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Thursday, April 20

The Beloved invasion has begun. Margaret Garner, Nobel Prize-winning novelist and Beloved author Toni Morrison's operatic adaptation opens tonight with none other than Denyce Graves in the title role. Latter-day abortion rights advocates have nothing on Marge, that's for sure, and Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour lends his talents to this newborn antebellum tragedy. If you haven't heard, Margaret and her infanticide are historic fact, a troubling moment in our heritage. Morrison's lecture, "Legacies for Today" warms up Belk Theater on Wednesday beginning at 8pm with a snip of the opera performed by students from University Park Elementary School -- and tickets are priced at $15-$55. Opera Carolina's production of Margaret Garner goes up at 7:30pm on Thursday, 8pm on Friday, and 2pm on Sunday, sung in English and all dressed up with supertitles. Opera tix are $15-$92. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Friday, April 21

Dr. Maha Gingrich, teacher and veteran performer of classical Indian dance, presents the annual Dances of India recital including performances of classical Indian dance styles and folk dances. The recital also features several international styles, including ballet and African. It's a blend of the traditional with a fusion of world dances accompanied by evocative rhythms and, of course, colorful costumes. The show begins at 4pm at Halton Theatre on the CPCC Central Campus. Tickets range from $5-$8. For more details or tickets, call 704-330-6534. (Shukla)

Friends, Countrymen, Scots! Gather 'round and stake your claim as the best Scotsman in the 13th Loch Norman Highland Games. This ain't Mel Gibson's Braveheart, surely. Although with competitions including Battle Ax and Long Bow Archery, you would be prepared to fight alongside William Wallace. Thankfully, there's also dancing, music, stories, wine and food. The games begin today with dinner at Historic Rural Farm, 4431 Neck Road in Huntersville and continue through Sunday. Tickets range from $5-$15; children 9 and under get in free. For a schedule of events, go to www.ruralhillfarm.org or call 704-875-3113. (Calloway)

Last August, David G. Holland brought his portrayal of Prospero to the Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, ultimately winning CL's Best Comedy Actor award for his epic troubles. Now he's back in the new Charlotte Classic Theatre production of King Lear, pumping iron and priming himself for the climactic Act 5 moment when he lifts his 100-pound Cordelia. Of course, we don't want Lear to be too strong. Watching him buckle under the massive weight of his woes is the paramount pleasure Shakespeare delivers in his mightiest tragedy -- with a full measure of man's wickedness and nobility on the side. At 1118 Clement Ave. through May 13; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm. Call 704-455-8542. (Tannenbaum)

ATTENTION DRIVERS OF LATE-MODEL STOCK CARS! Lowe's Motor Speedway presents the inaugural Circle K Colossal 100 this weekend. With 36 cars going for the checkered flag and a $200,000 purse, it's no wonder this event is billed as "colossal." Group time trials and heat races will be held tonight followed by two qualifying sets and the 100-lap main event on Saturday. Gates open at 4pm; track action starts at 6:30pm each night. Reserved two-day tickets: $49 adults, $19 children 12 and under; two-day pit passes $60. For more info, call 1-800-455-FANS or go to www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. (Calloway)

It doesn't get much better than this when it comes to local music in the QC. The Houston Brothers are back onstage tonight at Neighborhood Theatre ending a lengthy hiatus, and brothers Justin and Matt Faircloth are eager to introduce us to their newly expanded musical family: Mark O'Brien from $2 Pistols on bass, Chris Walldorf from Pyramid on drums, Vance Carlisle from the Gold Coast on keys and guitar and Tanja Bechtler from the Charlotte Symphony on cello. Simply put, the brothers made an awesome duo, so the fact that they're a six-piece ensemble now could be friggin' amazing. Expect a balanced mix of moody and warm acoustics with laid-back harmonies accompanied by their staple pedal steel guitar and brushed drums. Opening the show is the Sammies, arguably the biggest buzz band in town at the moment. Doors open at 8pm; showtime 9pm. Tickets cost $8. For more info, call the theatre at 704-358-9298. (Farris)

Saturday, April 22

Charlotte Philharmonic will trip the French fantastic at Hickory Grove Baptist Church with an elegantly themed concert they're calling Phantom of the Opera. Aside from the Lloyd-Webber medley, we linger in Paris, where Belgian-born César Franck composed his Symphony in D Minor during his final years. We're still in the neighborhood as the Phil prances through excerpts from Beauty and the Beast (Belle and Gaston, right?), returning home for Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." Not enough? Toss in a multimedia presentation and the 200-voice Hickory Grove Choir joining the orchestra in "The Battle Hymn of Republic." Tickets are just $25. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Newfoundland's Great Big Sea merges traditional Celtic and folk music into rock & roll with an evolved sense of melody and warm harmony. They create memorable sing-along tunes with the added perk of bodhran, bouzouki, mandolin and fiddle. Their latest recording, The Hard and the Easy is a return to roots with songs from their native land layered with acoustic treatments. The show begins at 8pm in the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square. Tickets range from $17.50-$22.50. Details at 704-372-1000. (Shukla)

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