Summer is even better when it’s free. This week’s arts picks include Shakespeare, opera and a concert-band performance, and all offer free admission.
The draw: Nine project participants, working with director Julia Reimer, will present selections from “Hamlet” along with original scenes inspired by the play in the 50-minute performance. Themes are love and betrayal, explored through the lens of family. It will be gratifying to see young actors celebrate their newfound appreciation for the Bard.
Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, Woodward Shakespeare Festival Stage, Woodward Park. www.woodwardshakespeare.org, 559-927-3485. Free. $5 per car park entry applies.
Cal Opera continues
The events: Now in its second weekend, the annual California Opera arts and educational festival offers a couple of the intimate performances for which it’s known: a “Festival Artists Showcase” and a fully staged double feature of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Telephone” and “The Medium.”
The draw: Both performances are in the newly renovated Bonner Auditorium at the Fresno Art Museum, offering a cozy place to get close to the action. The showcase evening offers a wide variety of personal favorites from performers. The Menotti pieces are fun to watch, with “The Telephone” (about a man who wants to propose to a woman but keeps getting interrupted by her phone) and “The Medium” (about a woman who conducts bogus seances) featuring crisp, accessible storylines. The festival is an opportunity to experience distinguished festival guest artists, including Brian Asher Alhadeff of Opera San Luis Obispo, a new collaborator with California Opera, who will conduct a fully staged production of “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre Aug. 5 and 7.
Details: “Festival Artists Showcase” is 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30; and “The Telephone/The Medium” is 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31, at the Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. First St. www.californiaopera.org, 559-225-6737. Free admission. VIP festival passes with reserved seating available.
The event: The “Summer Band at the Shaghoian” concert at Shaghoian Hall features the works of Rossini, Sousa, Saint-Saens, John Williams and more.
The draw: Musicians from throughout the area come together as an ensemble for this fun one-time event. The band is conducted by Christine Keenan, the director of the Reedley College Community Band. The more than 80 musicians are in such ensembles as the Fresno Community Concert Band and the Kingsburg Summer Band. Here’s a chance to hear a rousing program that in cooler climes might be the type of concert offered outside in a town square – but can be enjoyed in blissful air conditioning.
Details: 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, Shaghoian Hall in the Clovis North High School performing arts center, 2770 E. International Ave.