MIX IT UP: ROCKTOPIA
Arrangers with a classical flair have loved toying with rock music since the inception of the genre. George Martin's orchestration of Beatles songs (In My Life and Eleanor Rigby) comes to mind. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra released an Elvis album. There are even orchestral arrangements of Rock Around the Clock.
Rocktopia Live has taken that concept a step further. Billed as a fusion of classical music and classic rock, the event is heavy on musicianship, of course, and adds five vocalists and a choir performing Queen, Mozart, Journey, Handel, U2, Tchaikovsky, Heart, Beethoven, Styx, Foreigner, Rachmaninoff, Pink Floyd, Aaron Copland, the Who and more.
Among the singers is Largo native Chloe Lowery, above. The singer-songwriter has toured with Yanni, jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 8 p.m. Saturday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Morsani Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $36 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
WORK IT OUT: COUPLES THERAPY
Music is therapeutic. It can calm crying infants, sharpen attention and stimulate memories. Mark Sforzini wants you to consider this, too — music might help your relationship.
The St. Petersburg Opera Company's artistic director gives presentations throughout the season on coming productions or opera enrichment. Like the high school teacher who teaches the Revolutionary War in a period costume, Sforzini is a bit of a ham. With "Couples Therapy," this month's lecture, he'll help couples from Pagliacci, La Traviata and The Magic Flute with their trust and communication and boundary issues.
"This particular presentation will be done like a skit where I play the role of the therapist," Sforzini said. Presentations start at 6 p.m. Thursday at Music Gallery, 5990 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater; and 11 a.m. Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE. $20, $17 seniors and students.
The company has themed Bella Voce, its annual gala, after Into the Woods, the summer musical (June 30-July 9). 7 p.m. Saturday at Opera Central, 2145 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $175 and up. A VIP reception ($300) starts at 5:30 p.m. at Studio 150, 150 22nd St. S. stpeteopera.org.
FIRST LADY OF SONG: ELLA FITZGERALD
The Florida Orchestra pays tribute to one of the greats this weekend with Singin' and Swingin': A Century of Ella. Grammy-winning vocalist Carmen Bradford, who has soloed with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Doc Severinsen Orchestra and George Benson, will perform Ella Fitzgerald favorites in this Pops concert. Jeff Tyzik conducts. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, 8 p. m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
REASONABLE MEANS: PAY WHAT YOU CAN
You don't have to break the bank to take in the stage this weekend. Here are some low-cost options.
The Florida Orchestra's final Woodson Chamber Concert, pay what you can, honors Jazz Appreciation Month. 3 p.m. Sunday at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The orchestra suggests an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, and early arrival to guarantee a seat.
It's also time for the Florida Orchestra's Spring Program. Principal harpist Anna Kate Mackle and principal percussionist John Shaw will explain their instruments and perform duets. The event includes story time for children preschool through second grade. Arrive early for art activities and an "instrument petting zoo." Concerts are at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd. Pay what you can. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.