Coming Up: ‘Grand Night at Opera’ features superior sopranos

Festival of Trees 2018 [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

A glittering afternoon of opera awaits: Are you mesmerized by the bel canto of “Norma”? Heartbroken by the drama of “Tosca”? You absolutely need to be at First Presbyterian Church this Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, when the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra brings us “A Grand Night at the Opera.” Coming together for this glorious operatic program will be a pair of sopranos – Amy Cofield and Mary Anne Kruger, who have had acclaimed careers as international opera performers and now (lucky for us opera aficionados) live in Brevard County. Kruger, according to the SCSO promo, spent most of her career in Europe, singing 40-plus roles, including “Madama Butterfly” and “Salome”; Cofield’s international career has included Europe, Asia and the U.S., “often being sought for her ‘’Violetta.’” Together for this special presentation, Kruger and Cofield bring their breathtaking talent to bear with treasured grand opera works by Puccini, Verdi, Bellini, Gounod and other masters of the form. A few: “Belle nuit” from Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffman”; Strauss’ “Ist ein Traum” from “Der Rosenkavalier”; Bellini’s “Casta diva” from “Norma”; Delibes’ “Dome epais” from “Lakme”; and Puccini’s “Vissi d’arte” from “Tosca.” Curtain: 3 p.m. Admission: free. A $20 donation is always so much appreciated. 855-252-7276.

A glorious, gorgeous Christmas tradition in Vero Beach: Riverside Theatre’s “Festival of Trees.” A family must-do to launch your holiday season, this three-day spectacular starts with a gala this Friday, Nov. 22, and is free for the public Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24. Now celebrating its 22nd year, “Festival of Trees” has always been a joy-filled, holiday-spirit-filled family event and (if you’ve attended in past years, you know) it really, really does just get better and better each Christmas season. With this year’s theme “Winter Wonderland,” area designers crank up their creative, artistic skills for intense competition in five categories, decorating to within an inch of their branch-tips trees provided by Riverside: Tall Tree, Short Tree, Wreath, Gingerbread House and Santa’s Village. Inside and out, you will not recognize the theater or the campus, amazingly transformed for this one very special weekend into a magical Festival Forest, aglow with thousands of twinkling lights, and the breathtaking Grand Festival Hall; as well as that Christmas season Must, a visit from and even meals with Kris Kringle; plus another huge fav – an ice rink for kids ages 2 through 11 ($3 rental, socks required). Sorry, non-kids. There will also be live performances, vendor booths, and arts and crafts (in case holiday shopping should cross your mind). Time: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission: $10; 12 and under, $5; 3 and under, free. 772-231-6990. www.riversidetheatre.com/festival-of-trees.

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