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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Model city

Now this is a community event I can get behind.

Over the weekend of January 10-12, the city of Modesto in California’s Central Valley is hosting an all-Jane-Austen-all-the-time event called, naturally, JaneCon.

The centerpiece of the weekend is the local opera company’s two performances of Mansfield Park, British composer Jonathan Dove’s operatic adaptation of the novel. Blog readers will recall that this 2011 piece, originally written for two pianists performing on a single instrument, had its American professional premiere in Indiana in 2016; the Modesto version is being billed as the first U.S. production of an orchestrated version.

But the opera is only one element of the weekend, which will also include a couple of costume parades, a showing of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, country dance lessons, a Regency arcade with vendors and booths, and a series of talks on everything from Regency clothing to the great Firth v. Macfadyen Darcy debate.

Plans call for JaneCon to be the first in a series of annual opera-and-literature tie-ins, via a program called Story Into Song. Sounds like yet another reason to visit California in January.

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