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Opera comes to Loomis

Tickets still available for Thursday performance
By: Leah Rosasco, Loomis News Correspondent
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High Hand Fruit Sheds debuts a night of opera Thursday and Saturday to benefit a toddler battling leukemia. Students in the Opera Workshop at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) will perform Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera (The Pretend Garden Girl) at High Hand as a benefit for Jared McDaniel, a two-year-old battling leukemia. Scott Paris, High Hand owner, said when he learned that one of his tenants, Mike Duarte of Tre Vigne, had a relative whose two-year-old grandson was fighting leukemia, he wanted the event to benefit the little boy. “I saw a donation jar and I said ‘Here’s this opportunity, so let’s support Jared,’” Paris said. According to Paris, it has long been a goal to offer a space for community events within High Hand fruit sheds, including fundraisers. With a remodel of the space completed over the winter, Paris said he thinks the first event is a perfect fit for the space. “It’s a great opportunity for High Hand. I think it’s the start of more things to do here at the fruit sheds,” Paris said. Paris said the CSUS Opera Workshop’s performance is the first major performance at the fruit sheds, and he also believes this performance marks another first. “I think it’s the first time the opera has come to Loomis,” Paris said. He said in the future, the new space will also host gallery shows, small concerts and community events. “The location is central to the fruit packing sheds and it was remodeled specifically for this type of use,” Paris said. Paris said the opera performance is somewhat of a “test run” and the number of tickets will be limited to 150 for each of the two performances and will only be sold online. “We won’t be selling any tickets at the door, and that’s for quality control purposes,” Paris said. Michael Sokol, professor of voice and opera at CSUS, said because the Opera Workshop does not have a theater of its own and he is always in search of new and interesting venues. In the past the group has performed in a variety of locations, including art galleries and various borrowed theatres around the region. With the garden-themed opera, Sokol said he wanted to find a space that would reflect that. Sokol said the opera’s conductor, Pete Nowlen, told him about the Conservatory at High Hand where he had recently had lunch. “I went there to look at it and absolutely fell in love with the space,” Sokol said. The performance will feature a modified, comedic version of La Finta Giardiniera during the two High Hand shows. Written by Mozart at the age of 18, La Finta Giardiniera was his first opera, and according to Sokol, is unique in that it marks one of the few times in opera where the soprano and the tenor “go crazy.” “We’re used to sopranos having a mad scene,” Sokol said. “In this one they both do, and that’s something that rarely happens in opera.” Sokol said he and his student are thrilled that the concert will be a benefit for Jared. “We are all behind it,” Sokol said. Jared’s mother, Candace Cole, of Napa, said she and her husband were amazed when they heard that the event would be a fundraiser for Jared. “There are no words that can express our thanks,” she said. “Our eyes fill with tears knowing that people we don’t even know, who don’t even live near us, would do something so kind for our little boy.” "La Finta Giardiniera" What: CSUS Opera Workshop performance and fundraiser When: 7 p.m., tonight, Thursday, April 26, and Saturday, April 28 Where: High Hand, 3750 Taylor Road Cost: $25, online only Information: www.highhand.com