The San Francisco Opera is presenting Der Ring des Nibelungen, and frankly I’m still undecided what to do about it. On the plus side: Donald Runnicles is conducting, and SF Opera has assembled a promising-looking cast. Also: It’s Der Ring des Nibelungen! On the minus side, other than the usual problems with time/money: Francesca Zambello’s production has so far been mostly dull, a general retread of every “Ring as critique of capitalism” staging (which is fine, but I've seen it, and I guess that's the inevitable result when you aim for an "American" Ring, given the nature of American history and society) with the occasional kitschy, baffling, or wrongheaded touch (though unfortunately not baffling or wrongheaded enough to be provocative or illuminating, just irritating). Also: the big pile of money I paid for my ticket to Walkure last year bought me an evening full of vocal wrecks, and though I realize that’s one of the hazards of the game, I’m still annoyed. People I trust who attended other nights were thrilled. Maybe I should do everyone who’s bought a ticket a favor and not go, because then it’s sure to be spectacular. I could just go to Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, but I prefer the first two operas. Oh, what to do! My thoughts on Rheingold, which I saw in both DC and SF, are here, and my thoughts on last year’s Walkure are here, though reading it over I see I was kinder in prose than I feel in memory.
The Wagner Society of Northern California has several Ring-related seminars. They always do an excellent job with those. Check them out here.
As noted last month, Cal Performances presents the Royal Danish Ballet in two different programs from May 31 to June 4, and then closes out its rich season with several concerts from Ojai North! (and let me assure you the cheeseball exclamation point is not mine): Maria Schneider and Orchestra on June 13, Dawn Upshaw and the Australian Chamber Orchestra on June 14, and Upshaw again on June 16 and 18 in George Crumb's The Winds of Destiny, staged by Peter Sellars.
Chorus America is presenting a Community Sing with Chanticleer on Saturday June 11 at 2:15 at the International High School Gymnasium (near the SF Conservatory of Music). This is free but reservations are required and can be made online at http://communitysingwithchanticleer.eventbrite.com/.
The San Francisco Symphony presents a series of “Project San Francisco” performances by the brilliant and poetic young pianist Yuja Wang from June 14 to June 21, and then closes out its season on June 23-26 with Tilson Thomas conducting the fabulous Symphony Chorus and soloists Christine Brewer, Katarina Karneus, Gregory Kunde, and Ain Anger in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, which looks as much like a sure bet as anything on this list.
Ray of Light Theater presents Assassins, by living legend Stephen Sondheim, June 2-25 at the Eureka Theater.
The Aurora Theater presents Kafka’s Metamorphosis, as adapted by David Farr and Gisli Orn Gardarsson and directed by Mark Jackson, starting June 10. This looks promising, and the Aurora generally has plenty of ticket deals and plenty of convenient earlier start times during the week.
Joe Goode Performance Group presents the world premiere of The Rambler at Yerba Buena, June 10-18.
Cutting Ball Theater continues its Risk Is This. . . . series of new play readings, with a “trip-hop” musical version of Ozma of Oz, by Rob Melrose and Dave L, on June 10-11 (I’ve been a big fan of the Oz books since childhood and Ozma of Oz is one of my favorites, but I have no idea what "trip-hop" is, and honestly it doesn't sound like something I'd like, so I guess that’s where the risk part comes in) and Tender Loin by Annie Elias on June 24-25. And on Sunday June 12 at 1:00 Cutting Ball presents the last of this season’s Hidden Classics readings, with Josef and Karel Capek’s The Insect Play. These readings are all free, but you may reserve a seat for Risk Is This. . . with a $20 donation (seats are also reserved for season pass holders).
If I were traveling this month, it would be to Philadelphia to hear Tamara Mumford and William Burden in the American premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, June 3-12 (I see they've added performances!), though there is also the temptation of the Boston Early Music Festival from June 12-19.