The San Diego Opera just announced the lineup for its 51st season. The schedule offers a lot of what you might expect from any opera: a couple Puccinis and a world premiere boasting what the U-T calls a “first-rate cast.” Still, it seems like business as usual with the upcoming season’s offerings.

Good thing, then, that there are other opera companies in the city that are more willing to attempt alternative performances, like Opera NEO and now City Opera, which just opened this month.

City Opera is a new “artist-driven” company that will focus on reimagining the art form for modern audiences, according to its site. Started by Cynthia Stokes and Corey Hibbs, the company promotes itself as being sustainable, adventurous, forward-thinking and educational. City Opera’s website gave us a little bit of insight on how exactly the company will follow that mission:

City Opera champions new and contemporary works in English, works by American composers, non-traditional repertoire, and fundamental re-conceptualizations of standard operas. With an emphasis on community building, we tell stories through music that are rooted in our unique citizenry.

Interesting. Stokes, a director, and Hibbs, a composer, writer and performer, have a long history and impressive background, so it will be exciting to see how this new company plays out. Calls and emails to Stokes and Hibbs were not immediately returned, but we’re looking forward to seeing what they put out.

This could mean a new era for local opera, especially for those who worried the San Diego Opera’s near-death experience would signal the end of the art form in San Diego. If opera-makers are willing to take a stab at building a new company, even as many arts organizations weather budget cuts, abruptly shortened seasons and low ticket sales, then that means there’s still some fight to keep arts alive.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

La Jolla Murals, Thumprint Gallery’s New Endeavor and More Visual Art News

Murals of La Jolla recently installed its latest public piece, the scintillatingly named “Sexy Cash” by Mark Bradford. Before you go thinking it’s a nudie shot of sorts, the mural is an abstract critique of real estate advertisements.

Thumbprint Gallery is going into the movie business, sort of. An Instagram post from gallery owner Paul Ecdao showed a sign for the Thumbprint Gallery Indie Film Society with an emoji caption reading “soon.” Yes, I just had to report an emoji. (Ecdao’s Instagram account, @ecdaoplasm, is set to private. If you don’t want to risk rejection by requesting to follow, we understand.)

The Jacobs Center for Innovation announced Gill Sotu as its artist-in-residence. The multidisciplinary artist will be working on projects involving spoken word, poetry, playwriting and performance for the next two years (Full disclosure: I work for the Jacobs Center). (What’s New in The Village)

Operatic Nixon, Adams Avenue Unplugged and More Music and Performance Bits

Richard Nixon adamantly denied being a crook, resulting in countless impersonations. KPBS tells us that Nixon can also be an awesome piece of modern opera.

The San Diego Opera went and got itself a new director (KPBS). Welcome David Bennett, who is making his way here from NYC’s Gotham Chamber Opera. San Diego Story also looks into what the new hire will bring to the table.

The La Jolla Symphony and Chorus is going where few dare venture. (KPBS)

There’s a new sheriff in town at San Diego Theatres, the nonprofit that manages the Balboa Theatre and Civic Theatre. Elizabeth Doran plans to spruce up local development and programming.

The lineup for Adams Avenue Unplugged, a two-day acoustic music fest in Normal Heights, has just been released. Get groovin’ to artists like Hot Buttered Rum and Anais Mitch on April 25-26.

What’s on the Airwaves, New Digs for Latino Film Fest and More Culture Cookies

Some big scheduling changes at KPBS made some listeners upset. First world problems, am I right? CityBeat reports that while those changes were necessary, there’s opportunity for some exciting new shows to make their way onto local airwaves, thanks in part to the popularity of podcasts.

A new venue and programming team has spelled success for the San Diego Latino Film Festival. (KPBS)

Not that we need an excuse to go to Baja, but if you have a gringo friend still on the fence, San Diego Red offers nine things to get you excited about spring in Baja as well as San Diego.

So what do we have to look forward to this spring in visual art, dance, theater, classical music and pop/jazz? The U-T lays out its picks.

Alex Zaragoza

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts and culture in San Diego and Tijuana. She also writes the column "There...

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