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Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens kicks off reopening with film screenings and live music

Agnieszka Borzuchowski during the Evening of Dvorak and Mozart concert at the Casa Romantica.
Agnieszka Borzuchowski ends a Mozart piece to an appreciative audience during “An Evening of Dvorak and Mozart” at Casa Romantica in San Clemente on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

After reopening fully on March 16, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente resumed its indoor events this week in time for spring break.

The nonprofit’s gardens remained open during the coronavirus pandemic at reduced capacity, and the venue relied on virtual programming to share performances and events. However the historic Spanish-style home, typically open for self-guided tours, performances and art exhibits, was closed.

Since the center moved or postponed events from last year, the upcoming spring and summer months are packed with more events than it would normally offer.

Safety protocols include face masks and social distancing for visitors and staff. Temperature checks and hand sanitation are enforced upon entry and capacity is limited. Advance ticketing is required for most events rather than purchasing at the door.

“Our community was so appreciative of the content that we created to bring art and culture into their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we have fully reopened, we’re adapting the best parts of our online experiences to enhance in-person experiences — not just for our cultural programs but also for daily visitors,” said Casa Romantica Executive Director Amy Behrens in a statement. “It’s about recognizing more holistically what Casa Romantica represents — preserving a record of culture that has shaped us as a stage for contemporary cultural experiences in a beautiful and welcoming home.”

The first event after the reopening was a free screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” on Tuesday evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the film.

Casa Romantica in San Clemente
Casa Romantica in San Clemente during “An Evening of Dvorak and Mozart” on Wednesday.
(Don Leach | Staff Photographer)

On Wednesday night, a quintet orchestra played indoors at the center’s main salon with an opening performance from the center’s Summer Music Festival & Academy alumni with “An Evening of Dvorak and Mozart.”

Next performances will feature live tango with Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo on April 22 and 23, Shakespeare plays starting on April 29 through the summer and “Opera Through the Seasons” featuring sopranos Liv Redpath and Andrea Zomorodian on May 13 and 14.

Christine Nguyen’s art exhibit “Constellations of the Blue Sun Moon Mountain” is on view through April 11. The next exhibition, premiering on June 25, is Christopher Lutter-Gardella’s “Magic in the Air,” an immersive art installation reusing waste materials from landfills to create insects.

The center is also continuing to offer virtual performances and programs. A concert mini-series, which launched last month, will continue through its social media account and YouTube channel. A film festival helping Orange County School of the Arts students win college scholarships is being hosted online.

Chris Hornung fills the room with Mozart classics on his contrabass.
Chris Hornung fills the room with Mozart classics on his contrabass during the “An Evening of Dvorak and Mozart” concert at Casa Romantica in San Clemente on Wednesday.
(Don Leach | Staff Photographer)

If you go

What: Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
Where: 415 Avenida Granada San Clemente
When: Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: General admission $5, free for children ages 12 and under, active military and members; free admission for all ages on the first Sunday of every month
Info: casaromantica.org

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