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Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera — Tampa Bay area has an abundance of opera

Sarasota Opera wound up its season last weekend, but that doesn't mean there's no opera in the area. Far from it. Opera Tampa and St. Petersburg Opera both give concerts this weekend, and the Metropolitan Opera is beaming its Saturday matinee of Hamlet into movie theaters.

Opera Tampa is celebrating its 15th anniversary with "Arias & Encores,'' featuring its apprentices performing scenes from Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, Tosca, La Boheme, Turandot, Carmen and others. The program also includes music from Opera Tampa conductor Anton Coppola's Sacco & Vanzetti, which the company premiered. Backing the singers will be piano and string quartet.

"I can't believe it has been 15 years,'' said Judy Lisi, president of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, which founded Opera Tampa. "We have a very nice, loyal following, and I am really happy with what our company has done. I think this apprentice program has fostered our educational mission, and the singers are on their way to have great careers.''

The performance is at 4 p.m. Sunday at Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center. $42.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045;

St. Petersburg Opera presents singers from its Emerging Artist Program in numbers from Mozart operas and other works, with Mark Sforzini on bassoon and Brent Douglas on piano. The concert is at 6 p.m. Saturday at the American Lithuanian Club, 4880 46th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 823-2040.

Shakespeare gets the French grand opera treatment in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, starring English baritone Simon Keenlyside as the melancholy Dane and German soprano Marlis Petersen as Ophelia. The performance will be transmitted live from the Met from 1 to 4:50 p.m. Saturday to more than 1,000 movie theaters and other venues, including Citrus Stadium Park Mall 20 in Tampa, (813) 920-9471; AMC Woodland Square 20 in Oldsmar, (727) 771-6643; and Grove 16 Cinemas in Wesley Chapel, (813) 948-5445. For a complete list of theaters, go to $15-$22.

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera — Tampa Bay area has an abundance of opera 03/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:47am]
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