The Lakes Area Music Festival kicks off its 12th annual season with an opening weekend featuring everything from string quartets to grand opera.

Three concerts will be broadcast worldwide from Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 31. The performances will be streamed live on the festival’s Facebook page at

Friday’s virtual concert will feature two virtuosic string octets — Dmitri Shostakovich and George Enescu, who each made their contribution to the genre at age 18. This concert is titled “Voices of Youth,” and will display their early flowering of genius, a news release stated. Enescu’s sensual Légende, played by Tchaikovsky competition prizewinning trumpeter Ansel Norris, serves as a palate cleanser alongside these two wild acts of youthful exuberance, organizers stated.

A second concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and is titled “A Night at the Opera.” Tenor David Portillo, who will headline the concert, was praised by Opera News for “high notes with ease, singing with a luxuriant warm glow that seduced the ear,” a release stated. He will be joined by special guests and accompanied by Stefano Flavoni of San Francisco Opera, Portillo

is sure to shine with opera hits.

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The third concert for the weekend is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday. This concert features Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 132, also known as his “Holy Song of Thanksgiving” and is one of the monuments of the chamber repertoire, the news release stated. Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone, Dashon Burton, will begin the program with one of the musical monuments of the USA: African American spirituals in this presentation titled “Song of Thanks.”

LAMF, a nonprofit based in Brainerd, is still taking registrations for its Explore Music!, its youth education day-camp. Explore Music! Is free and provides distance learning activities Aug. 3-7. Each day, participants will engage in a variety of creative arts activities and will also learn more about the music that will be presented within the Lakes Area Music Festival’s 2020 season. Go to the LAMF’s website to sign up at