28 July 2015

fun stuff I may or may not get to: August 2015

the BART warning
In what is turning into a monthly ritual, I have another warning about BART service interruptions. Tracks leading to the Transbay Tube need to be replaced so on 1 - 2 August (and also Labor Day weekend) the West Oakland station will be closed and there will be no transbay service. There will be some buses from the 19th Street Oakland Station to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, but they are for the desperate and basically you should just plan to stay on your side of the bay, whichever that may be, on those weekends. The trains will be running in San Francisco and in the East Bay; you just won't be able to take them from one to the other. Road traffic will no doubt increase considerably on those days. You can get the official word, for what that's worth, here.

The American Bach Soloists present a rarity: as part of their summer festival centering on Versailles and the Parisian Baroque, they are performing the outside-of-Europe premiere of Marin Marais's complete 1709 opera Sémélé. That's 13 and 14 August at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The rest of the festival line-up can be found under Baroque.

The Lamplighters present Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor on 31 July (evening), 1 August (matinee as well as evening), and 2 August (matinee) in Walnut Creek; 8 August (matinee and evening) and 9 August (matinee) in Mountain View; and 14 August (evening), 15 August (matinee and evening), and 16 August (matinee) at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco; and 22 August (matinee and evening) and 23 August (matinee) in Livermore.

San Francisco Opera's Merola Program for young artists presents the Donizetti comedy Don Pasquale on 6 August and 8 August (matinee) at the Cowell Theater in Fort Mason. Then on 22 August you can hear the Merolini performing arias from Bellini to Heggie at the Grand Finale concert at the Opera House. Click here for more information.

West Edge Opera continues its summer festival with Berg's Lulu, staged in the abandoned 16th Street train station in Oakland, on 2 (matinee) and 8 August; Monteverdi's Ulysses, staged in the American Steel Studios at 1960 Mandela Parkway in Oakland on 1, 7 and 9 (matinee) August; and Laura Kaminsky's new chamber opera As One in the Oakland Metro on 8 August (matinee).

American Bach Soloists present their annual summer festival, always a highlight for music lovers, especially this year since the enticing theme is Versailles & the Parisian Baroque. On 7 and 8 August, there is a two-part concert featuring music by Rebel, Rameau, Aubert, Boismortier, Campra, Couperin, Marais, Philidor, and van Blankenburg; and on 13 and 14 August there are performances (the first complete ones outside of Europe) of Marais's opera Sémélé. In addition, trumpeter John Thiessen plays works by Clarke, Corelli, Fantini, Handel, Scarlatti, and others on 15 August; there is a baroque marathon on 10 and 11 August; and as always the festival includes two performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor (9 and 16 August). There are also master classes and lectures. Most events will be at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. You can check out the whole schedule and get tickets here. You can also go here for ABS's blog, including entries embedding ABS's new thirty-minute documentary on the B Minor Mass and a primer on the upcoming festival with suggestions on music, movies, and books for further exploration of the theme.

If you want to hear the San Francisco Symphony before they head off on a European tour, you can hear them on 21 August playing Schoenberg's Theme and Variations Opus 43b, the Beethoven Piano Concerto 4 with terrific soloist Yuja Wang, and the Tchaikovsky 5. Or you can go on 22 August and hear the Bartók Piano Concerto 2 (again, with Wang as soloist) and the Mahler 1. How come Europe gets to hear some Schoenberg while we keep getting the same pieces by Ravel and Rachmaninoff? (No disrespect to those two gentlemen.)

Sondheim's Company continues until 12 September at the San Francisco Playhouse.

Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, directed by Erika Chong Shuch, starts at Shotgun Players on 20 August and runs until 20 September. And the third in their new Champagne Reading Series, Bethany by Laura Marks, plays on 3 and 4 August.

The Aurora Theater opens its season on 28 August with Mud Blue Sky by Marisa Wegrzyn, directed by Tom Ross. The play looks at a reunion of three middle-aged flight attendants, women who probably started their jobs when they were called "stewardesses." The show runs until 27 September.

At the SF Jazz Center the Club Foot Orchestra provides live accompaniment to two great Buster Keaton films, the short One Week and the sublime home-grown surrealism of feature-length Sherlock Jr. That's 23 August, with matinee and early evening performances.

Chamber Music
Curious Flights makes a welcome return, kicking off its second season on 29 August at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The all-British program includes: John Ireland's Songs Sacred and Profane with soprano Julie Adams, Herbert Howells's Rhapsodic Quintet with the One Found Sound string quartet and clarinetist (and Curious Flights artistic director) Brenden Guy, choral works by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Gerald Finzi performed by St Dominic's Schola Cantorum, Arnold Bax's Sonata for Two Pianos with Peter Grunberg and Keisuke Nakagoshi, and Britten's Sinfonietta, Op 1, conducted by John Kendall Bailey.

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