Mozart began writing opera at a very young age, 12 to be exact, with a comical one-act singspiel – a kind of opera performed in sung/spoken format. Titled "Bastien & Bastienne," it tells a story of young love lost, then found. Just in time for Mozart’s January 27th birthday (his 249th), three area companies are offering a slice of Mozart mania.

Since "Bastien & Bastienne" focuses on young love, it is fitting that Boheme Opera New Jersey presents three young artists performing the piece, along with other assorted gems from Mozart’s repertoire, on January 22, at 8 p.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 465 Paxson Avenue, Hamilton. Featured will be soprano Eleanor Kiel, tenor Jack Zamboni, bass-baritone Eric Mihan (son of the Mihan who formerly owned the venerable English Shop on Nassau Street in Princeton), accompanied by pianist Jo-Ann Sciarrotta. For tickets call the Boheme Opera New Jersey box office at 609-581-7200. $25, open seating. Price includes a post-concert "Meet the Artists" reception.

Mozart Festival Opera Company performs Mozart’s "Don Giovanni" on Tuesday, January 25, at 7 p.m. at McCarter Theater. Fully staged and costumed, with chorus and orchestra of 40, the opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets are $42 to $48. Call 609-258-2787.

And, on Mozart’s actual birthday, Thursday, January 27, Mozart Opera Festival presents "Le Nozze di Figaro" (The Marriage of Figaro), at 8 p.m., at the State Theater in New Brunswick. This fast-paced tour de force of inspired comedy features some of Mozart’s most glorious music. It is sung in Italian with English supertitles and a pre-performance insight program is free with registration. Tickets are $25 to $50. Call 877-782-8311.

Opportunities

Please Participate

Patrons who eat dinner at the Lambertville Station Monday, January 24, can will also help support local and international disaster relief efforts. The waiters and waitresses of the Lambertville Station have offered to donate the evening’s tips to help three area families who lost their Lambertville homes to a fire over the holidays, and to provide relief to survivors of the tsunami that ravaged parts of Asia.

Just days before Christmas, a fire destroyed a four-unit apartment building on York Street in Lambertville, leaving 14 people without homes. Several of the displaced are employees of the Lambertville Station. "These people have lost everything," says Dan Whitaker, co-founder of the Lambertville Station. "Fortunately, we were able to give some of the employees who lost their homes in the fire temporary lodging at the Lambertville Station Inn, but the wait staff wanted to do more. They actually suggested donating their tips to help their co-workers get back on their feet. It just shows the level of camaraderie and solidarity that exists among our employees."

The Lambertville Station is located in the restored 19th century train station on the banks of the Delaware River, at 11 Bridge Street. For reservations and information visit www.lambertvillestation.com or call 609-397-8300.

VSA Arts of New Jersey offers free parent and child workshops in music, movement, and art for children with autism or autistic behaviors. Workshops will be held at Saturdays, February 5 to April 16 in New Brunswick. For information call 732-745-3885.

American Red Cross searches for good Samaritans. The deadline is January 31. Extraordinary acts, including life-saving actions, must have taken place between January 1 and December 31, 2004. The categories are adult (21 or older) or youth (under 21). Visit www.njredcross.org or call 215-946-4870.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 61 is conducting the advanced 10-week Coastal Navigation Coarse on January 31, from 7 to 9:15 p.m. for $85. and the five week advanced outing safety course beginning February 1. Courses are at Ewing Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Ewing. Call 609-883-1946 for information.

Eden Family of Services offers scholarships to graduating high school seniors. Deadline is April 11. Call 609-987-0099 for information.

Auditions

Roxey Ballet Company seeks dancers for "Cinderella." Auditions are Saturday, January 22, Canal Studios, 243 North Union Street, Lambertville. Ages 4 to 6, 2 p.m.; ages 7 to 9, 2:45 p.m.; ages 10 to 13, 3:30 p.m.; ages 14 and up, 4:15 p.m. Audition fee is $20. Visit www.roxeyballet.com or call 609-397-7616.

Mercer County College seeks dancers, three men and three women, for "The Unicorn, The Gorgon, and the Mantic Ore" with choreography by Jessica Moss. Auditions are Saturday, January 22, beginning at noon. For information call 609-731-2429.

Auditions for three children’s short plays will be held Saturday, January 29, from 1 to 3 p.m., and Tuesday, February 1, 7 to 9 p.m. at the West Windsor Library, 333 North Port Road. Performance dates for "The Slumber Party," "The Red Door," and "Red Writing Hood," are May 13, 14, and 15. Actors, both male and female, ages 10 through adult. Call Michael Kerr at 609-275-8901.

Kelsey Theater seeks a large cast of actors for "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Auditions are at Mercer County College’s Studio Theater in CM122, on January 22, noon to 5 p.m. Rehearsals begin February 19 and performances are May 13 to 15. For information call Nick Anselmo at 609-586-4800, ext. 3524.

Mercer County Performing Arts High School holds winter auditions on Wednesday, February 9, and Saturday, February 12. The program for high school juniors and seniors is for future actors, dancers, and vocal artists interested in combining their interests with traditional high school. Call 609-586-3550 for audition requirements and information.

Singers Invited

Community Christian Choirs, an interfaith group of spirit-filled Christian singers from Central New Jersey, is accepting singer of all ages and abilities from kindergarten through adults, for the upcoming season. Registration is on Friday, January 21 for children from 5 to 7 p.m. and for adults from 7 to 9 p.m. Also, Sunday, January 23, 1 to 3 p.m. For information visit www.ccchoir.com.

Lawrenceville Concertsingers invites singers to rehearse on Thursdays, 8 to 9 p.m. beginning on February 3. The spring concert will be held on May 15, 4 p.m. No audition is required.

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