+ Sarasota Ballet has a ‘royal’ sellout
British fever is contagious.
It started with the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton and now it’s spread to the Sarasota Ballet repertoire.
In all fairness to the ballet, the company became the unofficial ambassadors of England, when in 2008, New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay proclaimed it the “foremost exponent of Ashton ballets.”
It only makes sense that the company’s first triple bill of 2011, “A Right Royal Affair,” nearly sold out two weeks before its opening night.
The program, which includes Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Les Rendezvous,” Dame Ninette de Valois’ “The Rakes Progress” and Joe Layton’s “Grand Tour,” runs Feb. 4 through Feb. 6, at the FSU Performing Arts Center.
The only seats remaining are for 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6. To purchase tickets, call 359-0099 or visitwww.sarasotaballet.org.
+ Local photographer gives barns their due
Manatee County shutterbug Jerry Schroeder recently traveled the rolling hills and plains of the North Central United States snapping photos of barns so peaceful you’ll want to escape to Myakka at just the sight of the images.
The photos are on display now through Feb. 25, at the Manatee County Agricultural Museum.
In a fast-paced world brimming with big-box stores and shopping malls, Schroeder proves you don’t have to be raised in a barn to appreciate rustic simplicity.
For more information on the exhibit, call 721-2034.
+ Must hear: John Pizzarelli and all that jazz
We realize the Sarasota Jazz Festival is already well under way, but the weeklong music festival is far from over.
The 31st annual jazz-athon kicked off Sunday with a free concert at the Crosley Mansion featuring the young jazz ensemble Brute Force and continued into the week with Bill Allred, Tierney Sutton and brother/sister duo Stan and Katt Hefner.
Still to come: Don Scaletta and The Jazz Project performing its tribute to Stan Kenton at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, followed by local jazz legend Dick Hyman, together with bassist Nicki Parrott and banjoist Cynthia Sayer, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, at the Players Theatre. (Fun fact: Sayer has performed in Woody Allen’s New York City jazz band for 10 years.)
The festival ends on a high note with dapper jazz guitarist-and-singer John Pizzarelli in a concert presented in conjunction with the Sarasota Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
For tickets, call 366-1552 or 953-3434.
+ ‘Harry Potter’ illustrator will enchant you
It’s no secret that Sarasota is ripe with talent.
(If you don’t believe me, check out this week’s Diversions cover subject, Sarasota Senior Theater’s Bill Bordy).
Enter Sarasota resident and Harry Potter illustrator Mary GrandPré, who will speak Feb. 5, at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s Children’s Literature Symposium.
The conference, which is open to the public, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in the Selby Auditorium on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.
Find out what GrandPré has been up to since J.K. Rowling cranked out the final installment in her seven-book series.
General admission is $75. Faculty tickets are $50 and student tickets are $30. Be sure to hang around for the author/illustrator book signing.
For more information, visit www.childrensliteraturesymposium.org.
David Mamet’s ‘Race’ at FST: Sarasota legal eagles flocked last week to the premiere of Florida Studio Theatre’s production of “Race.” FST is the second regional theater in the country to produce David Mamet’s riveting legal drama, which closed this past August on Broadway. The show, directed by Richard Hopkins, runs through March 27, in the Gompertz Theatre. For tickets, call 366-9000 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org.
Sarasota Opera’s ‘La bohème’: What better way to spend Super Bowl weekend than to watch a tragic opera in four acts? Puccini’s “La bohème” opens Feb. 5 and runs through March 19, at the Sarasota Opera House. Singers Maria D’Amato and Harold Meers star as ill-fated lovers Mimi and Rodolfo. On another (high) note: fans of “Don Giovanni” (Feb. 12 to March 18) will get a chance to hang out with the production’s cast and crew at a special “Meet the Artists” preview at 5 p.m. Feb. 8, at the Opera House. For tickets, call 366-8450 or visit www.sarasotaopera.org.