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Stringers: Formosa String Quartet performs at St. Luke's on Sunday.

Classical Moves

By Michael S. Gant

Sunset Concerts at St. Luke's The new slate of guest performers for the winter/spring season at St. Luke's starts with the Formosa String Quartet. The young ensemble (whose members all share a Taiwanese background) will perform Mozart's String Quartet in F Major and selections by Schubert and Brahms.

The most interesting work on the program promises to be Taiwan composer Shih-hui Chen's ethereal, skittering Mei Hua (Plum Blossoms) for String Quartet. Following the Formosa String Quartet in monthly installments at St. Luke's will be the La Catrina String Quartet (March 14), the Weilerstein Piano Trio (May 12) and Musica Pacifica (May 23). Sunday (Feb. 17) at 8pm; St. Luke's Church, 20 University Ave., Los Gatos; $10–$20; 408.354.4560.

West Bay Opera In a move designed to lift audiences out of their midwinter gloom, West Bay Opera presents Mozart's frothy Viennese funfest Cosi fan tutte, a delightful tale of trickery designed to snare some possibly straying lovers. Barbara Day Turner, known locally for her work at the helm of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, conducts a double cast. Douglas Nagel, often heard with Opera San José, directs. Friday–Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm (Feb. 15–24); Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; $15–$50; 650.424.9999.

Mission City Opera 'Tis the weekend for opera (see West Bay above and the Rigoletto review on page 63). Mission City Opera weighs in with Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which offers its lead some of most heart-breakingly beautiful arias in the repertoire. This production stars Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto and John Davey-Hatcher alternating with Raiña Simons and Kevin Courtemanche as Cio-Cio San and caddish Pinkerton. Friday–Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm (Feb. 15–24); Mission City Center for the Performing Arts, 3250 Monroe St., Santa Clara; $15–$35; 408.749.7607.

Palo Alto Philharmonic For Valentine's Day weekend, the orchestra has scheduled a program of Romantic music. Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs will be performed by soprano Paula Goodman Wilder, who has earned good notices at West Bay Opera (again, it's an opera weekend). Thomas Shoebotham will conduct Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 5. Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute, conducted by Lee Actor, rounds out the evening. Saturday at 8pm; Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; $8–$17;

American Beethoven Society The society, which is connected to the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at the King Library, hosts a performance by pianist Craig Sheppard, who will present some preludes and fugues from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier and Beethoven's Sonata in A-flat Major and the Appassionata. Saturday (Feb. 16) at 8pm; SJSU Concert Hall; $10–$20; 408.808.2058.

Academy of Ancient Music Hewing to the tried and true, harpsichordist Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music will perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 5, Handel's Concerto Gross in A Minor and Telemann's Concerto in A Major, all done on period instruments for this Lively Arts concert. Wednesday (Feb. 13) at 8pm; Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford; $22–$48; 650.725.ARTS.

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