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Karli Cadel
Mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz is Frida Kahlo in San Diego Opera's production of "El último sueño de Frida y Diego (The last dream of Friday and Diego)," shown in an Oct. 27, 2022 photo.

San Diego weekend arts events: Frida, dance, puppets and more

'El último sueño de Frida y Diego'

Opera, Music, Theater
San Diego Opera's world premiere of "El último sueño de Frida y Diego (The last dream of Friday and Diego)" is a gorgeous production. The story takes place on a Día de los Muertos after painter Frida Kahlo's death, when she returns to the world of the living for one day to paint again and reunite with her husband Diego Rivera. Composer Gabriela Lena Frank's score is astonishingly sweeping and cinematic at turns, but also subtle when needed. Instrumentation and musical cues for certain characters added texture and familiarity. Nilo Cruz's libretto — that is, the lyrics, which form the entire script in this case — is funny, endearing and approachable. The opera is sung in Spanish, with both Spanish and English supertitles above the stage.

Guadalupe Paz's Frida and Alfredo Daza's Diego are fantastic, and the two play the complicated lovers with well-nuanced power and magic. And the side characters shine: Catrina, "the keeper of the souls," and Leonardo, a fellow departed soul who wishes to return as Greta Garbo on Día de los Muertos both provide comedy and (ironically) humanity.

The opera bridges two worlds: the living and the dead, represented by beautiful, colorful sets. But other bridges emerge, too: between disability and suffering on earth and a pain-free afterlife, between pre-Hispanic Mexico and the realities of 20th century Mexico.

Check out KPBS reporter Beth Accomando's preview here.

Details: Two performances remain: 7:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 4 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. Tickets range from $19 to $295. Discounted rush tickets available two hours prior to the performance.

'Up Close and Personal'

Dance, Visual art, Photography
To coincide with their November performance, San Diego Dance Theater will show a photography exhibition dedicated to dance.

"Dis/Re-member" is Doug McMinimy's series of photographs of choreographer Khamla Somphanh's recent work, "Purposely Accidental." This work was on view at Art Produce about a year ago, but this time McMinimy will pair it with actual dance performances by San Diego Dance Theater artists and choreographers — including Somphanh.

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Doug McMinimy
Photographer Doug McMinimy's exhibition, "Dis/Re-member" features dancer Lauren Christie performing choreography by Khamla Somphanh. Undated image.

Other choreographers include Terry Wilson, Bernard Brown, Jean Isaacs, Lavina Rich and Odessa Uno. There are three performances, and the photography will be on view downstairs beginning approximately an hour and a half before each performance.

Details: Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov 6, 2022. Light Box Theater, 2590 Truxton Rd., Ste. 205, Liberty Station. $20-$30.

Bread and Puppet Theater

Theater, Puppetry, Visual art
"Our Domestic Resurrection Circus: Apocalypse Defiance" is the dramatic and slightly absurd title of this touring show from Vermont-based puppetry troupe Bread and Puppet Theater. It's co-presented locally by three San Diego performing arts organizations, Fern Street Circus, Animal Cracker Conspiracy and San Diego Guild of Puppetry, and it's a free, outdoor show in North Park. Bread and Puppet's productions are known to be spectacular, with giant puppets and masks, stilt walkers, music, dance and singing.

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Mark Dannenhauer
A 2022 Bread and Puppet Theater production is shown in an undated photo.

Bread and Puppet Theater's philosophy revolves around the idea that art and the theater is as essential as bread, and each show ends with a bread-breaking community exercise. Literal bread: sourdough rye served with aioli, plus a bunch of low-cost books, zines and art available for sale.

Details: 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. North Park Community Park, 4044 Idaho St., North Park. Free.

Portraits from the Anthropocene

Visual art
WE Gallery is a brand new, "project-based" gallery space located in Liberty Station's Dance Place. The gallery's inaugural exhibition is a group show dedicated to the climate emergency and the new era in geology defined by human impact.

Katie Ruiz Climate Change
Climate Change (2022) Katie Ruiz
Katie Ruiz's "Climate Change" will be on view at WE Gallery beginning Nov. 4, 2022.

"Portraits from the Anthropocene Part I: Body, Energy, Space, Time" is the inaugural exhibition, and features work from eight regional artists: Ellen Dieter, Shahla Dorfshan, Ajay Junious, Linda Litteral, Kathleen Kane Murrell, Kathy Nida, Katie Ruiz and Perry Vasquez.

Details: Opens from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. On view 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 14, 2023. WE Gallery at Mandel Weiss Gallery, 2650 Truxton Rd., Liberty Station. Free.

Roberto Salas: 'Old World/New World'

Visual art
Longtime artist Roberto Salas is known for his site-specific public artworks — including the still-standing late '80s reflective road sign installations along Park Blvd. In a new solo exhibition at the Bonita Museum, Salas examines indigenous iconography and ancestral traditions in the Kumeyaay people. These works are huge, and many include symbols of cooking and tools to prepare food — the heart of family and community.

The exhibition will open with a special festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Gathering of Nations includes performers, dancers, storytellers, craftspeople and more from around the world.

Details: On view Nov. 5 through Dec. 3, 2022. Bonita Museum and Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Rd., Bonita. Free.

'Welcome tu Las Californias'

Music, Visual art
Cross-border band Tulengua, featuring KPBS Port of Entry podcast host Alan Lilienthal, is launching a two-day music and art festival in Tijuana and Valle de Guadalupe. It's subtitled "A weekend with Tulengua & Friends," and that intimate branding pairs surprisingly well with the organizers' ambitious vision for future, bigger scale festivals on both sides of the border. The festival aims to "melt the borders between us" and uplift the border region's music and art. Performers include Joheel Rodmar, Lucid Juice, Sarayu, Sonido Gallo Negro, Tulengua and more.

For the Friday performance in Tijuana, the festival will offer a free, guided group to meet in San Diego and walk across the border and to the venue together.

Details: Two day festival: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at La Terraza, 1928 Flores Magón, Tijuana. $15+. 3 p.m. Nov. 5, 2022 at Bloodlust Wine Bar Restaurant, Doña Emilia LT 13-2 San Marcos, 22750 Ensenada. $25-$180 with dinner.

More weekend events we're covering

Check out our top five visual art exhibitions opening this month, including photographer Lisa Ross' "Elegy to a Uyghur Homeland," which opens at San Diego Museum of Art on Saturday.

The San Diego Asian Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs through Nov. 12. Plan your film viewing with Beth Accomando's preview here.

For more arts events, or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts Calendar. And be sure to sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter here.

Julia Dixon Evans writes the KPBS Arts newsletter, produces and edits the KPBS/Arts Calendar and works with the KPBS team to cover San Diego's diverse arts scene. Previously, Julia wrote the weekly Culture Report for Voice of San Diego and has reported on arts, culture, books, music, television, dining, the outdoors and more for The A.V. Club, Literary Hub and San Diego CityBeat. She studied literature at UCSD (where she was an oboist in the La Jolla Symphony), and is a published novelist and short fiction writer. She is the founder of Last Exit, a local reading series and literary journal, and she won the 2019 National Magazine Award for Fiction. Julia lives with her family in North Park and loves trail running, vegan tacos and live music.
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