Nigel Jarrett casts a cultured eye over the next few weeks to help you plan your days and nights out

WALES Millennium Centre will be moving from opera to musicals in a couple of weeks to face its first big test as an international theatre venue.

Welsh National Opera has been playing to full houses for its inaugural season and will be giving way to a period of kids' entertainment before the arrival of the Tony Award production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate on March 29.

Opera and splendiferous West End/Broadway musical theatre will be one of the mainstays of the WMC, which has the space, the seating and, it is hoped, the following to make it pay. The show runs until April 16 in the main Donald Gordon auditorium. Kiss Me, Kate is based loosely on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and contains some of Porter's best songs, including From This Moment On, Too Darn Hot and So In Love. (Box office: 08700 402000).

A singer who made her name with WNO to become the most sought-after Wagner heroine of her generation will be at St David's Hall, Cardiff, on April 23, for a rare appearance.

Dame Anne Evans will perform with the orchestra of WNO and women members of the chorus under the company's conductor emeritus, Sir Charles Mackerras, in music from Tannhauser, Tristan and Isolde and Gotterdammerung. (Box office: 02920 878444).

A brave spring theatre season full of variety at the Riverfront, Newport, closes with an adaptation of Reginald Arkell's book Old Herbaceous, about the reminiscences of a head gardener against the background of two world wars. Just one show on April 8, at 7.30pm.

The Riverfront is excited enough about Compass Theatre's production of Chekhov's The Seagull from April 26 to 30 (with Wednesday and Saturday matinees) to trail it in its current programme.

The much-praised translation (or 'version' as they say these days) is by Tom Stoppard, a playwright not normally associated on stage with the Russian master's inspired inactivity. (Box office: 01633 656757).

Local music societies take to the platform next month, Blackwood Amateur Operatic at the 'Stute from April 5 to April 9 with My Fair Lady (box office 01495 227206);

Monmouth Choral Society at the town's Blake Theatre on April 23 in a programme that includes Elgar's The Music Makers and Holst's Hymn of Jesus; and Abergavenny Operatic and Dramatic Society from April 11 to April 16 with Guys and Dolls at the Borough Theatre. (Box office: 01873 850805).

The Monmouth concert will be the choir's last with its popular conductor, Mark Foster, who has been with it since 1992. (Box office: 01600 719401).

Michael Bogdanov directs Amazing Grace at the Sherman, Cardiff, from April 5 to April 9, a musical by Mal Pope and Frank Vickery based on the Evan Roberts religious revival of the early 20th century.

A story of faith, fervour and industrial unrest.

(Box office: 02920 646900).