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  1. April 29 | Rinaldo

    Sunday, April 29 Rinaldo Royal Theatre “People sometimes forget opera is theatre,” says Glynis Leyshon, director of Pacific Opera Victoria (POV)’s upcoming production of Handel’s baroque classic Rinaldo. Because of its fantastical subject matter, the opera is “quite a departure” for the POV veteran. “The challenges are enormous when you look beyond the music to the libretto and presentation. There’s a lot of transformational magic elements; it was meant to be spectacle. It’s a challenge for anybody who decides to do [it].” Making a special-effects, fanciful period piece relevant to modern audiences requires some creative questioning, and Leyshon is grateful to be partnered in this effort with production designer Pam Johnson, a longtime colleague. “You want to look at it with fresh eyes…why are we doing this piece, beyond the music?” Leyshon says there are technical considerations as well. The 17th century stagings of Rinaldo, with dragons, magicians, and “all sorts of spectacular imagery” was, she says, designed to be performed in a specific container, and “the Royal is not a Baroque opera theatre.” The pair decided to see if there was a way to keep the sense of wonder and innocence—and make it meaningful. They hit on the idea of setting the piece in WWII London, using the pretext of three children listening to a broadcast of Rinaldo through a floor-model radio. It is through the children’s imaginative visions that the story unfolds. “The backdrop you’ll see is a set of row houses—archetypal English,” says Leyshon. “An exterior wall pops forward to reveal the interior of the house: rooms, staircase, table…the radio will play, and create the setting of the piece.” As the children listen, “elements within the house will change and transform. Pam and I are working with a young animator to do some video as well…that kind of element will be woven into the aesthetic of the design.” Rinaldo’s libretto is providing a certain “reality”—Christians versus Muslims, warring in ancient Jerusalem (far too politically loaded these days, but not in Handel’s time). Leyshon and Johnson are instead using the allied forces battling evil during the World War II as the fortifying basis of the children’s whimsical visions. Leyshon, as a child, remembers being encouraged to visualize a story while listening to music—“what do you see, what are the pictures, what is the music telling you, what can you imagine?” She and Johnson, along with conductor Timothy Vernon, are hoping Rinaldo audiences will appreciate their efforts to conjure some of Handel’s 300-year-old magic. April 29 at 2:30pm at the Royal Theatre. Sung in Italian, with English surtitles. Pre-performance talk one hour before each curtain. Tickets start at $25, www.rmts.bc.ca, or 250-385-0222.
  2. April 30 | Adventures in Public School

    Monday, April 30 “Adventures in Public School” Vic Theatre This 5:30pm screening of director Kyle Rideout's hilarious coming-of-age flick is part of the annual Victoria Film Festival, and has earned the designation “Best of the Fest.” Liam (Daniel Doheny) is an extremely bright, socially secluded teenager, home schooled in a garage-turned-classroom by his well intentioned and hilariously enthusiastic mother Claire (Judy Greer). All set to take the high school equivalency exam and head off to Cambridge on early admission, the sight of Anastasia (Siobhan Williams) evokes brand-new emotions, causing him to sabotage his exam and insist on finishing his high school education at Anastasia’s public school. Judy Greer gives a career-defining performance as Claire, who learns to accept Liam’s decision and helps him navigate his new world of alcohol, parties, and girls. At the Vic Theatre, Tickets $11.43, available at the door or online at victoriafilmfestival.com
  3. Tuesday, May 1 Book Launch: Sarah Cox's Breaching the Peace Ambrosia Centre BC’s Site C dam exemplifies the dark side of clean energy megaprojects, with activists urging government to consider the land at stake. Now, award-winning journalist Sarah Cox takes us into the lives of the farmers, First Nations, and scientists fighting to save the Peace River Valley. Hear their stories in Breaching the Peace, a frank and urgent cautionary tale in the age of climate change. Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisgard Street. Doors open at 7pm. Cash bar; free to attend. Sponsored by Munro's Books.
  4. May 2 | Pnina Granirer

    Wednesday, May 2 Pnina Granirer Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue In 2017, visual artist and Holocaust survivor Pnina Granirer published her memoir Light Within The Shadows. Born in Romania in 1935, she moved to Israel in 1950, and immigrated to Canada in 1965. She has created a large body of art while searching for beauty and spirituality. At this event, she will speak of her successes and failures, and how her creativity was shaped by issues of dislocation and the uprooted soul’s wish for permanency and belonging. Her works are found in many private and public galleries and collections in Canada, the US, Chile, Europe and Israel. Recently, her triptych “Sorrow, Hope, Truth” was installed at Government House. “Making of an artist: Pnina Granirer” on Wednesday, May 2, 7pm at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street. Entry is by donation. Book signing to follow, light refreshments will be served.
  5. May 3 | Reed Turchi & Dan Weisenberger

    Thursday, May 3 Reed Turchi & Dan Weisenberger Northern Quarter Raised in the Swannanoa valley of Western North Carolina, Reed Turchi has an obsession with Mississippi Hill Country blues. This multi-instrumentalist receives wide acclaim as a solo artist and has been featured in Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Oxford American, and Fretboard Journal. One of Victoria's favourite guitarists, Dan Weisenberger (aka Doc Hoss) will be sharing the bill. Live music is by donation, and 100 percent of donations go to the band. Live music starts at 9pm; bar and kitchen from 5pm – midnight. Northern Quarter, 1724 Douglas St, 250-590-7702, northernquarter.ca.
  6. May 4 | 9 to 5 The Musical

    Friday, May 4 “9 to 5: The Musical” McPherson Playhouse The Victoria Operatic Society presents the Vancouver Island premiere of “9 to 5: The Musical,” a hilarious story of friendship and revenge based on the 1980 film. The production follows Violet (Francesca Bitonti), Judy (Tara Britt), and Doralee (Jolene White) as they live out their wildest fantasies of getting even with their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss, Franklin Hart (Dwayne Gordon). Featuring original numbers from Dolly Parton's Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award nominated score including “Backwoods Barbie,” “Shine Like the Sun,” and the original hit song “9 to5.” The production opens May 4 and runs through May 13 at Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse. Tickets from $21.75 at at rmts.bc.ca or available at McPherson box office in Centennial Square, 250-386-6121.
  7. May 5 | Fairfield Artists Studio Tour

    Painting above is “Beach Drive Revisited” by Barabara Bosson Weaver Saturday, May 5 Fairfield Artists Studio Tour Various artists' studios Now in its seventeenth year, this self-guided tour provides an opportunity to meet local artists, tour their studios, and view their work—while exploring the beautiful neighbourhood of Fairfield. Over 20 established and emerging artists open their studio doors for two days so the public can explore their recent works of painting, pottery, glass, sculpture, jewellery, textiles and photography. Go to fairfieldartistsstudiotour.com for more information and to plan your route. This free event is also happening on Sunday, May 6.
  8. April 23 | Michael Kaeshammer

    Monday, April 23 Michael Kaeshammer Mary Winspeare Centre This prolific Vancouver Island-based singer/songwriter/pianist/producer has earned a loyal international following as a triple threat. He’s a piano virtuoso with a technical mastery of many different styles, an eloquent singer/songwriter, and a charming and engaging performer. 7:30pm. 250-656-0275, www.marywinspear.ca.
  9. April 24 | Swan Song

    Tuesday, April 24 Swan Song (and other farces) The Roxy Theatre Blue Bridge Theatre presents an evening of hilarious one act plays by the great 19th century Russian playwright Anton Chekov. Directed by Jacob Richmond. Designed by Brian Ball, Jacqueline Gilchrist, Rebekah Johnson and Grayson Walker. Cast includes Noa Paster, Rod Peter Jr, RJ Peters, Celine Stubel, Treena Stubel, and Wes Tritter. April 24 through May 6. Tickets and info at www.bluebridgetheatre.ca. For Blue Passes call 250-382-3370. 2657 Quadra St, Victoria. www.bluebridgetheatre.ca.
  10. April 25 | Speech Arts Highlights Concert

    Wednesday, April 25 Speech Arts Highlights Concert Cadboro Bay United Church This is part of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival. For six weeks in April and May, over 9000 Victoria-area students of music, dance and dramatic arts are on stages throughout the city receiving adjudications from renowned experts in the arts. The public is invited to all adjudicated sessions and Highlights Concerts to support our performers and to enjoy the many outstanding performances. This concert will feature performers from the Speech and Dramatic Arts section. 7:30pm. All ages welcome.$12 for adults or $8 for students, seniors, and children or $30 for families at the door only. See www.gvpaf.org for more information.
  11. April 26 | Corrections

    Thursday, April 26 Corrections Open Space Open Space is pleased to present Corrections by Garry Neill Kennedy (the first in a series counting up to the Fiftieth Anniversary of Open Space in 2022.). The grandfather of conceptual art in Canada, Garry Neill Kennedy, has created a site-specific treatment for the main stairwell of Open Space that highlights the history of the space and calls attention to the work still to come going forward. Characteristically, Kennedy mines the uses of colour in our society and then uses them to ask questions about the way things are. For Corrections, he uses the colours associated with street construction, and spray paint. An overall chaotic, but instructive, environment will greet visitors throughout the year. Perhaps best known as the president of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1967-1990), Garry Neill Kennedy has also had solo museum exhibitions at The National Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, The Owens Art Gallery, and Portikus (#86) (Frankfurt am Main). In 2003 he was a recipient of the Order of Canada and in 2004, the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts. This exhibit runs throughout 2018. 510 Fort Street, 250-383-8833, www.openspace.ca.
  12. April 27 | Victoria Chamber Orchestra

    Friday, April 27 Victoria Chamber Orchestra First Metropolitan United Church Yariv Aloni Music Director, presents a concert on Friday, April 27, 8 pm. This concert will feature Lexie Krakowski, winner of the 2018 Louis Sherman Concerto Competition, playing Haydn Cello Concerto in C. Other works on the program are Scriabin Five Preludes, Opus 11 and Haydn Symphony No. 84. Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors over 65 & students; (free for music students) available at the door, Long & McQuade, Ivy’s Bookshop or by calling 250-598-1966. All tickets can be booked on website www.victoriachamberorchestra.org. First Metropolitan United Church is at 932 Balmoral Road, Victoria. (See story on Yariv Aloni)
  13. April 28 | Cosmic Odyssey with Bob McDonald

    Saturday, April 28 Cosmic Odyssey with CBC’s Bob McDonald and organist Jenny Vincent First Metropolitan United Church Bob McDonald, CBC’s science guru, host of “Quirks and Quarks,” takes the audience on adventures in space through universes beyond our own, with informative and entertaining narratives. Canada’s Jenny Vincent provides the music on the majestic organ. Punched with outstanding visuals on large screens, an October show sold out and received ecstatic praise from concert-goers. Cosmic Odyssey is presented by organWORX. 7pm. Tickets are $35 and available at www.rmts.bc.ca.
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