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Recommended arts: 'Smoking Lesson,' 'Invisible Landscapes,' 'Albert Herring,' 'Ellington's Sacred Concert'

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Friday-Sunday

'Smoking Lesson.' Award-winning director Marcus McQuirter presents Julia Jordan's unnerving play about three 15-year-old girls who spend time underneath a bridge on the Mississippi River remembering their friend who mysteriously and violently died there seven years earlier. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through March 7. Rio Grande Campus Gallery Theater, 1212 Rio Grande St. $5-$10. 223-3240.

'Invisible Landscapes.' Austin's irrepressible New Music Co-op presents three programs featuring the music of guest composer Michael Pisaro and percussionist Greg Stuart. Featured on Friday is Pisaro's piece 'A Wave and Waves' for 100 percussion instruments, played by Stuart accompanied by an eight-channel surround sound system. Saturday's show features two major commission pieces, 'Red River 7' by Radu Malfatti and Pisaro's 'Ascending Series (7) (evaporation).' Sunday's free concert features more by Pisaro as well as new works by Co-op composers Brent Fariss and William Bridges. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Ceremony Hall, 4100 Red River St. $12-$15 (free on Sunday). www.newmusic.coop .

Friday and Sunday

'Albert Herring.' University of Texas' Butler Opera Center presents Benjamin Britten's comic chamber opera based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant. 'Albert Herring' tells the story of a small English village looking for nominations for its coveted annual title of Queen of the May. When villagers can find no young women pure enough to be worthy of the title, they select Albert Herring, a socially awkward wallflower. The production also marks the debut of James Lowe, the Butler Opera Center's new conductor. This weekend's performances will also be webcast live. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday. McCullough Theatre, UT campus, $10-$20. www.music.utexas.edu .

Sunday

'Ellington's Sacred Concert.' Last year, it was beyond standing room only as crowds filled the aisles when Austin Chamber Music Center hooked up with Huston-Tillotson University choirs and other performers in a rousing performance of Duke Ellington's 'Sacred Concert.' Now the choirs, jazz orchestra, soloists and accompanying tap dancers will reprise Ellington's mighty oratorio, sprawling collections of songs and suites that blend gospel music with jazz, classical music, spirituals, blues and choral music. 3 p.m. Sunday. King Seabrook Chapel on the Huston-Tillotson campus at East Seventh and Chicon streets. Free. Seating is first-come, first-served. www.austinchambermusic.org .

- Jeanne Claire van Ryzin