Arts & Events

Two Operas in Berkeley This Weekend: Otello Matinees Saturday and Sunday, John Brown's Truth on Sunday Night

Friday April 13, 2012 - 02:06:00 PM

This weekend you have not just one but two chances to see live operatic performances in Berkeley at bargain prices.

The first one, which you've seen advertised here for a week or so, is a Verdi classic special, Otello. It's full of passion, the quintessential love-and-death spectaculo. Both matinee performances feature Fred Winthrop, the dramatic tenor who's also the impresario who has produced Verismo Opera's string of Bay Area performances, which usually have at least one Berkeley date. The two sopranos who sing Desdemona, both Berkeley favorites, are double-cast. Eliza O'Malley appears at the 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, Gillian Kuhner on Sunday at 2, both at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street at Arch.

Then on Sunday night is the first performance this spring of John Brown's Truth, previewed below, an evolving piece of what's being called musically improvised musical theater. It uses a variety of musical styles (afro-caribbean/jazz/european-classical/spoken-word/dance} to tell the story of abolitionist John Brown’s anti-slavery raid on Virginia 150 years ago in a quasi-operatic vein. 

Performances are: 

Sunday, April 15, 2012; Doors 7:00 p.m.; Event 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012; Doors 7:00 p.m.; Event 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012; Doors 7:00 p.m.; Event 7:30 p.m. 

At La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley (near Ashby BART); 510-849-2568,ext. 20. 

Created by William Crossman; Directed by Michael Lange 

Featuring: Raymond Nat Turner, Maria Medina-Serafin, Eliza O*Malley, Lewis Jordan, Sandi Poindexter, Akinyele Sadiq, Sarita Cannon, Cheryl Schwartz, Henry Mobley, Ava Square-LeVias, Andrew Ross. 

$15. General, $10. Students with I.D. Wheelchair accessible. Advance Tickets: and A production of MIMESIS Theater Arts Company, a CA nonprofit 501(C)3.