Worth a Look

This week's A&E highlights

This week, take an international journey through the music of East of the River, get your giggles on with Los Altos Stage Company's "Fox on the Fairway," and revel in the beauty of the Peninsula Symphony's holiday concert.


East of the River

Imagine traveling from England to Italy, through the Balkans to Armenia and on to the Middle East -- all in one evening. That's the journey planned for Nov. 21, when San Francisco's acclaimed early music ensemble East of the River comes to Palo Alto. The quintet features Balkan violin, recorder, percussion and kanun, a Middle Eastern zither. Their program, "Levantera: Medieval music of the Mediterranean, Balkans, Armenia and the Middle East," is named for an east-blowing wind and is designed as an evening of continuous music of the 14th century. Most songs are drawn from the group's latest album of the same name.

Among the pieces they'll play are an early English score that's one of the earliest examples of written counterpoint and an Italian "estampie" or virtuoso solo dance. The group will also perform sacred Armenian chants transposed for instruments. The evening concludes with a group of haunting folk dances from Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

East of the River brings "Levantera" to Palo Alto's First Lutheran Church (600 Homer Ave.) on Friday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 general, $32 for seniors and $30 for SF Early Music Society members. Season subscriptions are also available. For tickets, go to sfems.org or call 510-528-1725.


'Fox on the Fairway'

If the Marx Brothers make you giggle and Charlie Chaplin gets you chuckling, you'll want to head over to the Los Altos Bus Barn in the coming weeks, where Los Altos Stage Company presents the madcap farce, "The Fox on the Fairway." Written in 2010 by Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig, the play follows the antics of the members of two competing country clubs (Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel) engaged in a hotly contested golf tournament, as well as some sticky romantic entanglements. Go expecting physical comedy, golf vernacular, bawdy jokes aplenty and a pair or two of argyle socks.

"Fox on the Fairway" runs now through Dec. 14 at the Bus Barn Theater (97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos) with shows Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $18 to $32. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to losaltosstage.org or call 650-941-0551.


Peninsula Symphony Holiday Concert

As November comes to a close, the holiday concert season begins in earnest. This Friday, Peninsula Symphony and the Stanford Symphonic Chorus kick off the musical festivities with an evening of joyous song at Stanford's beautiful Memorial Church (450 Serra Mall).

Mitchell Sardou Klein conducts the Peninsula Symphony, and Stephen Sano directs the choir of more than 150 singers in this beloved annual concert. The program includes Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 52 (popularly known as "Lobgesang" or "Hymn of Praise"), Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Greensleeves," Gustav Holst's "Christmas Day" and excerpts from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Sopranos Tonia D'Amelio and Amy Kyung Min Lee and tenor Jonathan Smucker will be featured.

The concert opens on Friday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. A second performance takes place Sunday, Nov. 23 at 1:30 pm. Tickets are $20 general admission. Discounted season subscriptions are also available. Go to peninsulasymphony.org or call 650-941-5291.

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