Island Arts

Straight from India via San Jose, Rhythmix Cultural Works (RCW) presents Aki Kumar’s Bollywood Blues on Saturday, March 24. Kumar’s band demonstrates that down-home Chicago and Mississippi blues and Bollywood music have a lot in common and complement each other well. The evening will be further enhanced by delicious barbecue provided by Oakland Smoke Shack starting at 7 p.m.

Island City Opera has crowned its highly successful season with what is indisputably Vincenzo Bellini’s most accomplished opera, La Sonnambula. For nearly 200 years, La Sonnambula has enjoyed sustained success and popularity since its triumphal opening in Milan in 1831. In its premier performance, during the second act, the singers themselves wept. Although this is not tragic opera, you may find yourself dabbing your eyes.

This Saturday, Feb. 3, marks the fourth year of the Alameda Spelling Bee. The contest to prove the best student speller in town takes place at 9 a.m. at Otis Elementary School, 3010 Fillmore St., and is open to Alameda students in grades 4 through 9.

The top spellers receive trophies courtesy of Alameda Awards & Recognition and sponsorship to county-level competition courtesy of the Alameda Elks Lodge. 

Alameda Island Poets’ monthly free reading Wednesday, Feb. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m., will celebrate Black History Month with local poets Amos White and Wanda Sabir. 

White is an award-winning American haiku poet, author, producer, director and activist, recognized for his vivid literary imagery and breathless poetic interpretations. He has been published in several national and international reviews and anthologies. 

Island City Opera has attracted St. Petersburg, Russia, native Lidiya Yankovskaya to conduct its latest pair of operas by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. 

Yankovskaya lives in Chicago where she works as the music director for the Chicago Opera Theater. She has joined the Island troupe for a special appearance this season.

Yankovskaya began her studies on piano at the Russian Specialized Music Schools and as a singer in the St. Petersburg Children’s Choir.