According to an e-mail from Theatre of Yugen, one of the names for autumn in Japan is Geijutsu-no-Aki, meaning "the season of art." Here are some artful suggestions for October, the most beautiful month of the year ("season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" -- see, its beauty is acknowledged worldwide). Enjoy these, even if you feel every season is the season of art, or simply go somewhere to contemplate the fragile beauty of the autumn leaves and so forth:
I'll continue with Theatre of Yugen, and its Asian-fusion theater: the season-opening SORYA! A Minor Miracle! Part 1 runs 2-24 October (Part 2 is coming in the spring).
The ACT MFA Program presents Aphra Behn's The Rover from 19 October to 5 November, at the Hastings Studio Theater, 77 Geary Street, San Francisco.
The Olympians Festival (contemporary visions and revisions of classical Greek mythology) takes place all month at the Exit Theater, 156 Eddy Street, in San Francisco; check out the complete schedule here.
Cutting Ball Theater opens its season with Pelleas & Melisande -- the original Maeterlinck play, that is, not Debussy's more famous opera -- in a new translation by Rob Melrose, who also directs. 21 October through 27 November.
Cal Performances has a lot going on this month, including composer and pianist Thomas Ades joining the Calder Quartet in works by himself, Liszt, and Stravinsky (2 October); the Kronos Quartet in an all-Steve Reich concert (9 October, but at 7:00 instead of the usual Sunday matinee); Valery Gergiev leading the Mariinsky Orchestra in all six Tchaikovsky symphonies in a three-concert series (14-16 October); Desdemona, an extrapolation/interpretation of the relationship between Desdemona and her African nurse (who taught her the Willow Song), put together by Peter Sellars and Toni Morrison, and featuring Rokia Traore (26-29 October); and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky joins Apollo's Fire in a performance of music by Handel and Vivaldi (30 October).
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players open their season Monday 3 October at Herbst Theater, with Josh Levine's Transparency (Part 1), Varese's Octandre, and John Luther Adams's Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing. This program looks exciting enough so that I am actually thinking of going, despite its absurdly worker-unfriendly start-time of 8:00.
Pianist Lara Downes, currently an Artist in Residence at the Mondavi Center in Davis, has an upcoming release party/concert featuring 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, a new set of Goldberg variations featuring thirteen contemporary composers, including Higdon, Foss, Bolcom, del Tredici, and others; 14 October at 8:00, at Salle Pianos, 1632 Market Street in San Francisco.
Magnificat presents Charpentier's Orphee, 14-16 October, in various locations.
San Francisco Performances opens its season this month, with lots of great stuff including Stephanie Blythe (13 October) and Simon Keenlyside (27 October).
At the San Francisco Symphony, James Conlon conducts the Verdi Requiem with soloists Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Frank Lopardo, and Ain Anger (19-22 October) and Alan Gilbert leads Renaud Capucon and the orchestra in Dutilleux's L'Arbre des Songes, along with the Haydn 99 and the Beethoven 8 (27-29 October; the 27th is a Thursday matinee).
Nicole Paiement's Blueprint series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents John Harbison's song cycle North and South, along with a preview of Ensemble Parallele's upcoming chamber opera version of his Great Gatsby, plus a Violin Concertino by Kurt Rohde, featuring violinist Axel Strauss, and Erwin Schulhoff's Concerto for piano and small orchestra, with pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi, on 22 October.
Philharmonia Baroque presents Vivica Genaux in a program of arias written for Farinelli, 27-30 October, in various locations, as is their wont.
At the Legion of Honor, the exhibit Pissarro's People, featuring, as you might guess, paintings by Camille Pissarro of people, opens 22 October and runs through 22 January 2012.
At the DeYoung, the exhibit Masters of Venice, featuring Renaissance paintings now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, opens 29 October and runs through 12 February 2012.
At the Asian Art Museum, which has a silly new logo that looks like an arrow plummeting downward, the exhibit Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts opens 21 October and runs through 8 April 2012.