Boston Homes
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BEACON HILL/WEST END (2)

Artists and inventors

The Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., will host an up close tour “Artists as Inventors, Inventors as Artists” at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13. Samuel Morse, the artist who painted the Athenaeum’s portrait of James Monroe, invented the electric telegraph. George M. Dexter, one of the architects of the Athenaeum’s home on Beacon Street, invented a new way to heat buildings. Docent Scott Guthery will explore the interaction of art and science as illustrated in patents granted to Athenaeum artists and members during this 30-minute tour. Reservations are recommended, as space is limited, at www.bostonathenaeum.org or by calling 617-227-0270.

‘A Night at the Opera’

The Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon St., will present “A Night at the Opera” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14. This rare opportunity offers attendees the chance to not only experience the museum’s beautiful turn-of-the-century parlor at night but also to enjoy an operatic performance set to the dramatic backdrop of Flemish tapestries and Japanese urns. The evening’s performance will celebrate Metropolitan Opera singer Louise Homer (1871-1947), a gifted and popular opera singer who in 1902 performed in the very same room. Operatic singer Jacqueline Novikov will perform five arias from Homer’s repertoire. A champagne reception will follow the performance. Tickets are $40 for members and $45 for non-members, and are available by calling 617-227-6993 or online at www.nicholshousemuseum.org.

West End photographs

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., is displaying a new exhibition “Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord.” The exhibit features photographs from a collection donated by Ira Tarlin that depicts the West End at the time of demolition. Eli Tarlin, Ira’s father, was an original resident who came to own numerous properties in the neighborhood. The demise of the community, says the family, was also Eli’s demise. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more details, call 617-416-0781 or go online to www.thewestendmuseum.org.

Northern Ireland history

Author Patrick Reddan Keefe will be the guest speaker from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St. Keefe is the author of “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland,” a mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles,” and its aftermath. Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for more information.

Chamber music

The Chamber Orchestra of Boston will present “Plain Song, Fantastic Dances” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St. The program will feature “Plain Song, Fantastic Dances,” Michael Gandolfi’s playful work for strings and winds and “Septet in Eflat, Op. 20” by Beethoven, a light-hearted work in the spirit of the 18th century serenade. A complimentary reception with wine and appetizers will follow the concert. Tickets are $25 to $50, $15 for students. To order tickets and for more details, visit www.chamberorchestraboston.org or call 617- 266-1626.

Mansion tours

Public one-hour tours of the Ayer Mansion, 395 Commonwealth Ave., which showcases the striking interior and exterior embellishments designed and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, will be offered at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 and noon on Wednesday, March 13. Built between 1899 and 1902 for businessman and art collector Frederick Ayer, the mansion is the only surviving residence created by American artist and designer Tiffany. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2005. Reservations are requested, but not required and a $15 donation ($10 for seniors) is requested to help with the ongoing restoration costs. For more information, send an email to ayermansion@gmail.com or call 617-536-2586.

Irish step dancing

Families are invited to watch a performance by the Hansen Keohane Dance School at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St. Students of all ages will perform traditional Irish step dances in a free performance. Call 617-536-5400 for further details.

Operatic star

The French Cultural Center will host “An Evening with Renee Fleming,” an intimate dinner and conversation with the renowned opera and Broadway star, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at the Somerset Club, 42 Beacon St. Mark Volpe, president and chief executive officer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will moderate the conversation. Festivities will include a champagne reception, three-course dinner, the moderated discussion with Fleming and a photo opportunity, plus takeaways including a CD, pre-release of Fleming’s signature fragrance and more. Proceeds from this reception will benefit the Mosaïque Cultural Fund of the French Cultural Center. Further information is available at www.frenchculturalcenter.org or by calling 617-912-0400, ext. 416.