In brief: Arts events across the Modesto region

09/04/2014 12:00 AM

09/03/2014 3:56 PM

Modesto’s Townsend Opera announced an ambitious 2014-15 season including company premieres, classics and concerts by fellows.

The new season kicks off Sept. 25 with a recital by the Adler Fellows of the San Francisco Opera. Fellows take part in a two-year training residency with the San Francisco Opera. The fellows will perform a recital of opera arias, art songs and crossover repertoire for the Townsend show. Performers include Erin Johnson, a soprano from New Jersey; Jacqueline Piccolino, a soprano from Chicago; Zanda Svede, a mezzo-soprano from Latvia; and Hadleigh Adams, a baritone from New Zealand.

The first full production will be the company premiere of Andre Previn’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Jan. 23-25. The show will feature soprano Carrie Hennessey as Blanche and baritone Dan Kempson as Stanley, and be directed by Brad Dalton. That will be followed with a production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca,” which will feature soprano Jill Gardner as opera singer Flora Tosca and tenor John Pickle as painter Mario Cavaradossi. Joseph Bascetta will direct.

All performances will be held at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The coming season also marks the start of a two-year Ensemble in Residence program with The Re-Assemblers of Whimsy, a classical-pop crossover ensemble from Sacramento. The program is part of the Opera Remix Initiative and the group will work with Townsend this coming season to develop a program for the 2015-16 season.

Townsend Opera General and Artistic Director Matthew Buckman also has agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the company through the end of the 2016-17 season. Buckman joined the company in February 2008 as its first executive director and became general and artistic director in July 2013.

Earlier this summer, Townsend Opera announced plans to present its 2014-15 season in collaboration with Fresno Grand Opera. Each of the new season’s opera productions will include one performance with Fresno Grand Opera at the William Saroyan Theater. The companies will share the expenses for the productions.

For more on the new season, visit

First Friday finale

The Murphys Community Club First Fridays in the Park concert series concludes today with a concert by Chains Required.

The Sonora-based group plays songs from the 1960s to the present. The Murphys Community Club puts on the shows in partnership with the Calaveras Arts Council and the Calaveras Community Band.

The show starts at 5:30 p.m. at Murphys Community Park on Algiers Street. Dinner can be purchased for $10 from 5 to 8 p.m. during the show. The finale meal will feature baked cheesy pasta with sausage by Murphys Catering. Wine, soda and water will be available for purchase. The concert is free and open to the public.

For more, go to or call (209) 728-8183.

Local authors wanted

The Stanislaus County Library is looking for local published authors to take part in its fifth annual Local Author Fair.

The fair will be from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 20 in the portico of the Modesto Library. Local authors will have the opportunity to promote their work, as well as sell and sign copies of their publications.

Registration for this event is required. Interested authors should contact Laura Ferrell at (209) 558-7817 by Tuesday.

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