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January 28, 2011

Weekend preview: Opera, operetta, choral music

Assuming no more weather pains, the weekend has some vocal fare on the schedule that might be just the thing to wipe away memories of horrendous commutes and digging out.

Poe Town Opera, a division of the Baltimore Vocal Arts Foundation, has come up with two novelties from the early comic repertoire: "Mirena e Floro," by Francesco Gasparini and Giovanni Bonocini, and the better-known "La Serva Padrona" by Pergolesi. Robyn Stevens, founder and artistic director of the foundation, directs a cast that includes soprano Laura Strickling and baritone Jason Buckwalter, accompanied by Erica Rome. 7 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday at the Theatre Project.

Gilbert and Sullivan's surefire "Mikado" gets a production from Opera AACC at Anne Arundel Community College Friday and Sunday, as well as Feb. 4 and 5. Jennifer Blades directs a cast of professionals, students and others. The conductor is Douglas Brandt Byerly.

And the Handel Choir of Baltimore, led by Melinda O'Neal, gives a benefit concert for the Murphy Initiative for Justice & Peace on Sunday (4 p.m.) at St. Mary of the Assumption (5502 York Road). The program includes excerpts from Handel's "Messiah" and Mozart's "Requiem," as well as Ralph M. Johnson's "This House of Peace," featuring the BSO's principal oboist Katherine Needleman. 

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:11 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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