Out & About

FENNELLY COLUMN: Opera takes Macon's center stage in Macon

Midstate opera buffs will have not one but two opportunities to indulge their passion in the next two weeks. Opera audiences have been growing in recent years, and this trend has accelerated with the advent of the Metropolitan Opera's innovative program of live HD broadcasts to select theaters. The recent broadcast of "Peter Grimes," which featured local favorite Leah Partridge, has created an additional flurry of interest.

Thus it is perfect timing for a pair of opera productions to show up on the midstate arts calendar. Coming April 3-6 at Mercer University's Fickling Hall is Cavalli's "Egisto," a love story set in mythological times and one of the most popular operas of its era. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.

Then on April 13 at the Grand Opera House, the Central Georgia Opera Guild will host the Asheville Lyric Opera as they perform Rossini's famous comic opera "The Barber of Seville." The exciting new Asheville company, now in its ninth season, tours three productions annually throughout the Southeast.

MUSIC AHEAD Tonight at Little Carnegie of the South, we have the duo of soprano Rebecca Lanning and pianist Tom Rule performing at 8, while those who'd like to see the faces of our musical future should check out the Mercer/Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra concert slated for 5 p.m. Sunday in the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.

Another event that will show off both Macon's handsome downtown churches and some of our enormous local talent is scheduled for Monday evening at St. Joseph Catholic Church. The 7:30 event will feature the Colony IV brass, plus organist Nelda Chapman and timpanist Robert Sumowski.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Cherry Blossom Festival for downtown workers is the opportunity to take in 30-minute noontime organ concerts at Mulberry United Methodist Church. Performers will hail from Atlanta, Athens, Savannah, Macon and Houston, Texas.

CONCERT ASSOCIATION Coming up Tuesday night at Wesleyan College's Burden Parlor is a concert by the Czech Trio (piano, cello and violin). This performance was added to the Macon Concert Association's season when the pianist scheduled for November was unable to perform as a result of difficulties with the immigration authorities. The MCA's final program for the season will be the Meridies String Quartet on April 24.

APRIL THEATER Last weekend was a quiet one for local stages, but that state of affairs will change beginning tonight. Up in Forsyth through April 6, the Backlot Players will be presenting "Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years," a thoroughly delightful play about the reminiscences of two remarkable women. Also on the April calendar are "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (Macon Little Theatre), "Chicago" (Grand Opera House), "The Full Monty" (Theatre Macon) and "Noises Off" (Warner Robins Little Theatre).

PET THAT BASSOON HOUND Today marks the opening of the Museum of Arts and Sciences' "Head to Toe" exhibition (about the human body), while next weekend will bring not only the annual pet show but the Macon Symphony Orchestra's first ever "Instrumental Petting Zoo," complete with live music.

Larry Fennelly can be reached by e-mail at larry.fennelly@maconstate.edu