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    Family Concert by Diablo Symphony and Festival Opera Featuring Mini-Opera “Tales from the Briar Patch”


    Date(s) - 04/02/2023
    2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

    Lesher Center for the Arts


    The Diablo Symphony Orchestra joins forces with Festival Opera on April 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lesher Center for the Arts in a coproduction of the new mini-opera Tales from the Briar Patch, inspired by traditional African stories. In this 30-minute operatic treat by composer Nkeiru Okoye and librettist Carman Moore, Sister Sparrow (a silly show-off), Sister Robin (the practical one) and Madame Partridge (the bossy one) retell the antics of the famous arch-enemies Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. Paying tribute to the African tradition of storytelling for all ages, Okoye’s score blends jazz, blues, and gospel styles with contemporary musical sounds, and Moore’s text is filled with both humor and wisdom. The characters are portrayed by tenor Marcus J. Paige, baritone Omari Tau, soprano Shawnette Sulker, mezzo-soprano Aisha Campbell, and soprano Leberta Lorál.

    Setting the stage is the concert’s toe-tapping and energetic first half featuring Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” and George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Described as a “rhythmic potpourri,” Berstein’s overture delivers a succession of themes at breakneck speed, all of which join in a riotous conclusion. And, beginning with its now iconic glissando in the clarinet, Gershwin’s work for piano and orchestra—with its jazz and ragtime rhythms and blues-inspired melodies—reaches out to audiences of all ages. At the piano is fifteen year old Minna Fu, this season’s Yen Liang Young Artist Competition winner. A resident of Pleasanton, Fu has won multiple national piano competitions, and was invited to perform in Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in 2019.

    Advance Tickets are available at the Lesher Center for the Arts box office (925-943-7469) or by visiting https://www.diablosymphony.org/. Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for youth 13–17. Children 12 and under are free but need a ticket, and a discounted ticket price of $30 is available for groups of 10 or more seniors ages 62 and up. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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