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This week on Tampa Bay stages: Criss Angel, Cirque Musica, holiday pops

It’s the Christmas season at the Florida Orchestra and St. Petersburg Opera.


Fans were losing their minds on the promotional video for Criss Angel’s Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour. One woman’s scream could have shattered glass. Hopefully that won’t happen when the bad boy magician brings the show to Ruth Eckerd Hall this weekend. But they’re not the only fans; Oprah called him the “best,” and the grand opening for his Mindfreak show at Planet Hollywood was star studded, with Gary Oldman in attendance. It’s little wonder; he’s been at it for 25 years now, and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raw looks exciting, with levitation, a snake and Angel’s mind-blowing sleight of hand, mentalism and illusions in what’s billed as a stripped-down, pure show in an intimate setting. $48.75-$103.25. 8 p.m. Friday. 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.


Why not spice up your holiday tradition with a show of extremely strong and coordinated people? Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes uses a holiday story to connect the action of acrobats in dazzling costumes flying through the air, making impossible landings and doing unbelievable feats on roller skates — all while a live orchestra plays holiday favorites and adds to the spectacle. $25 and up. 7 p.m. Wednesday. Amalie Area, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes will fly through Amalie Arena on Dec. 18. [ Courtesy of Amalie Arena ]


You can’t swing a candy cane around town these days without hitting some sort of holiday show — even in the world of classical music. The Florida Orchestra revives its popular annual Holiday Pops program for a whopping five shows, bringing holiday favorites to life in jingle-janglin’ fashion. Guests can donate canned and nonperishable food for Tampa Bay Harvest, and the orchestra will collect unwrapped toys for children in need. Daniel Black conducts, with Vanessa Thomas serving as lead vocalist. $18 and up. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. (727) 892-3337.


Speaking of holiday pops, the St. Petersburg Opera is gearing up for its own Christmas spectacular in Holiday Sparkle, featuring all your favorite yuletide jingles performed by the most tasteful tenors and contraltos. Conductor Mark Sforzini leads a 15-piece orchestra and familiar soloists like Rachel Policar, Paula Broadwater and Chris Romeo through a holiday program in their candlelit, cabaret-style Opera Central venue. Intimate seating, warm 'n' fuzzy singing and dancing — what’s not to love? $30 and up. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Dec. 19-21, 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 22. 2145 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-2040.