La Gioconda: Trivia: Did you know that La Gioconda ("The Happy One") is the real title of the Da Vinci painting we know as the "Mona Lisa"? Whether that has anything to do with Amilcare Ponchielli's opera is another question--no one sounds too happy in the midst of this twisted tale of love and duplicity. The nasty, scheming Barnaba manipulates the amours of three other people in order to clear a path between himself and the titular heroine. More trivia: The "Dance of the Hours" interlude from this opera is the music of the hippo/crocodile pas de deux in Disney's Fantasia. Arizona Opera, in conjunction with Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony, presents the classic yowl fest at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 22; 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 23; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, January 25. Featured are Janine Bogardus as Gioconda, Adib Fazah as Barnaba and Gary Bachlund as Enzo. Tickets are $14 to $56. 266-7464.
Sister Hazel, and Alana Davis: Hootie's Blowfish meets Up With People; Hazel hails from the same town as those tuneful ska punks in Less Than Jake--Gainesville, Florida--but couldn't be more different. Named after Sister Hazel Williams, a Gainesville-based missionary, the all-guy group traffics in what used to be called good vibes. Davis, a promising singer-songwriter who's currently getting airplay with a cover of Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors," opens for Sis at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 22, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $13.50, available at the Celebrity box office or Ticketmaster. 267-1600 (Celeb), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
Phoenix Open: Steve Jones defends his title in the 63rd annual Open, a 72-hole PGA Tour stop. After three days of pro-ams and other related events last week, the superpopular tourney tees off for real at approximately 7:45 a.m. Thursday, January 22, and continues daily through Sunday, January 25, at Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale, 17020 North Hayden (the main entrance is at the intersection of Pima Road and Princess Drive, approximately one mile north of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard). Tickets, available at Dillard's and a variety of other sources, are $20 a day. From 6 to 8:30 a.m. Saturday, January 24, and the same hours Sunday, January 25, tournament sponsors Smith's and Smitty's host a balloon launching in TPC north parking lot; this event is free and includes a continental breakfast. For schedule details, call 870-4431.
Rent: A modern spin on La Boheme, this is the first musical since A Chorus Line to win both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. Written by the late Jonathan Larson (he died at the age of 36, just hours after the show's New York dress rehearsal) and directed by Michael Grief, the show explores the struggles of an artists' community. This week's performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, January 22; 8 p.m. Friday, January 23; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, January 24; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, January 25; 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 27; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 28, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. The matinee on Saturday, January 24, is interpreted in American Sign Language (all seats in the ASL area are $45). Tickets, at Gammage or Dillard's, are likely to be tough to get, but if they're available, they'll be $20 to $47. The run continues through Sunday, February 1. 965-3434, 503-5555.
White Picket Fence: Phoenix playwright Michael Grady's comedy-drama concerns a young black boy and a young white boy who become friends in the late '60s through their shared interest in the Apollo space program and the struggle of their families to deal with their own bigotries--both the adults and the kids are eagerly anticipating "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Black Theatre Troupe and Actors Theatre of Phoenix are co-producers of the work's world premiere. Opening performances are 8 p.m. Friday, January 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, January 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, January 25. Tickets range from $19 to $30. The run continues through Sunday, February 8. 252-8497 (ATOP), 258-8128 (BTT).
"Face to Face": Arizona native Zarco Guerrero, the face behind the masks in this presentation, is billed as a "mask madman"--he designs, sculpts and paints false faces in a Mexican folk style, some of which are in the art collections of Paul Rodriguez, Edward James Olmos and Robert Altman. He's also a musician, and he combines all of his art forms into this one-man show, whose publicity claims, "brings ancient archetypes to life" and "mirrors the mystery of mind and heart in a myriad of fantastic faces." All this happens at 1 p.m. Friday, January 23, at the Whiteman Lecture Hall, 1625 North Central. Admission is free; seating is limited to 300. 585-5250.
Native American Song and Dance: The lovely flute sounds of musician/raconteur Robert Tree Cody Red Cedar Whistle (grandson of actor Iron Eyes Cody of the "Keep America Beautiful" TV PSA) are featured in this evening of traditional native music and movement beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, January 23, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Also on the bill are hoop dancer Derrick Davis, the Phoenix Intertribal Dancers and the Yaqui Deer Dancers, as well as such contemporary acts as rock band Clan/destine and comedian La Capa. Tickets are $15. 994-2787 (SCA), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).