With this year's theme of "celebrations" International Focus, Inc. plans a host of celebratory events for its 17th annual International Festival. More than 40 Triangle-based ethnic groups will showcase ethnic dance, musical performances, cultural exhibits and how various cultures celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other commemorative events. Participants can also enjoy bazaars, boutiques, ethnic cuisine, storytelling and cultural exhibits. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8-10. Dorton Arena, North Carolina State Fairgrounds, Raleigh. (919) 832-4331. www.internationalfestival.org.
The maestro of maestros, Luciano Pavarotti will make his first (and likely final) visit the RBC Center for an evening of opera. The megastar--who has announced his retirement in 2005--visits the triangle for the Bravo Pavarotti Gala Evening, sponsored by The Opera Company of North Carolina. The gala fundraiser evening will benefit the opera company and will feature a VIP Cocktail reception, concert and gala dinner attended by Mr. Pavarotti himself. 7 p.m. RBC Center, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. (919) 859-6180 or email@example.com. www.operanc.com.
The Foundation for Cancer Research launches the Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic on Saturday, Nov. 24, in Raleigh. Created for the Foundation by ESPN, the Classic will open with number-one ranked Duke facing Tennessee and NC state playing defending national champions UConn. "We're hoping for a great crowd to support our two local teams as well as show the country that Raleigh is a big-time sports town," said Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. "We are proud to bring this Classic to our hometown ... and we hope the Women's Classic will also become a lasting signature event for The Foundation." Duke vs. Tennessee, 2 p.m.; N.C. State vs. UConn, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN will televise both games). RBC Center, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. $12-$25, $100 courtside seats (limited number available). (919) 834-4000, (919) 861-5457 (group sales). www.ticketmaster.com.