SALOME. If only new morals meister William Bennett could be in town for this overtly sexual play written by Oscar Wilde and adapted by operaman Richard Strauss. Bennett would have been one of those righteous people who originally whined the work should never have been produced because of its effect on young people. Sorry, Bill. Salome, the luscious, highly sexual work with biblical origins, has had a long, successful history and will play Tucson thanks to a production by Arizona Opera.
The story swirls around Salome, teen-age step-daughter of powerful King Herod. When she hears the lovely voice of John the Baptist, who has been chained in the cistern by step-dad (don't you love it?), she insists he be brought out so she can see him, says Arizona Opera's Monica Barrows. "She falls in love--well, lust--with him, and wants to kiss him." The spoiled girl, used to getting her way, is ticked handsome John won't buss and schemes to get his lips on hers. Herod, who had promised her anything following one of her erotic dances, is horrified she would ask for J the B's head in payment. When she gets it, minus the body, "she pretty much starts making love to it," in all its bloody beauty, says Barrows. Be forewarned, in case you missed the drift, that this opera has lots of sex, violence and nudity. Ooh, somebody call the NEA.
The opera, with Deborah Raymond as Salome in tonight's performance, will be at 7:30 p.m., with a pre-show lecture by Dr. Kenneth Ryan at 7. Salome will show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday at the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $14 to $56. Call 791-4836 to charge tickets.
The show, directed by IT's high-energy Managing Director Susan Claassen, hits the stage singing at 8 tonight and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Tickets are $17.50 to $22.50. Call 882-9721 for tickets.
THE GOSPEL. The Gospel according to the Gospel Music Workshop of America is song, singing and song, in that order. And like their name, what they'll be putting out are gospel tunes in order to "perpetuate and advance gospel music," as they say. This delightful, cookin' group of interracial and interdenominational singers will lift you into the clouds as they sing some of the well-rooted gospel tunes this country has home grown for us.
Take in the music at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow night at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets through Dillard's or at the door are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for those tall voices under 12. Call 721-9454 for more information.
The monastery building itself is a glorious rammed-earth structure of beams and buttresses that is a delight to visit and an extraordinary place to meditate. The festivals at Holy Trinity support the building projects; you'll be able to see the men's quarters in progress, with roof and walls rising to the heavens. Seventy exhibitors will display fine arts and crafts, including quilts, carvings, stained glass and jewelry. Bring your hungry soul, because you can feed it with a variety of Mexican, Asian and American food. There'll be photo books detailing the 21-year history of the monastery, on display in the library. The museum, art gallery, bookstore and thrift shop also will be open, and there's music all day long.
Take the day and drive two miles south of St. David, between mile markers 302 and 303 on route 80 between Benson and Tombstone. The festival goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Heck, stay for mass at 5 p.m. and drive back with an angel on your shoulder. Call 720-4854 for more information.
SOCIAL GATHERING. Called the first annual Tucson Arts and Social Change Gathering, this event has its work cut out for a two-day get-together. And they're ready. With over 15 workshops, cultural workers, activists and artists are being called to "network, brainstorm, develop strategies and celebrate an emerging cultural change movement." They'll also show you how powerful the arts can be in this society, if we'd only let them. Quick somebody, call a few presidential candidates over to this group. Workshops, interactive arts projects and events for kids will all be part of this exciting cultural call to the community. Look for organizations like Third Street Kids, The Nuclear Resister, Tucson Peace Center and Food Not Bombs to lend their influential voices.
Registration starts at 8 a.m. today. A suggested donation of $15 includes breakfast, lunch and an evening performance. Gather at the Institute for Creative Studies (formerly known as the Downtown Performance Center), 530 N. Stone Ave. For more information e-mail Cdemocracy @ aol.com., or call 791-9359.
The performance takes place at 3 p.m. at Casas Adobes Congregational Church, 6801 N. Oracle Road. Admission is free, but a donation would be lovely. For more information call 292-0562.
The show, and the companion exhibit Christmas for the Park '95, which always features intriguing tree ornaments by Tucson artists, are both up at Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. For more information call 742-6455.
Stewart and O'Beirne play the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance at Hear's Music, Piney Hollow and Loco Records, $1 more at the door, with discounts available. Call 327-4809 to charge tickets.
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