minutes including intermission.