Get An Early Start On That Spring Fling

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There is a wide array of activities throughout Arizona this weekend, so get an early start on that spring fling. Go to the opera, take in one of the best arts festivals in the country, tour the historic homes of the Globe area or tour an even more historic site at Wupatki National Monument or kick up your heels in Renaissance fashion at the annual Renaissance Fair in Apache Junction.

Arizona Opera presents Aida

Verdi’s dramatic masterpiece returns to Arizona Opera after a 13-year absence. Performances are March 9-11 in Phoenix.

Arizona Opera is pulling out all the stops for Giuseppe Verdi’s epic 1871 masterpiece Aida.  Set in ancient Egypt, the much-loved Italian opera is packed with everything from massive sets and a grand processional with animals to a classic love triangle and unforgettable melodies (“Celeste Aida,” “Ritorna vincitor”).

Arizona Opera’s production of Aida promises to thrill opera aficionados and newbies alike. “Aida is about both spectacle and great singing,” said Arizona Opera General Director Scott Altman. 

Sopranos Lisa Daltirus and Mary Elizabeth Williams are double-cast in the demanding title role of the captive Ethiopian princess. Tenor Arnold Rawls follows up last season’s great success in Arizona Opera’s production of Turandot with the part of Radames, the Egyptian captain secretly in love with Aida. Mezzo-sopranos Daveda Karanas (an ASU alumna) and Dana Beth Miller share the role of the Egyptian king’s daughter Amneris. Bass-baritone Kevin Short makes his Arizona Opera debut as Aida’s father Amonasro.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 and 2 p.m., Sunday, March 11 at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 North 2nd Street, Phoenix. Ticket prices begin at $25 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets by calling 1-800-982-2787 or visiting online www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available through the Arizona Opera Box Office from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. at (602) 266-7464 in Phoenix or www.azopera.org.

42nd Scottsdale Arts Festival

March 9–11, 2012

Friday/Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Scottsdale Arts Festival is known for showcasing thousands of works of art in every imaginable style, but Texas artist Natalie Irish is sure to turn heads this year with her eye-popping celebrity portraits created with lipstick and hundreds of her carefully planted kisses.

Irish will be in residence during the three-day festival on March 9–11 exhibiting her works and demonstrating her unconventional artistic technique that recently has attracted international headlines from The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Time, Glamour and Daily Mail. The YouTube video of Irish at work on a portrait of Marilyn Monroe has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

Born in New Orleans in 1982, Irish has lived and worked in the Houston area most of her life. Beginning in 2001, she pioneered the painting technique of applying lipstick and kissing a canvas to create an image. She has had solo exhibitions in Houston and Dallas, and her work has been shown in the Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, Mo., and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in London.

Returning by popular demand, the gourmet mobile eateries of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition will serve up delicious international cuisine at the festival. The award-winning three-day festival will feature an expanded roster of a dozen local food trucks, including Buzznbeez Good Food, Epic Hot Dogs, Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food, Jamburritos Cajun Grill Express, Luncha Libre, Mojo Bowl, Pin-Up Pastries, Riteway Catering Company, Spice it Up, Sweet Republic, Tom’s BBQ and Whiskey Ranch BBQ & Wood-Fired Pizzas. Also on the menu will be tastings of fine wines and beers courtesy of Young’s Market Company, cocktails and weekend happy-hour specials.

Named one of the top arts festivals in the nation by the readers of AmericanStyle Magazine and “Best Arts Festival” by Phoenix New Times, the Scottsdale Arts Festival showcases nearly 200 jury-selected artists from throughout the United States and Canada, live music and entertainment on two stages, creative activities for children and families at Imagine Nation and much more.

The Scottsdale Arts Festival takes place on the beautiful grounds of Scottsdale Civic Center Park. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and free for children 12 and under. Additional information is available online at www.ScottsdaleArtsFestival.org or through (480) 499-TKTS (8587).

The Scottsdale Arts Festival is presented by Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts with support from SRP Earthwise Energy, 99.9 KEZ and City of Scottsdale.

Historic Home and Building Tour

The 28th annual Historic Home and Building Tour is planned March 10-11, 2012 in Globe. The event is sponsored by the Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce and features stops at several territorial-day homes and historic buildings in Globe. This year the tour includes a special visit to the historic Globe Cemetery, along with stops for an antique show and quilt show.

Tours leave from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days from the train depot in downtown Globe, a delightfully restored building that sets the tone for this year’s tour.

One of the highlights of this year’s tour will be a territorial day boarding house located just outside the old downtown. The building was built in the late 1890s and boasted several uses before becoming a private family home in 1950s. It is amazingly intact with the many outside doors and windows from the original boarding house structure. The building is undergoing renovation, but the owner has fallen in love with its unique character and is working to keep that flavor. The property includes a storage cave literally carved out of the stone mountain behind the house, as well as an original outhouse carved in stone.

One of the early day adobe buildings in downtown Globe is a small house that now houses the guest house and studio for a local artist. The home is beautifully furnished in period pieces. A window on the outside wall allows visitors to see the adobe underneath, as the building is in such good repair visitors find it hard to believe it is adobe.

Other stops at homes in this historic mining town will give visitors a taste of how our territorial day residents live.

And as for how they rested after death? This year’s tour includes a trip through the old Globe Cemetery. Imagine the hearse climbing the dusty hills above Globe; see the resting place of early day Apache Scout Al Seiber and Glenn Reynolds, a sheriff killed by Apaches. The Masons, the Elks and the Oddfellows all had special plots in the cemetery for their members. History buffs won’t want to miss this special part of the tour.

These are just a few of the stops planned for this year’s tour. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Courtesy of the many volunteers who staff this tour, visitors will be driven to each stop, where they are invited to hear from hosts and hostesses about the history of that particular stop.

The Gila County Historical Society will have its annual antique show both days at the Globe High School, which will have its new Hall of Fame open for the weekend. The first class to attend all four classes at the then-new Globe High School graduated in 1912.

The Copper Country Quilters Guild will have guild members on hand to show the special quilts on display at their annual Pieces of Friendship show at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts; and while you’re there, try and visualize how lovely the opportunity quilt will look in your home… then buy a ticket!

The Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual Home Tour. For more information, call (928) 425-4495 or toll-free 800-804-5623. More information is available at the chamber website, www.globemiamichamber.com.

Arizona Renaissance Festival, Apache Junction

Weekends, now through April 1; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

One of the nation’s largest and most picturesque Renaissance Festivals is now creating merriment below the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. Leave your cares behind as you cheer for brave knights and roam a 30-acre festival village filled with castles, cottages and pubs, and 12 stages of nonstop performances of music, dance and comedy. Foolish pleasures mix with artisan treasures as you shop, eat, and revel with a cast of nearly 2,000 colorfully costumed characters.

The festival takes place east of Apache Junction on U.S. Highway 60, just east of Gold Canyon Golf Resort.

Tickets can be purchased at Fry’s stores statewide; $20, adults and $10, children 5 to 12; admission is $2 more when purchased at the Festival gate, except for seniors. Discount senior tickets (60 and older) are $19 at the gate.

Tickets and festival information is available online at RenFestInfo.com 

Wupatki National Monument guided Discovery Hikes

Join a guided hike, and discover for yourself what makes Wupatki National Monument a unique and beautiful place.

Hikes begin at noon every Saturday through March 31. Reservations are required as space is limited. Please call (928) 679-2365 to reserve a space.

Hikes are moderately difficult and last 3 hours. Visit the Web site www.nps.gov/wupa for a detailed hike schedule.

The Visitor Center at Wupatki National Monument is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and all trails are open from sunrise to sunset. Entrance is $5 per person age 16 and over. America the Beautiful passes are honored and sold. There is no additional fee for the hike.

Wupatki National Monument is located 34 miles north of Flagstaff via Highway 89. Allow one hour to drive from Flagstaff to the Wupatki Visitor Center. For more information about Wupatki, please call (928) 679-2365 or visit www.nps.gov/wupa.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The Arboretum is an Arizona State Park located at Highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, 55 miles due east of Phoenix. The drive takes about two hours from Tucson via highway 79 North through Florence to highway 60 — then turn right and continue east another twelve miles.

Guided general tours of the main trail start from the visitor center at 11 a.m. and are offered daily continuing through April 30. They’re included with daily admission of $9 for adults or $4.50 for ages 5-12.

There is a Tree Tour at 1:30 p.m. on the third Sunday each month through April. Learn about the Arboretum’s collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more.

Phoenix Symphony gets soulful with Motown's Greatest Hits

The Phoenix Symphony continues the 2011/2012 APS Pops Series with a soulful performance of Motown's iconic songs.

With the help of Tituss Burgess, Joy Lynn Matthews and Ramona Keller, Resident Conductor Joseph Young and The Phoenix Symphony will perform the Motown hits that revolutionized America's music culture during the 60s with Billboard top singles by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Jackson 5 and many more.

Tituss Burgess, known for his outstanding tenor voice, made his 2005 Broadway debut in Good Vibrations. His extensive performance experience includes Broadway hits like Guys and Dolls, The Little Mermaid and Jersey Boys. He also starred in many shows touring the country including: The Wiz and Abelard and Heloise.

In the Broadway productions of Marie Christine and a Ragtime revival, Joy Lynn Matthews proved to have incredible vocal capabilities and acting chops. Matthews' repertoire includes performances in the Broadway hits The King and I, Man of La Mancha and West Side Story.

Known for her dynamic performance and vocal range, Ramona Keller, a soprano, has performed on the "Great White Way" three times. She established herself as a strong force in Broadway with incredible productions like Caroline or Change and BKLYN The Musical.

Part of the APS Pops Series: Motown's Greatest Hits is partially sponsored by US Bank and Ellen and Howard Katz. The performances will be held at Symphony Hall on March 16 at 8 p.m. and March 18 at 2 p.m. The March 17 performance will be held at the Orpheum Theatre at 8 p.m.

Tickets for Motown's Greatest Hits start at $18 and can be purchased by calling The Phoenix Symphony Box Office at (602) 495-1999 or by visiting www.phoenixsymphony.org.

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