Umberto Giordano's 1896 tale of love, revolution and betrayal, Andrea Chenier, is the current offering from Arizona Opera. The title character, a poet during the French Revolution, is consigned to the guillotine thanks to Gerard, who's in love with the same countess' daughter that digs Chenier. Suffice to say that all does not work out as Gerard might have hoped. The yowl fest takes the stage at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 18; 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 19; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 20; and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 21. Tickets range from $14 to $56. 266-7464.
MAD TV cast member Pablo Francisco takes the stage at the Improv at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 18; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, February 19; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, February 20; and 8 p.m. Sunday, February 21; at The Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 921-9877.
The season-opener for Mesa Youtheatre, Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson and Stephanie Tolan; with music by Steve Liebman (arranged by Scott Kasbaum), is recommended for kids ages 10 and older. Adapted from a Newberry Award-winning novel by Paterson, it concerns two misfit Virginia kids who travel to the fantasy kingdom of Terabithia. Opening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 19; 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 20; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 21, at Mesa Youtheatre, located at Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $7, $5 for those under 18. 155 North Center. The run continues through Sunday, March 7. 644-2560.
Galeria Mesa hosts "Precious Metals," a national juried show of small metalworks by more than 20 artists, ranging from jewelry to hollowware to functional flatware to miniature sculptural monuments. The show continues through Saturday, March 13, at Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center. An opening reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 19, with refreshments and live entertainment by the flute-tuba duo Double Play. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 644-2056.
Triloka Records artists Walela (Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge and Laura Satterfield) are the featured performers at the Third Annual Scottsdale Indian Artists of America Show at the Chauncey Event Center, located approximately one mile north of the intersection of Frank Lloyd Wright and Bell. Other highlights include Hawkquest Live Birds of Prey, magician and storyteller Ken Edwards, storyteller Harold Littlebird, flutist Aaron White, artist/actor Michael Horse (of TV's Twin Peaks), writer Adam Fortunate Eagle, and many Native American paintings, drawings, sculpture, fashions, jewelry, basketry, weaving and more. It runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, February 19; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, February 20; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, February 21. Tickets are $7 in advance, $8 at the gate; $6 in advance and $7 at the gate for seniors; kids 12 and under get in free on Saturday and Sunday. A $25 ticket to the VIP opening reception starting at 7 p.m. Friday (featuring the Walela performance) is good for the rest of the weekend as well. Call 840-9005 (extension 3) or 1-520-398-2226 for more information.
"Take a tree to lunch!" That was Walt Kelly's advice, in Pogo, on how to celebrate Arbor Day. A less logistically challenging way would be to stop by the tree-planting ceremonies held by the Valley of the Sun Gardeners, in conjunction with students from Maryland School, at 10 a.m. Friday, February 19; at the Washington Adult Center Auditorium, 2240 West Citrus Way. 937-5713.
The Arizona Bluegrass Association hosts the fourth annual Pioneer Bluegrass Days on Saturday, February 20; and Sunday, February 21, at Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, located at 3901 West Pioneer Road, off I-17 exit 255, north of Phoenix. The scheduled headline act, appropriately, is one of the pioneers of modern bluegrass, the great Ralph Stanley, fronting his Clinch Mountain Boys; and the marquee also includes Lost Highway, Frog Mountain, The Shady Creek Band, Paradox Bluegrass, Out of the Blue, Goldrush, The Hillwallys, and the McNasty Brothers, among other acts. Daily admission is $8, $5 for children ages 4 to 12; campsites cost $5 per night. 842-1102.
The "Downtown Spoken Word Series" continues Saturday, February 20, with performances by Sybil Erden and Adama Miszuk; an open mike follows. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free. MARS Artspace, 126 South Central (in the Luhrs building). 264-6266, 253-3541.
As both an early spring cleaning and a fund-raiser, Ballet Arizona hosts a Costume Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 21; at the company's studios, 3645 East Indian School. Items are available, ranging from $5 to $300, from The Nutcracker, Cinderella and A Christmas Carol, among other ballets. Admission is free. 381-0184.
The exhibit "Through Each Other's Eyes," which grew out of a 1988 photographic cultural-exchange program in connection with Japan week--two Valley photographers traveled to the Land of the Rising Sun, and two Japanese photographers came here, to "document cultural differences with a foreign country"--opens Monday, February 22. This year the Phoenician shutterbugs are Richard Maack and Will Jones; the work of Yukio Temura and Kojiro Nakano represents Japan. The exhibition, at Phoenix City Hall atrium, 200 West Washington Street, continues through Friday, March 5. 262-7176.