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Stage planner: Sunshine City Opera debuts, SPFestival's many pop-up performers


Sunshine City Opera, a new company, debuts this weekend, focused on new or rarely heard works. The company, founded by composer Erin Huelskamp, top, will present an hour's sampling of its vision at the Studio@620.

Work includes performances by mezzo soprano Thea Lobo, middle left; soprano Katherine Stenzel, middle right, and pianist and music director Eunmi Ko, bottom. Performers will sing from Yalil Guerra's Amor; Ingrid Stolzel's haunting Grand is the Seen; and Huelskamp's The Ten-Block Walk, which tells a story.

"It's about an elderly woman who walks 10 blocks to what she thinks is a Shakespeare class," said Huelskamp, 34. "Each scene brings a different crisis. It uses a lot of different musical styles." Watch the trailer at

Huelskamp grew up in Boston thinking she wanted to be a lawyer. She got sidetracked at University of Missouri-Columbia by music composition and performance, and wrote a "comedic kung fu opera" while getting a master's at the Boston Conservatory. She also plays flute and piano. Huelskamp and her husband, Paul Bohn, moved to St. Petersburg in October.

Friday's concert, Opera Sampler, should give you an idea what the new company is about. Watch a preview of Opera Sampler at

"It's mostly living composers who are doing things now," Huelskamp said. "Either very-first-time (heard) pieces, or second-time pieces. And less frequently heard."

The show starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $25, $20 students and seniors. (727) 895-6620.

Direct questions about the Sunshine City Opera to Huelskamp at


The opera performance is part of the second SPFestival, a monthlong arts celebration. Other plans include performers appearing in 15 downtown restaurants and elsewhere, including jazz saxophonist Henry Ashwood Jr.; singers Nicole Evans, Melissa Misener and Becca McCoy; the Inferno Trio of Tampa Bay; and many more. You can see a list of performers and venues at, but it won't say who is performing where. That's a surprise.

The Florida Orchestra is getting into the act with free concerts. A brass trio plays at noon Wednesday at Sundial St. Pete, 153 Second Ave. N. A string quartet greets travelers at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tampa International Airport, in front of the entrance to Airsides A and C. (727) 892-3337.

On Saturday, a group of choreographers and dancers have arranged a walk that should prove memorable. Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete by the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages aims to blend "dance, music, art, architecture and technology, creating moving public art," the producers said in a statement. The walk starts at 6 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, and proceeds to the mural alley along Sixth and Seventh streets. Along the way, a musical composition by Elizabeth Baker can be downloaded to your phones. Correction: Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete starts at 6 p.m. An earlier version of this item contained an incorrect start time.


The recently opened Cantina Comedy Show is holding its own. It's a user-friendly venue in Ybor City, with local talent and an "open mic-a-palooza." Becca Childs, left, and Aniria headline this weekend, with club founder Emilio Diaz hosting. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday (doors open at 7), Centro Asturiano 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $10, $15 at the door.


Tickets for the hit musical Wicked are on sale. The Tony-winning prequel to The Wizard of Oz, which packs hits including Defying Gravity and For Good, runs Feb. 1-26 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $52.50-$152.50. (813) 229-7827.

Stage planner: Sunshine City Opera debuts, SPFestival's many pop-up performers 09/14/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:53pm]
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