Opera fans: You have a great weekend to look forward to.
The California Opera Association annual arts and education festival gets underway with a concert setting of “Othello” and other Italian opera favorites. And Fresno Grand Opera offers “Gospel on Van Ness,” which will include a chorus and soloists performing gospel and spiritual favorites. And the timing is such that if you want, it’s possible to attend both.
Plus: more music with the African Children’s Choir; and an Oakhurst photographer with an exhibition on Nepal.
Big opera day
California Opera: This annual tradition under the artistic direction of Edna Garabedian returns for another run through Aug. 7. The festival brings together noted guest artists and students eager to make a mark in the highly competitive world of professional opera, and the public performances – all free – are a great, not to mention economical, way to experience live music.
The festival offers several themed weekends, kicking off with the “Othello” concert at the Fresno Art Museum, and culminates in a fully staged opera production, which this year is “Lucia di Lammermoor,” on Aug. 5 and 7 at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis.
Details: “Othello” is 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24, Fresno Art Museum’s Bonner Auditorium, 2233 N. First St. www.californiaopera.org, 559-225-6737. Free, with VIP passes available.
Fresno Grand Opera: The company is branching out with its popular series by adding “Gospel on Van Ness” to the mix. The concert features a special appearance by Keysha Burns, a professional gospel singer, and her jazz quartet; Christopher St. James, who has worked with choirs, groups, praise teams and local ensembles for 30 years; and the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus and soloists.
Details: 5 p.m. Sunday, July 24, First Congregational Church, 2131 Van Ness Blvd. www.fresnograndopera.org, 559-442-5699. $50 reserved, $35 general.
The event: Oakhurst photographer Michael J. Costa’s “Learning To Breathe: Trekking in Nepal” is featured at Stellar Art Gallery in Oakhurst.
The draw: The images Costa captured along the way reflect the people and places he encountered, and the nature of his experience. He writes: “Nothing prepares you for the journey, a rigorous hike starting a 9,000 feet in Lukla, Nepal, and then trekking to the top of Kalla Pathar at an elevation of 18,600 feet.”
Details: Through July 28 at Stellar Gallery, 40982 Highway 41, Oakhurst. Costa will give a special presentation at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 24 (reservations are required and admission is $15 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Nepal earthquake relief). www.stellargallery.com, 559-658-8844. Free.
The event: The African Children’s Choir, which performed for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, is on tour.
The draw: The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional spirituals and gospel favorites. Music for Life (the parent organization) works in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa in development and educational programs. The choir has performed alongside such noted singers as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Michael W. Smith.
Details: The choir performs in two locations Sunday, July 24. It performs 8:15 and 10:50 a.m. at the Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church, 1362 L St, Reedley; and 7 p.m. at Clovis Evangelical Free Church, 2377 Armstrong Ave., Clovis. www.africanchildrenschoir.com. Free with donations welcomed.