27 September 2009

fun stuff I may or may not get to: October

Support your local arts organizations by buying tickets to events that look interesting!

The San Francisco Symphony concludes its Mahler Festival with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Scelsi’s Hymnos and the Mahler 5.

San Francisco Opera presents Il Trittico, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and Salome. Trittico has been getting raves and has an outstanding cast, from rising stars like Brandon Jovanovich to the semi-legendary Ewa Podles; Patricia Racette sings all three soprano roles (click here for Lisa’s interview with her over at San Francisco Classical Voice). Unfortunately most of the performances of this three-and-a-half hour work started at the idiotic time of 8:00 on a work night, so I’m not seeing it until Saturday October 3, the final performance.

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players begin their season on Monday October 5 with the music of Steve Reich, Edmund Campion (the contemporary composer, not the Elizabethan martyr), Charles Wuorinen, Morton Feldman, and John Harbison, with Harbison and Campion (again, not the martyr; it’s not that close to Halloween) giving a pre-concert talk at 7:15.

The touring company of South Pacific is in San Francisco, with Rod Gilfry as Emil de Becque.

Magnificat and the Carter Family Marionettes present La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina by Francesca Caccini (based on the same episode of the Orlando Furioso that inspired Handel’s Alcina). Baroque opera! Ariosto! Puppets! My God, catch me; I’m swooning!

The San Francisco Jazz Festival opens. I was really tempted by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, but decided Davies Hall was not really the best venue for a ukulele recital. I’m at Salome that night anyway. But there’s lots of other good stuff on their schedule.

As a long-time theater-goer I should probably be slightly embarrassed that I’ve never seen anything by Tony Kushner. Berkeley Rep is offering Tiny Kushner, a night of one acts, so I have to decide if that’s the place to start.

Volti has a 30th-anniversary concert and CD-release party on October 18.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus presents music by Betinis, Holst, and Tavener based on prophetic words and mystic visions from Hafez, Mohammed, and the Rig-Veda.

Cutting Ball Theater officially opens its season with The Bald Soprano. Their previous Ionesco production, last season’s Victims of Duty, was outstanding.

Thick House presents The Creature by Trevor Allen, a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein story.

Jack Curtis Dubowsky has a new opera: Halloween in the Castro, A Horror Opera. This sounds much more fun and interesting than the actual thing. Art so often does!


Lisa Hirsch said...

This list does not even include Cal Bach's Vivaldi/Scarlatti/Handel program, which you can see in Berkeley the day after the Magnificat show at the same place, but at the highly civilized hour of 4 p.m.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Thanks! Link is here:

Though this isn't meant to be a comprehensive list: this is stuff I'm going to (like, I have tickets already) or might go to, depending on having world enough (i.e., money) and time. . . But the Cal Bach concert does look like something I would like.

jolene said...

I finally got to see South Pacific, and this production is a good one. I'm a huge Bartlett Sher fan, and this production's no different. He brings out the darker elements of the production and storyline, which I liked. It's so unabashedly romantic, yet it's hard not to get swept up in it. Rod Gilfry singing "One Enchanted Evening" was the highlight for me. My sister thought it was a little slow at parts, but I didn't see that at all. There were lots of seats available on a Saturday night. I recommend getting rush tickets for this one and moving towards the center once the lights go down.

I also saw American Idiot at Berkeley Rep. I do not recommend, unless 90 minute nihilistic rants are your thing. It was a good cast though.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Bartlett Sher is I think directing the Tales of Hoffman I'm seeing at the Met in December. I liked Light in the Piazza a lot, so I'm looking forward to South Pacific. Thanks for the update! Too late for me to get a rush ticket, though perhaps I'll be able to move in more to the center -- I'm close, but I think off to the side. Gilfry was a big selling point for me with this production.

90-minute nihilistic rants actually are pretty much my thing, but amplified rock music isn't, so I'll probably be skipping American Idiot. . .

Shushu said...

Hey, isn't American Idiot that Dario Fo thing we hated at ART, lo those many years ago?

Patrick J. Vaz said...

No, the Dario Fo thing was "Archangels Don't Play Pinball" and as you may have noticed I refer to it fairly regularly since it's still tied with "I Was Looking at the Ceiling etc" as the worst thing I've ever seen on stage. No longer the undisputed champion, but still definitely in the running.

And I recently referred to opening the program beforehand and seeing an article called "Clowns as Challengers" that should have sent me fleeing the theater before it was too late.

Also, every time I think about how people often confuse (especially with "political" theater) a reference with a joke, I think of that exchange where one character says, "There's a boat!" and the other says in knowing tones, "I hope it's not The Monkey Business!" Much laughter, from the Cambridge audience eager to show everyone that they listened to the news.

Probably everyone has forgotten by now that The Monkey Business is the name of the boat on which Gary Hart was photographed with some young woman, not his wife. Of course, by now everyone has probably forgotten Gary Hart.

No, American Idiot is a spanking new stage work, based on a Green Day concept album from a few years ago. I believe it's mostly about how messed up America is, which isn't exactly news to me and so I don't see any need to pay $60 or whatever they're charging to hear it. I imagine it's not exactly news to most of the audience in Berkeley, either. But they can convince themselves it's something new, fresh, and daring, since it's based on that rocking and rolling music that the kids all like so much these days.

Sibyl said...

Well, if you'd been at Trittico last night (I had to drive back to Santa Cruz on a work night so I'll hear no more of cavilling on that point, thanks), I would gladly have given you one of the Citizen Cake cupcakes I had with me...I really would have. The ticket-taker on the Symphony Hall-side door who always does the taxis after performances suggested I check them; can you imagine?

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Fine, taunt me with cupcakes. . . I was right across the street at Symphony Hall, so I feel extra-deprived.

But I'm afraid nothing is going to stop my cavilling (OK, I had put bitching, but I'll try to class it up here) about trips back, since BART had a particularly hellish short train for us last night.

My point really isn't so much about being out late as it is having to get up early the next morning -- so it depends on what sort of job you have and when you need to be at your desk the next day.

How long is the drive from SF to Santa Cruz? Here's another one of those "no duh" moments I had a year ago, when a friend drove me back from Festival Opera in Walnut Creek -- cars are a lot faster than public transportation! What might have taken me a couple of hours (seriously) on public transportation took about 30-40 minutes. Still not enough to get me to drive, however.

Ms S of DC and I once had to check a pizza at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, so I understand your situation. In our case it was one of those weird things were we had planned one thing (getting slices of pizza before seeing The Bitter Tea of General Yen at the museum)that turned out to be unavailable for some forgotten reason, so in the heat and panic of the moment we ordered an entire pizza, which we had to take with us. It was literally months later that I realized the usher thought we were going to eat it in the museum during the movie. I'm sure your tasteful box of cupcakes posed no such threat to good order.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Driving time from Santa Cruz to SF: around 90 minutes to 2 hours, likely closer to 2 hours.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Wow. These horseless carriages! Hmmm. It takes me generally an hour to get to San Leandro, which I believe is physically much closer. So I guess I still get to bitch!

Sibyl said...

Yup, you get to bitch. While it does take 90 minutes to get to the opera, I typically get home from the opera in 75 minutes. So you REALLY get to bitch. I AM a bit foggy at work the next morning, but I work with small children, and foggy doesn't seem to register much.

Love the story about checking your pizza. Do you suppose they were suspicious because they'd had people eating there before? The only threat to order my cupcakes represent would be in case of fire.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

75 minutes? Wow. Drive safely!

I've decided I'm now going to be insufferably filled with virtue over taking public transportation, to make up for the inconvenience that had never really registered before.

I don't know if people normally tried snack-sneaking into movies shown at the Museum. The usher did sound a bit startled when she told us we'd have to check our pizza box. Though back in those days they actually allowed people to smoke in the cafeteria area of the museum (disgusting!), so I don't think a few slices of pizza would have been disastrous, though it didn't occur to us to eat during the movie. We just ended up with this whole pizza. . .

By the way I'm now picturing the opera house on fire and people shouting, "Save the cupcakes! Save the cupcakes!"

Sibyl said...

Your vision of people shouting for the cupcakes is killin' me. I was more picturing me holding up the evacuation of my whole row while I scramble around under my seat and holler "Not without my cupcakes!"

I do tend to treat my homeward journey, when I have 280 and 17 all to myself, as my own Le Mans. I am a middle-aged wife, mother and pre-school teacher: I need every tiny thrill I can get. (Podles was a big thrill.)

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Considering all the chatting go on around me during the performance last night, I would definitely save a box of cupcakes over most of the opera patrons.

I didn't get home until 1:00 in the morning. The opera ends so that I just miss a train when I get at the station and then have to wait 25 minutes for the final train of the evening that's going my way.

But it was worth it. Podles was a big thrill. But I now think of that character as "the old Portuguese woman." I had relatives like that (please note the grateful use of the past tense).

Sibyl said...

Again, you're killin' me. I'm going to Trovatore Tuesday, and I will be toting cupcakes: if you're in the neighborhood, let me know and I'll snag you one or three.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

I keep missing the cupcakes! I am pretty sure I won't be there on Tuesday. I'm trying to decide if I want to go to the SF Contemporary Music Players Monday. It depends on how I feel. I'm usually not so spontaneous.

Enjoy Trovatore! I don't know if you read The Opera Tattler, but she has an interview with Radvanovsky: