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Hot Ticket: Music with a fitting touch of anxiety

Published February 17, 2005

The Los Angeles rock band Hoobastank's members met at a high school battle of the bands back in 1994 but didn't score commercial hits until 2002's Crawling In The Dark and Running Away.

Lead singer Doug Robb has a big old voice that adds drama to the band's even bigger choruses and polished songs of angst, if you can call it that. Not that Robb doesn't have demons, he's just, frankly, not too much of a mess, or a jerk. (Sample lyric: "I'm not a perfect person, I never meant to do those things to you.")

He's no Kurt Cobain, but hey, normal guys have problems, too.

Guitars do shred sporadically in the Hooba mix, and melodies abound.

Hoobastank performs at 8 tonight at Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 896-2276.

- GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic

A new look at Verdi's "Stiffelio"

Sarasota Opera has made its reputation by performing neglected Verdi operas, and this season's entry is Stiffelio, which Italian censors essentially gutted when it was premiered in 1850. The result was a flop that Verdi later tried to salvage by turning it into another opera, Aroldo, which also failed.

Stiffelio has a daring story in which a minister struggles with the adultery of his wife. "Verdi was always trying to break the boundaries," says Sarasota artistic director Victor DeRenzi, who will conduct the opera. "I think what interested him about this story was the main character, who was in a bind of having to practice what he preached. As a minister, he can stand up and say you should forgive, but when it's his wife who has committed adultery, it's not so easy for him to do that."

DeRenzi and company are using an edition of the Stiffelio score that restores the cuts made by censors. Todd Geer sings the title role, and Marie-Adele McArthur is the minister's wife, Lina, in the production that opens Saturday night and has seven performances through March 12 at the Sarasota Opera House. $18-$89. (941) 366-8450 or toll-free 1-888-673-7212.

- JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 15:05:04]

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