This is an overwhelming month of possibilities. It took a lot of time to put this together, I'm sure it will take a lot of time to go through it, and it will take a lot of time actually to attend even a third of these offerings. Good luck! I hope the categories are helpful, though some listings could have gone in several. I would like to draw special attention to a couple of performances: first the 2 March performance of the Philip Glass Études for piano, featuring Timo Andres, Maki Namekawa, and Glass himself; and second Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble 27 - 29 March – what a great chance to bookend your month with live performances by two of the giants of modern American music.
Cutting Ball Theater's Hidden Classics Reading Series presents A Murder of Crows by Mac Wellman, directed by Rem Myers, on 8 March, and Strindberg's A Dream Play, translated by Paul Walsh and directed by Rob Melrose, on 22 March. And on their main stage, Antigone continues through 22 March.
You can do a compare-and-contrast with Antigones this month since Shotgun Players is kicking off its season with the Sophocles tragedy, this time in the recent translation by Anne Carson (the Cutting Ball translation is a new one, done by Daniel Sullivan). That's Antigonick, co-directed by Mark Jackson and Hope Mohr, and it opens 19 March and runs through 19 April.
Berkeley Rep presents Molière's Tartuffe, adapted by David Ball and directed by Dominique Serrand, from 13 March to 12 April.
San Francisco Playhouse presents Stupid Fucking Bird, adapted (loosely, I'm guessing) from Chekhov's The Seagull, by Aaron Posner and directed by Susi Damilano, 17 March to 2 May.
Custom Made Theater presents The Braggart Soldier; or, Major Blowhard, adapted from Plautus and directed by Evren Odcikin, from 27 March to 26 April. This is a big month for adapted classics.
Dame Edna Everage's Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour touches down in the Orpheum Theater, 17 - 22 March.
Philharmonia Baroque features delightful violinist Rachel Podger, leading the band in an all-Vivaldi program, 11 and 13 - 15 March; as usual, they perform in different venues on different days, so check here for specifics.
Magnificat presents two oratorios by Marc-Antoine Charpentier centering on Biblical heroines Esther and Judith; that's 6 - 8 March in a different location each day, so check here for details.
American Bach Soloists have a special Bach birthday concert on 20 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, featuring Anthony Newman on organ and harpsichord and Joshua Romatowski on flute.
Cal Performances presents harpsichordist Davitt Moroney in an all-Bach program on 28 March.
Lacuna Arts performs Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater and Heinrich Schütz's St John Passion on 15 March at the Episcopal Church of St Mary the Virgin.
The Baroque Ensemble at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, directed by Corey Jamason and Elisabeth Reed, presents a (free) concert performance of Monteverdi's L'Incoranazione di Poppea on 7 and 8 March.
Ars Minerva, a new group founded and led by Céline Ricci, is planning on reviving some of the forgotten or neglected operas composed in the seventeenth century for the famously wild Carnival season in Venice. First up is a semi-staged production of La Cleopatra, with music by Daniele da Castrovillar and libretto by Giacomo dall'Angelo. That's 14 - 15 March at the Marines Memorial Theater near Union Square.
See also Cecilia Bartoli's appearance with Cal Performances, listed under Vocalists.
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble bring On Behalf of Nature to the Yerba Buena Center on 27 - 29 March.
Cal Performances and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players present the fourth and final of the Project TenFourteen concerts on 29 March; this one features music by Nakano, Liang, Wem-Chung, Varese, and Crumb.
San Francisco Performances presents the piano Études of Philip Glass, performed by Maki Namekawa, Timo Andres, and Glass himself. That's 2 March at Davies Hall.
The 20th Other Minds Festival will take place 6 - 8 March at the Jazz Center. Check here for a full list of performances and ticket information. There's some enticing stuff there.
As ever, the Center for New Music has a full schedule of the newest new music; the things that catch my eye for March are all towards the end of the month: an open salon with Wild Rumpus on the 27th; the Plath Project, featuring five new chamber works, commissioned by the Firesong Ensemble, using Sylvia Plath's poetry, on the 28th; a tribute to the late composer Robert Ashley, featuring baritone Thomas Buckner and the sfSoundGroup in works Ashley composed for the singer, on the 29th; and the Del Sol Quartet playing the music of Huang Ruo on the 31st.
Blueprint, the new music ensemble at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has a concert called "Exotic Soundscapes" on 14 March, featuring music by Robin Estrada, Stephen Paulson, and Olivier Messiaen. The group is led by Nicole Paiement and the soloists will be Justin Cummings on bassoon and Sarah Cahill on piano. And then on 15 March the Hot Air Music Festival takes over the Conservatory from 1:00 to 9:00 for its fifth annual new music extravaganza. On 20 March there is a concert featuring the music of Elinor Armer.
For further new music, check out Thomas Adès at the San Francisco Symphony and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra's John Adams mini-festival at Cal Performances, both listed under Symphonic, or the three new operas listed under Operatic.
Cal Performances presents mezzo-soprano Susan Graham with pianist Malcolm Martineau in Hertz hall on 1 March at 3:00. You could then walk down to Zellerbach Hall for Cassandra Wilson's tribute to Billie Holiday at 7:00.
Cal Performances presents a rare US appearance by Cecilia Bartoli, with Sergio Ciomei on piano, performing works from her album Sacrificium, dedicated to the art of the baroque-era castrati. That's on 31 March and 2 April. I heard her back in the day in intimate Jordan Hall in Boston – just goes to show you, go hear all the young singers you've never heard of before, because tomorrow they'll be performing in big barns and the tickets will cost you hundreds.
San Francisco Performances presents mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke with pianist Julius Drake in a program of Haydn, Mahler, Liszt, and Granados, on 6 March at St Mark's Lutheran.
San Francisco Performances presents soprano Leah Crocetto with pianist Mark Markham in a program of Strauss, Duparc, and Verdi, along with the world premiere of the complete song cycle Eternal Recurrence by Gregory Peebles and a selection of torch songs. That's 22 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
See also Dawn Upshaw's appearance with Thomas Adès at the San Francisco Symphony, listed under Symphonic.
West Edge Opera continues its series of concert operas with piano accompaniment with Donizetti's Poliuto on 28 March and 1 April. Once again, the weekend performance is at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek (which is not accessible by public transportation) and the weeknight performance is at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (which is accessible by public transportation, but the 8:00 start time is going to render this a non-starter for many working people).
See also the two baroque operas listed under Early/Baroque Music. The rest of the operatic offerings this month are all new:
The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble joins with Volti to present Death with Interruptions, a new opera by Kurt Rohde. The libretto is by UC Berkeley history professor Thomas Laqueur (I think I had a class from him! if it's the one I'm thinking of, we read (among other things) Moll Flanders). The libretto is based on a short novel by Portugal's own José Saramago (but people, please: if you read only one Portuguese novelist, skip Saramago and read the great Eça de Queirós (which is sometimes spelled Queiroz, so check both spellings in whatever searching you do)). But by all means check out the opera, and you can do that 19 and 21 March at the ODC Theater.
For another opera based on a novel, check out the Composers, Inc presentation of Middlemarch in Spring, a new opera by Allen Shearer with a libretto by Claudia Stevens. That's at Z Space on 19 - 22 March.
Uksus, a chamber opera by Erling Wold with libretto by Yulia Izmaylova and Felix Strasser, set among the avant-garde Russians of the early twentieth century, will be on view at the Dance Mission Theater from 6 to 8 March.
Cal Performances presents Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich in an all-Boulez program in Zellerbach Hall on 12 March.
San Francisco Performances presents Garrick Ohlsson in the second of his two all-Scriabin concerts (the first was last December). This one will be 14 March at the Jazz Center.
The San Francisco Symphony presents Jeremy Denk with The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields on 15 March and 16 March, with a different program each night.
See also the Philip Glass Études listed under Modern/Contemporary Music and Yuja Wang with the visiting London Symphony, listed under Symphonic.
Cal Performances presents Jennifer Koh in a program of Bach, Berio, and a new piece by John Harbison (co-commissioned by Cal Performances); that's on 15 March.
Cal Performances presents cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han in an all-Russian, all 20th-century program (Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff) on 8 March.
San Francisco Performances presents the Takács Quartet in an all-Schubert program at the Jazz Center on 15 March and the Elias Quartet in an all-Beethoven program on 30 March at St Mark's Lutheran.
Chamber Music SF presents the San Francisco debut of the Sitkovetsky Trio, in a program of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Brahms on 8 March; and the Pacifica Quartet in a program of Haydn, Ligeti, and Beethoven on 29 March. All performances are at the Marines Memorial Theater near Union Square. More information on these concerts and the rest of there season may be found here.
Cal Performances presents the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in three concerts, each led by Benjamin Shwartz and each featuring a piece by John Adams: Program A on 20 March has Shaker Loops, along with Stravinsky's Danses Concertantes and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A (with soloist Martin Fröst); Program B on 21 March has Son of Chamber Symphony (which is also being used by the Joffrey Ballet at Zellerbach; see Dance below) along with Beethoven's Eroica and Hillborg's Clarinet Concerto: Peacock Tales (again with Fröst as soloist); Program C on 22 March has Chamber Symphony along with the Mahler 4 (with soprano Ying Fang). I assume both the Mahler and Beethoven are in chamber-orchestra versions.
New Century Chamber Orchestra features Guest Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow (former Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic) in a program of Mozart, Grieg, Holst, and Brahms, 5 - 8 March (in a different location each day so check here for details).
The Oakland East Bay Symphony, led by Michael Morgan, has an all-Mexican program on 27 March at the Paramount, featuring work by Carlos Chávez, José Pablo Moncayo, Silvestre Revueltas, Rubén Fuentes, and Diana Gameros, who will perform traditional Mexican songs. Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner is the solo pianist in the Chávez piano concerto.
At the San Francisco Symphony Thomas Adès conducts The Unanswered Question by Ives, La Création du Monde by Milhaud, Luonnotar by Sibelius, and his own In Seven Days, with video by Tal Rosner. Dawn Upshaw is the soprano soloist, I assume in the Sibelius, and Kirill Gerstein is on piano; that's 5 - 7 March. Then Ton Koopman leads the orchestra in works by Handel and Haydn, featuring fabulous principal trumpet Mark Inouye, on 18, 20, and 21 March; and Semyon Bychkov leads the orchestra in the Bruckner 8 on 25 - 27 March. Michael Tilson Thomas is around this month, only he's leading the London Symphony Orchestra: first in the Britten Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, the Sibelius 2, and the Shostakovich Piano Concerto 1 with soloist Yuja Wang, on 22 March; and then in Hidden Variables by Colin Matthews, the Shostakovich 5, and Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F Major, again with Wang as soloist, on 23 March.
Cal Performances presents the Joffrey Ballet in a program of dances by Stanton Welch (Son of Chamber Symphony, to the John Adams piece), Alexander Ekman's Episode 31 (set to a reading of a Christina Rossetti poem), and Val Caniparoli's Incantations (to a score by Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky); that's 14 - 15 March (same program both days).
The San Francisco Ballet presents Program 4, with the Jerome Robbins Dances at a Gathering and Hummingbird by Liam Scarlett, 26 February to 8 March. The Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov Don Quixote returns from 20 to 29 March.
At the San Francisco Jazz Center, the Vijay Iyer Trio performs on 27 March in conjunction with the release of his new album, Break Stuff.
See also the Cassandra Wilson appearance at Cal Performances, listed under Vocalists.
Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland opens at the de Young Museum on 7 March and runs to 31 May.
High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection opens at the Legion of Honor on 14 March and runs until 19 July.