HAPPENINGS IN GREATER MIAMI

Metropolitan Miami is making cultural waves around the world, according to Peggy Loar, director of the Wolfsonian Foundation, which runs a prominent art collection here. ``Miami has become a very international city,'' she comments.

Some selected events reveal the region's growing cosmopolitan nature.

The Wolfsonian Foundation. A museum and study center are under construction to display the unique 50,000-piece collection of decorative, design, and propaganda art owned by Miami philanthropist Mitchell Wolfson Jr. Located in the historic art-deco district of Miami Beach, the collection chronicles the art and history of the period 1875-1945. Wolfson is also developing a branch museum in Genoa, Italy, to house portions of the collection.

International Hispanic Theater Festival. Teatro Avante Inc., one of Miami's most active Hispanic theater companies, hosts this festival, now in its fifth year. Twelve companies from Puerto Rico, Spain, Peru, Mexico, and other countries present works, some in both Spanish and English. The festival runs May 18 through June 10 at the James L. Knight Center, downtown.

New School of Architecture at the University of Miami. World-renowned Italian architect Aldo Rossi is designing a complex of new buildings for the burgeoning architecture school. This will be Rossi's first major building in the United States.

Worldwide Madame Butterfly Competition. Coming to the US for the first time, this prestigious voice competition (usually held in Tokyo) pinpoints talented young singers headed for the world's opera stages. The Greater Miami Opera is hosting the contest (which started April 26 and continues through today) and a related festival.

Miami Book Fair International. Major publishers, booksellers, and well-known authors from around the world gather for this annual November event on the Wolfson Campus of Miami-Dade Community College. Last year, the celebration drew 400,000 visitors, including Barbara Bush.

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