There's a lot going on in the cruelest month, even with the San Francisco Symphony still on strike. (Apparently the strike ended about the time I hit "publish" on this, so here's one case in which instant obsolescence is good news. I'll probably do an addendum later with the Symphony highlights. Right now I need to stop staring at computer screens. For the record, I supported the musicians all the way.)
First up, there's a new performing ensemble in the area: Curious Flights, the brainchild of clarinetist (and Artistic Director) Brenden Guy, is dedicated to performing new and rare works from the solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire. The inaugural concert is 26 April at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, in San Francisco. The program features Updike's Science by Brian Holmes, Fantasy Pieces (a world premiere) by Joseph Stillwell, Cafe Music by Paul Schoenfield, Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano by Aram Khachaturian, and Nonet by Arnold Bax. Read more about this new group here.
There's definitely a lot of opera going on for a month when the San Francisco Opera isn't performing:
Opera Parallele presents Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti along with Barber's A Hand of Bridge 26 - 28 April at Z Space.
Philharmonia Baroque presents Handel's Teseo, with Nicholas McGegan conducting, featuring Amanda Forsythe, Dominique Labelle, Amy Freston, Celine Ricci, Robin Blaze, and Drew Minter, on 10, 11, 13, and 14 April, in their usual various locations. Please note that the evening performances start at 7:30 and the Sunday performance at 4:00.
West Edge Opera presents the American premiere of Fabrizio Carlone's Bonjour M Gauguin at the El Cerritto Performing Arts Theater (conveniently near the El Cerritto BART station) on 6, 12, and 14 April.
This certainly sounds operatic: awesome local chorus Volti joins with the SF Choral Society, the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir, and the Leah Stein Dance Company to present the west coast premiere of David Lang's Battle Hymns 26-28 April out at Kezar Pavilion; the unusual locale is to accommodate the large forces required for this site-specific commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
My usual criteria for including things here is (1) it's something I'm going to or (2) it's something I would like to go to, given world enough and time, and though Die Fledermaus doesn't qualify on either count (let me quote myself: watching it is like being clubbed to death with meringues), what does qualify is opera at the San Francisco Conservatory's own theater, rather than off in the inadequate and hard-to-get-to Cowell Theater at Fort Mason. So if the opera in question is acceptable to you, you can see it in the Conservatory's beautiful theater 4 - 7 April; call the Box Office at 415-503-6275 or purchase online (and find more information) at the Conservatory's website.
If you're looking for theater where people speak rather than sing their lines, Cutting Ball has extended The Chairs to 7 April and Shotgun Players continues voyaging through The Coast of Utopia. Then there are some new things starting:
Aurora Theater presents Max Frisch's The Arsonists, translated by Alistair Beaton and directed by Mark Jackson, 5 April to 12 May.
Berkeley Rep presents Pericles, Prince of Tyre, by Shakespeare (mostly), directed by Mark Wing-Davey. The website says the performance is 90 minutes, straight through, so clearly it's a shortened version. I'm intrigued! This is the play that inspired Eliot's Marina ("What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands / What water lapping the bow / And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog / What images return / O my daughter").That's 12 April to 26 May on the main stage.
Cal Performances highlights this month include harpsichordist Davitt Moroney playing Bach's Art of the Fugue, 7 April; pianist Simon Trpčeski playing Schubert and Liszt, 14 April; the return of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 23 - 29 April; and Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, 26 - 27 April (the 27 April program features my favorite Handel oratorio, Jeptha).
San Francisco Performances highlights include jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, 10 April (Salon at the Rex); pianist Martin Helmchen playing Bach, Webern, Schubert, and Brahms, 14 April; pianist Andras Schiff playing Bach's French Suites, 14 April, and English Suites, 21 April; dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, 16 April; and pianist Till Fellner playing Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Schumann, 29 April.
New Century Chamber Orchestra presents works by Golijov, Mozart, and Chausson, featuring pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, 3 - 7 April in their usual various locations.
San Francisco Ballet has two different programs running: Program 6, 9 - 20 April, features Raymonda, Act III (choreographer Rudolph Nureyev and composer Alexander Glazunov), Ibsen's House (choreographer Val Caniparoli and composer Anton Dvorak), and Symphonic Dances (choreographer Edwaard Liang and composer Sergei Rachmaninov); and Program 7, 11-21 April, features Criss-Cross (choreographer Helgi Tomasson, composers Scarlatti and Schoenberg), Francesca da Rimini (choreographer Yuri Possokhov and composer Tchaikovsky), and Symphony in Three Movements (choreographer George Balanchine and composer Igor Stravinsky).
The California Bach Society is joined by cornett and sackbut ensemble The Whole Noyse for selections from Heinrich Schutz's Symphoniae Sacrae, 26 - 28 April in their usual various locations.
Highlights at the SF Jazz Center include a mini-festival devoted to the Weimar Republic, featuring Ute Lemper (11 April), Max Raabe & Palast Orchester (12 - 13 April), and Lang's Metropolis with live music by the Club Foot Orchestra (14 April); and also Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish, set by Bill Frisell and with visual design by Ralph Steadman (18 April).