C-VILLE Arts Beat: Top Picks for May 8-May 14


Friday 5/11
and Sunday 5/13
Pop opera
Due to his untimely demise, Georges Bizet never got to experience the success of his four-act tragic opera Carmen, now one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. Popularity has given way to many productions, and the recently formed Lyric Opera Virginia is staging the accessible “jewel box” version. Devotees of the form may “tsk” at the 90-minute alternative, but with artistic director Peter Mark (who has been presenting quality opera for over 36 years) at the helm, we’ll be tapping in time to the “Toreador Song.” $35-56 (Bring your mom for free), 5/11 at 8pm and 5/13 at 2:30pm. The Paramount Theater, 109 Second St. SE, Downtown Mall, 970-1333.

Photo credit: Cory Wiseman

“Gorgeous, raw, strange, and sincere,” The Black Swans join the Tom Tom Founders Festival at The Haven. (Photo:Cory Wiseman)

Songs for a swan
The Black Swans (above) has matured their unique folk sound over the past eight years while experiencing some cosmic highs and lows. Their fifth full-length album, Occasion For Song, due out in July deals with the death of founding member and violinist Noel Sayre. Critically acclaimed by Pitchfork and Paste, these seekers, led by former balloon-animal artist and talented songwriter Jerry DiCicca, ride the road for over 200 shows a year. Catch the trajectory when The Black Swans brings its existential, melancholy song—glimmering with hope—to the Tom Tom Fest. $20-55, 4pm. The Haven, 112 W. Market St., 973-1234.

Are you experienced?
The Festy Experience expands its reach with a Downtown show featuring ascending acts Sarah White & the Pearls, Sons of Bill and headliners The Infamous Stringdusters. The high-energy line-up promises the infectious good-time vibe that has become synonymous with the Festy name. The gig celebrates the 40-year success of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports and benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge. Hear the ‘Dusters new album Silver Sky under the big top and help out some little siblings. $2.50-5, 6pm. nTelos Wireless Pavilion, East end of the Downtown Mall, 800-CPAV-TIX.


Left feet abound in Stepping Out when former professional chorus girl Mavis attempts to teach a class of bumbling amateurs some terpsichorean (Google it) skills for an upcoming recital. Hilarity ensues when Mavis and her crew work to overcome their inhibitions and socio-economic differences in a low-rent dance studio. The rollicking comedy extracts hysterical hiccups from the plotline and the audience alike. $12-16, 8pm. Four County Players, 5256 Governor Barbour St., Barboursville, (540) 832-5355.
Four County Players tickle your funny bone and your toes in the frown-proof production of Stepping Out.