|A respectable San Francisco matron heads off to the after-party, having endured the official opening of the opera or, possibly, the symphony, how is she to know which|
At the Ashby Stage, First Person Singular and Shotgun Cabaret present Stealing the Leads: Women Read Glengarry Glen Ross, which sounds potentially awesome (sorry, I have to use a form of that word twice in two paragraphs). Unfortunately it's only for two nights; the 2 September performance is sold out but there are still tickets available for the added performance on 9 September. Both performances start at 8:00, which ironically makes them inconveniently timed for anyone who actually has to work in an office.
Old First Concerts has several evenings of interest to fans of contemporary music: the Aleron Trio premieres Shahab Paranj's Piano Trio No. 1, "A Bitter Letter" along with piano trios by Beethoven and Dvorak, on 13 September; sfSound presents an Elliott Carter memorial concert, with works dating from 1939 to 2011, on 20 September; and contemporary chamber ensemble Wild Rumpus lets the wild rumpus begin on 27 September. It's too bad that Old First Concerts are usually Fridays at 8:00, which I think might be the worst concert time possible for working people, but I may try to ignore reality (my reality, that is) and make it to some of these.
To add to your new music enjoyment this month, head to the Conservatory of Music on 6 September to hear works from six alumni composers: Frank Wallace, Kevin Villalta, Mark Ackerley, Mario Godoy, Joseph Stillwell, and Ian Dicke.
At Berkeley Rep, Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won the 2013 Tony for Best Play, opens 20 September and runs until 20 October. As the title might tell you, it is a contemporary twist on some themes from Chekhov. Richard E.T. White is the director.
The New Century Chamber Orchestra opens its season with a concert celebrating this season's featured composer, Michael Daugherty. I don't know a whole lot about his music, but he certainly has a knack for naming; the program includes pieces called Viva, Strut, Viola Zombie, Regrets Only, and Elvis Everywhere. The evening includes one non-Daugherty piece, Josef Suk's Serenade for string orchestra. That's 26 - 29 September in their usual variety of venues, only this year, since Herbst is closed, the San Francisco venue is the Yerba Buena Center.
San Francisco Opera opens its fall season with two interesting works: first is Boito's Mefistofele (which the Opera very helpfully refers to as Mephistopheles, because otherwise you couldn't figure that out, and though of course you'd balk at buying a ticket to something with a weird foreign name like Mefistofele, you're A-OK with Mephistopheles), in the lively production last seen here in 1994, with Nicola Luisotti conducting and Ildar Abdrazakov, Patricia Racette, and Ramon Vargas singing (check here for specific dates, though if you're actually interested in, you know, music and theater, skip opening night, 6 September); and second is the world premiere of Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne, which as of yesterday afternoon, when Dolora Zajick officially dropped out for health reasons, stars the Unsinkable Pat Racette (soprano) for the first four performances and the always appealing Catherine Cook (mezzo-soprano) for the remaining two (check here for specific dates). I liked Picker's American Tragedy quite a bit, so there's that going for it, at least in my opinion.
By the way, in case you're already wondering what the Merola folks will be performing in summer 2014, it's Don Giovanni and A Streetcar Named Desire (which of course had its premiere here in 1998). See what you learn from scanning the ads in Opera News?
If you're looking for more opera, West Edge Opera will perform a semi-staged production of Barber's Vanessa. This time they will be at Berkeley Rep's thrust stage instead of up in El Cerritto; 21 - 22 September.
The San Francisco Symphony has a fine assortment of concerts, but nothing really jumps out at me, though I might easily have a different reaction another day, since I always enjoy An American in Paris and Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev and the Mahler 9. There's also the magnificent Audra McDonald, but she's being wasted on the opening night party. Check out the full month here, but keep in mind that often the most interesting items on the symphony's programs are kept out of sight, tucked a mouse-click away under the standards.