Everyone knows art groups are having difficulty surviving in this dreadful economy. Art groups are losing corporate support, and for OperaDelaware it has declined by 87 percent from more than$399,999 to under $50,000 a year. In an economic move OperaDelaware has cancelled the full scale production of the beloved opera “Il Travatore” that was scheduled for May. In its place the cast, already engaged, will present a concert of many of the most beloved arias in opera in May. The opera “The Pearl Fishers” to be given on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. and March 9 as part of the Studio Series is more of a concert version with English subtitles and a silk screen painting backdrop done live during the performance by creative artist Lee Zimmerman. “The Pearl Fishers” will be presented at OperaStudios, 4 South Poplar St. For tickets call 302-658-8063.
I find it difficult to believe that with this terrible weather there is anyone tough enough to take the seventh annual Brandywine Polar Plunge at the Brandywine Picnic Park in West Chester on Feb. 8. Registration is at 10 a.m. and The Plunge at 11:30 a.m. As we all feel as though we have been living in the Polar Plunge, let’s hope some of us can sign up to freeze for a good cause. Funds raised by the participants collect at least $35 from friends and family in exchange for braving the icy Brandywine Creek in the middle of winter. I wonder if it will be frozen over this year. The first 200 would-be Eskimos to register will be guaranteed an official 2013 long sleeved T-shirt to commemorate the event. Team participation is encouraged with prizes for the top individual fund-raiser, the largest group, the group raising the largest amount and the best costume. Contact the Brandywine Valley Association at 610-793-2813 for more information.
The marvelous sounding event, the Salon du Chocolat, to be held on Feb. 1 at the home of State Rep. Chris Ross and Cecelia Ross from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. is almost sold out. No wonder -- with artisan chocolates, fine wines from Borderland Vineyard, Galer Estate. Grace Winery and Paradocx Vineyard plus craft beers from Victory Brewery. This fun event benefits The United Way of Southern Chester County. (That means us!) Tickets are $75 per person or $125 per couple. For tickets go to www.kennettchocolate.org. For information call 610-444-4357.
Tickets for the 2014 Chocolate Lover’s Festival, to be held at the Kennett High School on Sunday, Feb. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m., may be purchased at the same e-mail. Tickets are $5 a person for six tastings, but there is no limit to the number of tickets one may buy.
Chocolate Goodies Wanted – The Kennett Chocolate Lover’s Festival on Feb. 9 has need of some donations of chocolate dainties. They can come from restaurants, businesses, grandmothers, students of any age. The United Way needs something to offer the hordes that will be looking for chocolate on Feb. 9. This is a charity, and all they ask is a batch of something chocolate. This could be a plate of cookies, brownies, a cake, and a pan of fudge or another confection. Donations can be delivered to the Kennett High School beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteer cooks should go to www.Kennettchocolate.org to get an entry form.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, the public is invited to hear the vocal competition for Chester County high school seniors sponsored by the Chester County Choral Society. Each contestant will sing “Caro mio ben” by Giuseppe Giordant, a classical selection and a musical theatre selection, both chosen by the candidate. The competition will begin at 9 a.m. at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli. It is sponsored by the Honorable Charles B. Smith, Senior Judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. Since 1993 the CCCS has awarded over $13,000 in prizes.
They are “Mad about Red” at the juried all-media exhibition at the Newark Arts Alliance, 276 Eastmain St. located in Market East Plaza, Newark. With artwork inspired by the color red – in honor of Valentine’s Day, the reception, open to the public, will be Friday, Feb. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The special Valentine’s Day dinner in the conservancy, not on Valentine’s Day but on Feb. 15, is completely sold out, and I can see the reason why. The food offerings from around the world will make for some real International noshing. Just reading the dishes being offered made one salivate. Yes, $275 a couple is a high ticket for dinner, but it sure sounded like value received. Now I’ll never know until next year.
Author/Journalist Scott Weidensaul will lecture on his book ”Living On The Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds.” Since 1978 he has written long- running columns about nature for newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has authored several books, this one becoming a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His lecture on Feb 7 will be at the Kennett High School at 8 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Tempesta di Mare will operate the 300th anniversary of CPE Bach by performing a special recital of his solos, duos and trios. The musicians are flutist Gwyn Roberts, violist Karina Schmitz and harpsichordist Adam Pearl. They will play at the Woodmere Art Museum on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m. and on Sundasy, Feb 16, at the Fleisher Art Memorial at 3 p.m. If you don’t remember who this Bach is, this is the fifth child of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was very successful and was a prolific composer of all types of music. For tickets call 215-755-8776.
The acclaimed rock pianist Marco Bene0vento will be rocking the Arden Gild Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, in his first performance there. He is free to come to Arden in the middle of his winter tour. He will be recording a new record with Richard Swift in March and he contributes “Are You Sleeping?” on the forthcoming Nilsson tribute record, “This Is The Town: A Tribute To Nilsson.” The show will open at 8 p.m. with Mad Sweet Pangs band. Tickets are $20 plus fee.
FringeArts presents “The Room Nobody Knows” a surreal, semi-autobiographic fever dream by a Japanese psychiatrist turned playwright on Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. The story centers on two brothers who inhabit a mysterious apartment. The younger brother is busy with party preparations for his brother’s birthday, when his alter-egos take over. The play is in Japanese with English subtitles at the FringeArts’ new waterfront headquarters. For tickets or information call 215-413-1316 or visiting fringearts.com.
Theatre Exile is presenting Sam Sheppard’s play “True West” at Plays & Players, 1714 Delancy St., Philadelphia. They moved to this larger venue due to their wildly successful opening season. “True West” is the tale of two brothers who have taken different paths. Austin is a screenwriter and Lee a drifter, and each is jealous of the other. While house sitting for their mother, they collide in a darkly comic struggle for dominance. The play runs from Jan. 30 through Feb. 23. For tickets call 215-690-4065.
That happily-ever-after love story “Patience” by Gilbert & Sullivan will be presented at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre at West Chester University Feb. 6 through 9 by, who else, but the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chester County. This is the tale of the lovely down-to-earth girl named Patience who is being wooed by the self-worshiping poet Bunthome and his aesthetic, rival poet Grosvenor. There are also 20 love sick maidens and their military suitors who are flabbergasted by the new obsessions of their old flames, but everyone ends up with someone. For tickets go to www.gsschesco.org. Advance tickets are $19, Adults $19, seniors $16 and youths %7 or call 610-269-5499.
The wonderful story “Porgy and Bess” by Gershwin of the folks on Charleston’s Catfish Row will be coming to the Academy of Music, Feb. 18 through 23. This acclaimed touring company gives a stunning staging with a 23 piece orchestra. The love story has legendary songs as “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothing.” This was the longest running production of “Porgy and Bess” on Broadway. For tickets call 215-731-3333.
This “Mystery in the Desert” centers around a novelist who comes to a family reunion and announces her new novel is an explosive memoir. All calm in the family disappears. The play, written by Jon Robin Baitz. This is at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia, through March 2. For tickets call 215-574-3550.
This classic true story of one young Jewish girl and her family’s attempt to hide from the Nazis, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” will be at the Media Theatre, 194 E. State St., Media, through Feb. 16. For tickets call 610-891-0100.
Story tellers Megan Hicks and Rivka Willick will take over the Hedgerow Theatre near Media with a spine tingling show called “Scary Stories for a Bleak Wintry Night” that is unforgettable on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. For a night to remember call 540-371-6775 for tickets. $15 in advance, $18 at the door.
Calling all Flamenco lovers! Opera Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr Film Institute are showing the film “Blood Wedding” at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute on Feb. 4, 11 and 18 at 7 p.m. This classic Spanish masterpiece highlights the art of flamenco. It tells the story by Federico Garcia Lorca where the heroine is torn between love and duty. The film blends ballet with flamenco dancing. Tickets are $10.50 for adults, $8 for seniors. $7 for seniors .The Institute is at 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. For information go to www.brynmawrfilm.org
The Delaware Theatre Co. is offering Jen Childs in her self-depreciating comedy “Why I’m Scared of Dance.” This lesson in jazz, hip-hop and ballet shows why working at the barre is not quite as much fun as working at the bar. Performances are Feb. 6 through 9. For tickets call 302-594-1100.
The 11th Hour Theatre Co. is performing the beautiful Tony Award winning musical “The Secret Garden” on Feb. 8 at 8 p.m., Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. This musical is based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett in which Mary Lennox is orphaned by cholera in India and sent to live with her reclusive uncle. She breathes new life into the house, the family and the Secret Garden. For tickets call 267-987-9865. Performances are given at the Caplan Recital Hall at 211 S. Broad St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia.
This fiendishly fun murder mystery, “Mousetrap,” is one of the most popular and longest running play of all time. Set in a manor house the house guests know there is a murderer among them, and eye one another suspiciously. It has already run for a week, and I almost lost it. For tickets call 302-831-2204. Live at the University of Delaware at the Thompson Theatre by the REP (Resident Ensemble Players)
Friday, Jan. 31 – Rob Dickenson
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.