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Up, Up and Away ~ The Jewelry Box ~ Ifigenia in Aulide ~ November Poetry

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Sarah Cahill talks with seven-time Grammy Award-winning duo Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., who are returning to San Francisco for three performances of their show Up, Up and Away, on Friday November 30 and Saturday December 1 at Feinstein’s at the Hotel Nikko (222 Mason St.). 

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., are the original stars and lead singers of the internationally-renowned vocal group The 5th Dimension, which scored numerous hits in the ‘60s and ‘70s. With their show, which includes a mix of R&B, gospel, jazz, blues and pop, McCoo and Davis celebrate their multifaceted 45-year career and also pay tribute to fellow music legends. 

We talk to Bay Area actor, comedian and playwright Brian Copeland about his show The Jewelry Box, which runs through December 15 at The Marsh in San Francisco (1062 Valencia St.). Directed by David Ford, this hilariously heartwarming holiday story follows a young Brian as he heads to the “mean streets” of Oakland to buy his mom a Christmas present. When he finds the perfect gift - a jewelry box in the White Front Department store -  six-year-old Brian sets out to earn the required $11.97 by Christmas. 

Also stopping by is executive artistic director Céline Ricci from Ars Minerva, a five-year-old nonprofit that specializes in resurrecting forgotten operas from the Italian Baroque. Their fall presentation, Ifigenia in Aulide by Venetian composer Giovanni Porta (c. 1677 - 1755), plays on November 30 and December 1 (7:30pm), at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Harpsichordist and conductor Derek Tam, who leads these performances, will join the conversation. 

Based on Euripedes’ tragedy, Iphigenia in Aulis, Porta’s opera dramatizes an episode during the Trojan War when King Agamemnon is compelled to sacrifice his daughter Ifigenia to the goddess Diana so that the Greek army may set sail for Troy. The opera was a rousing success at its premiere at the 1738 Carnival in Munich, where Porta lived and worked during the last years of his life. The performances by Ars Minerva will be the opera’s first staging since the premiere. 

Plus, Open Air’s regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, reflects on the month of November, which takes us from The Day of the Dead and Armistice Day through Thanksgiving, with engaging poetic musings that capture the spirit of the month and the spirit of place. 

Open Air with guest host Sarah Cahill, heard live on Thursday, November 29, at 1pm. Listen now or anytime…