This entry was not quite ready to go when my computer gave out. I was going to put in an update on the BART situation, organize things a bit more, add in a few more entries and some pictures. . . Since these preview entries are my attempt to stay somewhat current (thoughts on actual performances can come whenever; it's all memory anyway once the curtain descends) I figure I should just go ahead and hit publish, since I am not sure when I'll be back to what passes for normal.
As usual there is a bewildering variety of performances of all types over at Cal Performances, from the Brandenburg Concertos to ballet to mariachi to things that sound kind of indescribable . . . other highlights for me are puppeteer Basil Twist's Dogugaeshi (6 - 10 November, with two performances on most of those days), the Joshua Redman Quartet (16 November), pianist Paul Lewis playing Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner, and Mussorgsky (3 November), pianist Shai Wosner playing Widman and Schubert (24 November), and the Danish String Quartet playing Abrahamsen, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven (17 November). Check out the whole month here.
The big news at the San Francisco Symphony in November is Semyon Bychkov conducting Britten's War Requiem, with soloists Christine Brewer, James Gilchrist, and Roderick Williams. There are only two performances, 27 (that's the day before Thanksgiving, which is going to rule it out for some of us) and 30 November. I'd give the runner-up prize to Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Beethoven, Mozart, Copland, and Steven Mackey with soloist Jeremy Denk, 7 - 10 November. You can check out the particulars of that concert as well as the month's other offerings here.
For more Britten, Volti is offering one of his late choral works, Sacred and Profane, along with new works by Mark Winges, Forrest Pierce, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. That's 22 - 24 November, in a different location each day; check here for details. and if you attend the concert on the 22nd, you will be there on Britten's 100th birthday.
Philharmonia Baroque offers a program of early Russian rarities, conducted by Steven Fox, featuring Tanya Tomkins on cello and soprano Anna Dennis singing arias by Glinka arranged by Rimsky-Korsakov – and those are the most familiar composers on the program; the others are Berezovksy, Bortniansky, Facius, and Fomin. Sounds like a fun adventure! That's 15 - 17 and 19 November, in their usual various locations; check here for specifics.
At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Blue Print new music series continues on 16 November with Lembit Beecher's And Then I Remember and Poulenc's Le Bal Masqué. Check here for their other offerings this month.
There's more new music at Old First Concerts: on Saturday, 9 November, the San Francisco Compoers Chamber Orchestra presents new works by Davide Verotta, Philip Freihofner, David Sprung, Scola Prosek, and Mark Alburger; check here for their description of the concert, written as a parody of the Communist Manifesto, which I have to say not only amused me but may compel me to go to this concert in solidarity with fellow new-music comrades. Another offering that looks interesting is the 17 November portrait-concert of Hyo-shin Na, featuring Shoko Hikage on koto, Thomas Schultz on piano, and Narae Kwon on kayageum.
San Francisco Performances has Peter Wispelwey playing the complete Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello in two concerts on one marathon day, 9 November; they also have the Pacifica Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin playing Shostakovich, Ornstein, and Dvorak, 11 November; and jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, 16 November. Check out those offerings and others here.
November at San Francisco Opera sees the final performance of its much-praised Falstaff, the continuation through 15 November of its less highly praised Flying Dutchman, and the opening of its final production of the fall season, The Barber of Seville, which opens 13 November and closes 1 December. There are two separate casts for the Rossini; Isabel Leonard is in one, and Alek Shrader in the other, and if they were both in one cast I would probably go see it, and possibly if I had more time and money I'd see each cast, but as it is . . . . that's just not my current reality. You can check its performance dates and casts here.
42nd Street Moon presents the Rodgers and Hart musical I Married an Angel, 30 October - 17 November.
Cutting Ball Theater continues its run of Sidewinders by Basil Kreimendahl, directed by M. Graham Smith, through 17 November. I have not seen it yet. They also have two interesting shows in their Sunday afternoon Hidden Classics Reading Series: The Natural Relations and Other Plays by nineteenth-century Brazilian playwright Qorpo Santo, translated by resident playwright Andrew Saito, on 3 November; and Antigone by Sophocles, directed by Paige Rogers, on 10 November.
Shotgun Players continue their run of Strangers, Babies, written by Linda McLean and directed by Jon Tracy, through 17 November. I haven't seen it yet. They have also announced their 2014 season (unlike most performing arts groups, they kind of follow the calendar year instead of the traditional September to June performance cycle). Check it out here – I've already subscribed. I have to say, I have seen the movie version of Our Town, with music by Aaron Copland, and I've seen Ned Rorem's operatic version, but I have never seen the original play on stage. Even after a lifetime of theater-going, there are still basics I've never come across. I often think about things like that when people complain about over-reliance on the warhorses of the repertory, even when I'm the one complaining.
Aurora Theater presents A Bright New Boise, written by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Tom Ross, 8 November to 8 December.
Berkeley Rep presents Tristan & Yseult, adapted and directed by Emma Rice of Britain's Kneehigh Theater. The last show I saw at Berkeley Rep was actually a Kneehigh show, The Wild Bride, which I found disappointing, for reasons I explain here (short version: inventive staging, weak script), but I'm willing to give them another chance, which is pretty magnanimous of me. That's 22 November to 6 January 2014.