Image: Notes on Music and other artistic diversions

A new year is with us and a hopeful new world is opening. Let's make it the best we can and if you haven't chalked up any impressive resolutions yet, here's your chance: the Free New Year's Resolution Wall, sponsored by PNC Arts Alive, is still intact at the Kimmel Center through Jan. 14, a chance to record for public viewing your desires and dreams.  Broad and Spruce.  •

Still eager to  rejoice in Christmas decor? Two important opportunities are yours. Winter in Franklin Square continues daily from 10 a.m. to 9  p.m. through Jan. 10, then closing at 6 p.m. until Feb. 28, free entry but with moderate charges for carousel rides and mini-golf. 200 N. 6th St. with its landmark fountain.  215-599-0776.  For a daily-long jaunt, try Holidays in Peddler's Village with its more than 60 stores  and a million dazzling lights, plus a light tunnel and 125 different  gingerbread creations. Through Jan. 10 at 2400 Street Rd., New Hope, PA. 215 794-794-4000 or •

Something very new for the new year is Baby Bea, the recently arrived  young giraffe who moved here from Knoxville to join well-known giraffe residents in the Phladelphia Zoo's African Plains exhibit,18 year old Stella and 11 year old Abigail, three genuine animal stars.  34th St. and Girard Ave.,  215-243-1100 or •

A rare event these days is live opera but as always we can count on Amici Opera to keep those arias coming. On their current schedule is DeKoven's "Robin Hood' in English on Jan. 9 at 4 p.m., and Mancinelli's rarity, "Paolo e Francisca" in Italian on Jan. 10 at 3 p.m., Jan. 16 at 4 p.m., performed by young operatic hopefuls with piano accompaniment. Masks required, hand sanitizer available and social distancing is a certainty. Redeemer United Methodist Church, 1128 Cottman Ave.  215-224-0257. •

How about a free evening of star gazing in the company of Derrick Pitt at the Franklin Institute, a virtual "Night Skies at Home" with the Museum's chief astronomer showing us how to recognize planets, stars, constellations and the International Space Station. Jan. 7, 7:45 p.m. franklininstitute or 215-448-1200.  •

            Reading has become an enormous hobby and pastime during the current quarantine requirements and the book industry has boomed as a result  and our city's book stores are jubilant and our libraries are once again offering pick-up of reserved books at curbside. Also helpful  is the second edition of local author Irene Levi Baker's "100 Things To Do in Phila. Before you Die", an ominous title but the contents are far more jovial and entertaining with such recommendations as shopping and dining throughout the city and suburbs along  with such suggestions as the Love Statue,  Reading Terminal Market, various museums and historic buildings and more. Check your favorite book seller or local library.  • 

The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre continues its monthly exploration of the Bard's unequaled writings, guided by Artistic Director Carmen Kahn. Virtual Lessons are weekly and include taped past performances, live commentary and other information. "Julius Caesar" is the January program, followed in February by "Othello".  Dates and times at  or 215-496-9722.  •

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society opens its new year on Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. with violist Hsin-Yun Huang and pipa performer Wu Man in "Strings of Soul", music for strings; BalletX, the city’s well-known contemporary dance company,  performs  on Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. with the Calidore Quartet and cellist Zlatomir Fung in works by Schubert, Clyne and Puts.  And on Jan. 12, the Curtis Chamber Orchestra with guest artists Pamela Frank, violin, and Tabea Zimmerman, viola, offer music by Mozart, Britten, Dowland and Tchaikovsky. All these performances are virtual but with the limited opportunity of 25 audience members seated widely apart.  Full details and venues at  215-569-8080.  •

            Opera Delaware presents tenor Jack Swanson with pianist Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell in a virtual "Sunday Spotlight" concert on Jan. 10 at  2 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.  "Songs of Love and Loss" will offer works by Schumann, Bernstei and others along with "Danny Boy". Fans will remember Swanson as the Prince in OD's production of "Cenerentola". Streaming details at or 302-658-8063.  •

Robert Jones Jr. has hit the jackpot with his highly praised debut novel "The Prophets" and he'll be in discussion about it on Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. with author Alexander Chee, enlightening potential readers on this topical subject of two enslaved gay men on a Deep South plantation. Details at prophets. •

The nightly free streaming of world class opera productions and singers continues nightly from the Met Opera at 7:30 p.m. and available until 6:30 p.m. the next day. Here's the current line-up: Jan. 6, Bizet's "Les Pecheurs de Perles". Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Marius Kwiecien;  Jan. 7, Bellini's "I Puritani", Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Curtis alumnus John Relyea; Jan. 8. Mascangi's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" with Patricia Racette, Anna-Maria Westbroek, Marcello Alvarez; Jan. 9, Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda" with Academy of Vocal Arts alumna Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Curtis's Matthew Rose; Jan. 10, Verdi's "Il Trovatore" with Sondra Radvanofsky, Dolora Zajick, Dmitri Hovorostovsky, Jan. 11, Mozart's, "Nozze di Figaro", Renee,Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, BrynTerfel;  Jan. 12, Massenet's "Thais" with Renee Fleming, Thomas Hampson; Jan. 13, Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier", Renee Flemming,  Susan Graham. or  212-362-6000.  •

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