29 March 2014

fun stuff I may or may not get to: April 2014

I've adjusted the format of the listings, hoping to make them less of a jumble, though they remain completely personal and arbitrary (I think the vogue word for that now is curated). There's a huge amount of really appealing stuff going on this month.

As mentioned last month, at Shotgun Players this month you can see Salvage, the third part of Stoppard's Coast of Utopia trilogy; you can also see the first two parts separately, or on two marathon days: 5 April and 26 April. For extra Russian thrills, on 15 April they present a staged reading of A Month in the Country by Turgenev, who is one of the characters in Stoppard's play.

Cutting Ball presents the American premiere of Communiqué No. 10 by Samuel Gallet, translated and directed by Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose, 25 April to 25 May. Their Hidden Classics series has an interesting-looking offer on 27 April: Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis in a one-woman show with Ponder Goddard, directed by Melrose.

The Aurora Theater presents Wittenberg by David Davalos, directed by Josh Costello, in which Hamlet, back for the new school year (this must have been before his return to Wittenberg was ruled "most retrograde to [Claudius's] desire") has classes with Martin Luther and Dr Faustus. Sounds positively Stoppardesque, in case Coast of Utopia at Shotgun hasn't slaked your thirst. That's 4 April to 4 May. Also, on 17 April they are also opening a new, even more intimate performance space, Harry's Upstage, with The Letters by John W. Lowell, directed by Mark Jackson.

Baroque Music
Philharmonia Baroque presents Vivaldi's oratorio, Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, with the Philharmonia orchestra and chorale joined by soprano Dominique Labelle and mezzo-sopranos Cécile van de Sant, Vivica Genaux, Diana Moore, and Virginia Warnken. That's 2 - 6 April in their usual varied locations.

American Bach Soloists explores J S Bach and his legacy in a concert featuring motets and choral works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Sandström, and Nystedt. That's 25 - 28 April, in their usual various locations.

New Music
Cal Performances presents their resident new-music group, the Eco Ensemble, on 12 April, performing works by Gee, Harvey, and Lin. My thoughts on their last concert may be found here.

Cal Performances presents the Kronos Quartet in Beyond Zero: 1914 - 1918, a new work for quartet and film. As the dates might tell you, this work commemorates the centennial of the start of the first World War. The music is by Aleksandra Vrebalov and the film by Bill Morrison. That's 6 April.

The 2014 Switchboard Music Festival takes place Saturday, 12 April, from 2:00 to 10:00, at the Brava Theater in the Mission. More information here.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music remembers composer and faculty member Conrad Susa, who died last November, with an evening of his music, held at St Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco. That's 5 April; more information here.

UPDATE: Thanks to Lisa Hirsch for pointing out (please see the comments) that this month also includes the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players festival of Electro-Acoustic Music, 24 - 27 April at Fort Mason. More information here. As I said to Lisa in reply to her comment, this is up against Opera Parallele's Weill/Poulenc double bill, and Mark Morris's world premiere production of Acis and Galatea, and American Bach Soloists, and Fort Mason has got to be one of the most difficult venues to get to in the Bay Area, so sadly this one is not happening for me. I used to get postcards and e-mails from SFCMP, but for some reason they stopped sending them, and though their programs always look interesting they persist in thinking that 8:00 PM is a good start time for concerts during the work week, which it is not for working people, so unfortunately I just don't think to check them much these days.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents Dominick Argento's Postcard from Morocco, 10 - 13 April.

Opera Parallèle presents a double bill of Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel and Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias, conducted by Nicole Paiement and directed by Brian Staufenbiel, 25 - 27 April at the Yerba Buena Center. More information here.

San Francisco Performances presents bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni with pianist Wolfram Rieger, performing Beethoven, Reichardt, Brahms, and Liszt, on 1 April at the Nourse Theater.

Chamber Music
San Francisco Performances presents pianist Marc-André Hamelin, clarinetist Martin Frost, and violinist Anthony Marwood, performing Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Bartok on 28 April at the Nourse Theater.

Cal Performances presents the return of the Mark Morris Dance Group in the world premiere of Morris's new production of Acis and Galatea. Handel's music as arranged by Mozart will be performed by Philharmonia Baroque. That's 25 - 27 April in Zellerbach Hall.

The San Francisco Ballet presents the west coast premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy, 2 - 13 April; and the world premiere of Caprice, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson to Camille Saint-Saens, along with the twentieth anniversary presentation of the first work Mark Morris did for the company, Maelstrom, to music by Beethoven, along with Yuri Possokhov's version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, 4 - 15 April.


Lisa Hirsch said...

See, thanks to the terrible publicity, you are not listing the new music event of the season: SF Contemporary Music Players Sweet Thunder festival, which will include performances by the JACK Quartet and ICE. http://sfcmp.org/sweet-thunder/.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Thank you! I had vaguely heard about this months ago (possibly from you) and forgot it was this month. Also: it's at Fort Mason, which is a pain to get to unless you live in the immediate vicinity, and it's the same weekend as Ensemble Parallele's Weill/Poulenc performance, Mark Morris's world premiere production of Acis and Galatea, and American Bach Soloists. If this were another time and location I'd be taking days off work just to attend, but as it is. . . .

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yeah, I'll be WFH one of those days to get to the performance on time, and leaving work early for the other. I think there is a bus along the embarcadero that might get me there on time.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

I've updated the entry to include the festival and my thoughts on its location and scheduling.

Not sure about the bus along the Embarcadero, but there may well be one. I walked to Fort Mason once from Embarcadero BART, and it was a much longer and less pleasant walk than I had thought it would be. I think there's also a bus that goes straight down Van Ness from Civic Center that will get you into the vicinity. But anything that involves taking a bus as well as BART has a huge strike against it as far as I'm concerned.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I just checked, and the 19 runs from Civic Center to Fort Mason.

Most likely I'll take the shuttle to Civic Center and bus from there. From home, I might take BART to Civic Center and then bus, or get off at Embarcadero and take a cab, or just drive.

Ft. Mason might be inconvenient for most people, but most other venues are in use those nights, so....

Lisa Hirsch said...

P. S. The Spring Thunder programs start at 7:30 on Thursday and Friday.

The tickets for Spring Thunder are cheap ($30), so while cab rides are expensive, the cheap ticket cost might balance that out.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

It would probably be easier just to buy a festival ticket and camp out on the grounds for the duration, though it does get very windy there.

Too bad other venues are occupied; I assume the timing of the festival was based on the availability of the performers first and venue second; it's just too bad for me that I'm going to have to miss it.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Thanks for the information on the start times. SFCMP's usual concerts start at 8:00, so that's a switch. The problem with taxis is not only the expense but getting one afterwards out at Fort Mason (they're not all that plentiful around Civic Center either). I'd always rather walk. Moot point anyway, since I'm already booked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that weekend.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The big venues are scheduled a year or more in advance.

Davies: too big (and SFS is there with a good program)
Herbst: out of commission
Yerba Buena: Opera Parallele
SF JAZZ: Alfredo Rodriguez, M-AH & Friends, Branford Marsalis
Hertz Hall: Berkeley Music Dept. & Cal Performances have priority.

So what are they supposed to use?

(SHIT. I have tickets to M-AH AND SFS during the festival.)

Lisa Hirsch said...

The early starts are because they are double-stacking concerts. There's a 10 p.m., for one thing.

Lisa Hirsch said...

(Wait, no, i don't - Hamelin is Monday.)

Patrick J. Vaz said...

There's also the Conservatory of Music and the Nourse (though the Nourse has its own drawbacks), but those are probably booked as well. I'm not condemning SFCMP for using Fort Mason, I understand perfectly well why they might use it, I'm just noting that for many people the location is a strike against attending. The Magic Theater has been there for years, and seems to be doing OK, even without my attendance. (And once you're there, I can't say the various performing spaces themselves are all that great).

Patrick J. Vaz said...

The festival name is Sweet Thunder, after a line in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Duke Ellington used the same line for his Shakespeare suite: Such Sweet Thunder). Too bad they didn't schedule this for midsummer!