Several ways to get a taste of opera

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Opera Coeur d'Alene is offering three ways for fans to get ready for its upcoming production of "Carmen."

First is a free walk-in concert this Friday at The Coeur d'Alene Resort Plaza Courtyard, at 7 p.m. Some of the world class singers here for the opera will sing a preview of "Carmen." Come downtown for Art Walk and stay for free music.

Then, Saturday, there is a half day class from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fred Glienna, long-time Coeur d'Alene resident and opera fan, will be presenting one of his popular classes in Todd Hall (inside the North Idaho College library). It is designed for both experienced and beginning opera audiences, and will use recordings and video to show parts of various major productions, anecdotes and insights about the opera, and the people involved in its history. The class costs $25. For reservations or questions call (208) 661-4019.

Glienna has heard the work three times in the world's major opera houses, but is coming back to Coeur d'Alene because "... we have fresh voices and impressive talent."

With his accustomed wry outlook, Glienna quipped, "James Levine said, 'I want to save opera in America'"; then continued, "He hasn't yet made it to Idaho."

Finally, on Sunday at 5 p.m., "Eat. Drink. Breathe. Opera." is the title of a special, no-admission-charge dinner concert at Seasons of Coeur d'Alene, 209 Lakeside Ave., Coeur d'Alene. Order their unique fine cuisine from the menu and Opera Coeur d'Alene will get a portion of each dinner's costs. During dinner, "Carmen" artists Dawn Wolski, Heather Parker, Megan Marino as well as Opera Coeur d'Alene's General Director, Todd Robinson, will present a concert over dinner featuring numbers from the upcoming production.

Diners are encouraged to bring a friend to enjoy Seasons food, the companionship of fellow arts fans, and meet and hear some incredible singers. For reservations call (208) 664-8008. It is possible that a later sitting might be added.

All of these events are to help get ready for the opera itself, next week, which will feature Metropolitan Opera artists Sandra Piques Eddy, Raul Melo and Aaron St. Clair Nicholson. "Carmen" will be semi-staged, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 23 at 2 p.m., in NIC's Schuler Auditorium. There will be a free lecture one hour prior to each show and it will be sung in its original French, with English translation simultaneously projected overhead.

Tickets are available online at www.operacda.com or through the NIC Box Office, (208) 769-7780.

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