Skip to main content Skip to main content

Walnut Creek Magazine

Family Concert by Diablo Symphony and Festival Opera

The Diablo Symphony and Festival Opera present a new mini-opera based on African stories of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. Also featured is Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with Yen Liang Young Artist Competition winner Minna Fu

The Diablo Symphony Orchestra joins forces with Festival Opera on April 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lesher Center for the Arts in a coproduction of the new mini-opera Tales from the Briar Patch, inspired by traditional African stories. In this 30-minute operatic treat by composer Nkeiru Okoye and librettist Carman Moore, Sister Sparrow (a silly show-off), Sister Robin (the practical one) and Madame Partridge (the bossy one) retell the antics of the famous archenemies Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. Paying tribute to the African tradition of storytelling for all ages, Okoye’s score blends jazz, blues, and gospel styles with contemporary musical sounds, and Moore’s text is filled with both humor and wisdom. The characters are portrayed by tenor Marcus J. Paige, baritone Omari Tau, soprano Shawnette Sulker, mezzo-soprano Aisha Campbell, and soprano Leberta Lorál.

Setting the stage is the concert’s toe-tapping and energetic first half, featuring Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” and George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Described as a “rhythmic potpourri,” Berstein’s overture delivers a succession of themes at breakneck speed, all of which join in a riotous conclusion. And, beginning with its now-iconic glissando in the clarinet, Gershwin’s work for piano and orchestra—with its melodies inspired by jazz, ragtime, and rhythm and blues—reaches out to audiences of all ages. At the piano is 15-year-old Minna Fu, this season’s Yen Liang Young Artist Competition winner. A resident of Pleasanton, Fu has won multiple national piano competitions, and was invited to perform in the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in 2019.

Date & Time

April 2, 2023

2:00PM - 3:15PM


Lesher Center for the Arts - 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, CA, 94596 1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek 94596 CA US

Get Directions

More Info

Event Website


Adults, $40; Youth 13-17, $10; Children 12 and under Free; Senior Group Discount for groups of 10 or more, $30 per person

Nightlife & Entertainment Kids & Family concert, youth concert, children's concert, music, family orchestra short opera Danville California Walnut Creek California Contra Costa County East Bay Northern California Lafayette California Alamo Californa Pleasant Hill California Concord California