Again we begin with a warning about our ridiculous public transit system, BART, which seems to get worse by the day. As previously mentioned, on certain weekends between April and July they are rebuilding tracks between the Fruitvale and 19th Street stations, with free shuttle buses running between the two; the Lake Merritt station will be closed. Expect major delays and hassles, so if you are a BART user you may want to avoid buying expensive performance tickets on those weekends, or at least plan on leaving your residence an hour earlier than usual. Since BART tends to switch around the shut-down dates with little advance notice or publicity, you should also check their site for the current schedule. I ended up using the bus bridge a few weeks ago, since they changed their dates but I did not change my theater ticket. The bus bridge works but it is indeed a hassle and a time-suck. We had a "character" as a fellow passenger, one of those semi-crazy semi-street people who are engaging until they're annoying. We had an entertaining conversation as I helped him understand what the bus bridge was and how it worked (he was claiming he was late for a party in San Francisco with Cissie Houston, as in Whitney Houston's mother), but by the time our bus was pulling up to 19th Street and he was screaming, "We're on the bus to Dachau!" I had pretty much had enough. After shutting down most weekends in May, including the three-day holiday weekend, BART is currently scheduled for only one June shut-down, from 10 to 11 June – but as previously mentioned that could change. I only wish I could feel the service would be improved after all this, instead of just slightly less tragic.
San Francisco Playhouse presents The Roommate by Jen Silverman, directed by Becca Wolff, from 23 May to 1 July.
42nd Street Moon presents Kismet in Concert, a special two performance run on 2 - 3 June of the Borodin-based musical at the Marines Memorial Theater, directed by Daren A.C. Carollo with music director Daniel Thomas.
Shotgun Players presents brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee, directed by Margo Hall, from 15 June to 9 July.
The African-American Shakespeare Company presents The Winter's Tale, directed by L. Peter Callender, from 10 to 18 June in the Taube Atrium Theater (next to the Opera House).
Berkeley Rep presents the west coast premiere of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Eric Ting, from 23 June to 23 July.
Modern / New Music
Cal Performances continues its sponsorship of Ojai at Berkeley, the Bay Area version of the famous Ojai festival. This year's music director is Vijay Iyer, who will be joined by performers including Zakir Hussain, Jennifer Koh, Tyshawn Sorey, Wadada Leo Smith, Aruna Sairam, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steven Schick, and Stephan Crump to perform music by composers including Iyer himself, George Lewis, and Stravinsky. That's 15 - 17 June on the Berkeley campus; you can check out the full schedule here.
San Francisco Opera closes out this season with Rigoletto (31 May - 1 July), Don Giovanni (4 - 30 June), and La Bohème (10 June - 2 July).
The San Francisco Girls Chorus will be joined by the Trinity Youth Chorus, soprano Mellissa Hughes, and bass Jonathan Woody, in a program with the appealing (to me) title Mystics and Ecstatics, featuring music by Vivaldi, John Tavener, the US premiere of Song of Seals by Emily Doolittle, and choral improvisations led by Hughes. That's 4 June at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
Chanticleer, in a program they call Psalm, will perform songs of praise and thanksgiving by Dufay, Poulenc, Weelkes, Victoria, and Palestrina, as well as a world premiere of a new work by John Harbison; the concerts take place from 3 to 11 June; check here for specific dates and the various locations.
The San Francisco Symphony closes out its season with some enticing concerts, including: Susanna Mälkki conducting Stravinsky's Scherzo fantastique as well as Le Sacre du printemps along with Beethoven's Piano Concerto 1 (Garrick Ohlsson, soloist) from 9 to 11 June; Vasily Petrenko conducting Glinka's Capriccio brillante on the Jota Aragonesa, the Rachmaninoff Symphony 1, and Lalo's Symphonie espagnole (with violinist Joshua Bell) from 15 to 18 June; and then two programs led by Michael Tilson Thomas – first Music for a Modern Age, featuring works by George Antheil, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, and Michael Tilson Thomas himself, and it looks as if it will be a multi-media extravaganza, directed by Patricia Birch, featuring projections as well as vocalists (mezzo-soprano Measha Brueggergosman, Mikaela Bennett, and Kara Dugan) and dancers (Kiva Dawson and Erin Moore), and that's 23 - 25 June, and then there's Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, with soloists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone), on 28 - 30 June and 1 July.
Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in a program that includes works by Clarice Assad, Laura Karpman, and Joe W. Moore III as well as Rossini and Ravel on 17 June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Old First Concerts presents Zofo (the piano-playing duo of Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi, performing the west coast premiere of Akira Nishimura's Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Ocean Milk) and Holst's The Planets, arranged by Nakagoshi, on 30 June at Old First on Van Ness Avenue.
The Oakland Museum has a couple of interesting shows: Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing examines the photographer's work, particularly her shots of Dust Bowl migrants and Japanese-Americans in the camps during World War II; and Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest is the first full career retrospective for the artist, who died ten years ago. The Lange show runs from 13 May to 13 August and the De Forest show from 29 April to 20 August.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, from 24 June to 9 October.
The Legion of Honor has an exhibit with the self-explanatory title Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade; the show runs from 24 June to 24 September.
The annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival will take place from 1 to 4 June; as usual everything is at the beauteous Castro Theater with wonderful live music, and as usual they have a rich array of silent films, from the familiar to the obscure. This year's programs look so enticing I finally decided just to buy a membership and a pass so that I wouldn't have to decide what to see in advance. Sometimes it's just too difficult to cull the herd!
That's the Bay Area stuff. But since I'm taking a long-overdue trip, I should mention that the Boston Early Music Festival is going on between 11 and 18 June, with an exciting line-up including a fully staged production of André Campra's opera Le Carnaval de Venise.