Beethoven called his Missa Solemnis "the greatest work I have composed." It was written for a real church service--the installation of Archduke Rudolph as archbishop of Olmutz. But the date of the installation came and went, and it was not until two years later that Beethoven finished the piece.

The William Hall Master Chorale will tackle this difficult work Saturday, with solos by soprano Carol Neblett, mezzo-soprano Catherine Stoltz, tenor Jonathan Mack and bass Louis Lebherz.

* What: William Hall Master Chorale sings Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.

* When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

* Where: Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: San Diego (405) Freeway to Bristol Avenue exit north, then turn right onto Town Center Drive.

* Wherewithal: $15 to $40.

* Where to call: (714) 556-6262.


What does beautiful mean to people who were born blind? French artist Sophie Calle posed this intriguing question to 23 blind people.

"The Blind," at Newport Harbor Art Museum, consists of portraits of these people, photos of the objects each one believes is beautiful, and a brief quote explaining the choices.

The answers are stunning and provocative, and the piece reinforces how culturally conditioned our notion of beauty is.

* What: "The Blind."

* When: Through Dec. 31. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach.

* Whereabouts: San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Boulevard exit; drive south for five miles. Turn left onto Santa Barbara Drive, then left again onto San Clemente Drive.

* Wherewithal: General admission, $4; students and seniors, $2; free for children under 12.

* Where to call: (714) 759-1122.


Noel Coward's 1930 comedy, "Private Lives," is getting a handsome, smartly entertaining revival at the Alternative Repertory Theatre. Sally Leonard's delicious portrait of the elegant Amanda in heat--sexual and otherwise--is full of cunning satire and unexpected intimacies.

Coward always managed to tuck a provocative message into his comedies. In this one he sends a telegram.

* What: "Private Lives."

* When: Through Nov. 12. Performances Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m; Sunday, 5 p.m.

* Where: Alternative Repertory Theatre, 1636 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana.

* Whereabouts: Costa Mesa (55) Freeway to Edinger Avenue exit; head west. Go left onto South Grand, theater is on the right.

* Wherewithal: $16.

* Where to call: (714) 836-7929.


African cuisine is just a nibble of what will be offered at the Africa Alive Safari Festival in Santa Ana on Saturday. The event will also feature African arts and crafts, clothing and travel vendors, a region-by-region slide and fashion show, children's storytelling, the Upendo Kenyan Dancers, the Limit X Ugandan Gospel Singers, and Tabu Ley Rochereau and his Orchestre Afrisa International.

The festival, sponsored by Africa Outreach, raises funds for "Gift of Education" serving "African kids in Africa," according to coordinator Evelyn Komuntale. "And it goes directly to the need, not through three hands."

* What: Africa Alive Safari Festival.

* When: Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m.

* Where: Main Place Christian Fellowship, 1701 E. Edinger Ave., Building H, Santa Ana.

* Whereabouts: Costa Mesa (55) Freeway to the Edinger Avenue exit; head west.

* Wherewithal: Admission $5; free for children under 12.

* Where to call: (714) 547-3416.

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