30 May 2016

fun stuff I may or may not get to: June 2016

Cutting Ball Theater presents August Strindberg's A Dreamplay in a new translation by Paul Walsh, directed by Rob Melrose; the show runs 20 May to 19 June. On 6 June the theater's Hidden Classics reading series presents a sneak preview of next season: a reading of Hedda Gabler, in a new translation by Paul Walsh.

The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner, directed by Patrick Dooley, opens at Shotgun Players and runs 25 May to 26 June and then in repertory, joining their adventurous Hamlet. They also present a reading of Clare Lizzimore's Animal, directed by Katja Rivera, on 27 and 28 June.

Custom Made Theater presents John Guare's modern classic Six Degrees of Separation, directed by Stuart Bousel, from 19 May to 18 June.

Aurora Theater closes its season with Athol Fugard's intense apartheid drama "Master Harold" . . . and the boys; it runs from 17 June to 17 July.

At the San Francisco Opera, Carmen continues, as Carmen does, with performances of the Bieito production on 1, 17, 23, 26 (matinee), and 30 June and 2 and 3 July. The famed femme fatale shares the stage with Verdi's Don Carlo and Janáček's Jenůfa – the titles alone are a recommendation, but the opera has really come through on the casting, with Michael Fabiano, Ana María Martínez, Nadia Krasteva, Mariusz Kwiecien, René Pape, and Ferruccio Furlanetto in the Verdi and Karita Mattila and William Burden (among others) in the Janáček. Don Carlo plays on 12 (matinee), 15, 18, 21, 24, and 29 June and Jenůfa on 14, 19 (matinee), 22, 25, and 28 June and 1 July. The Opera is also presenting a special gala concert in honor of retiring General Director David Gockley on 16 June, with quite a starry line-up.

The International Orange Chorale of San Francisco presents In a Distant Sky: Choral Music from the Chinese Diaspora, featuring the world premiere of In a Distant Sky by Huang Ruo along with pieces by Zhou Long, Leong Yoon Pin, Xixian Qu, Toh Ban Sheng, Shui Jiang Tian, Chen Yi, and IOCSF's Composer-in-Residence Nicholas Weininger. There are two performances, one in Berkeley on 4 June (7:30) at All Souls Episcopal Parish and a second in San Francisco on 11 June (7:30) at St Mark's Lutheran.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Cal Performances / Ojai at Berkeley presents a chamber version of the oratorio La Passion de Simone (as in Simone Weil) with music by Kaija Saariaho and text by Amin Maalouf. Peter Sellars directs and Joana Carneiro conducts, with soprano Julia Bullock, ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble), and choral group Roomful of Teeth. That's 16 June (Bloomsday!) at Zellerbach Playhouse on the Berkeley campus.

Early / Baroque Music
The biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition takes place from 5 to 12 June; as usual the schedule is packed with concerts of interest but there are also plenty more to choose from in the Fringe Festival.

In conjunction with the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, the Pacific Film Archive at the Berkeley Art Museum is presenting an Early Music Film Festival, featuring documentaries, filmed performances, and dramas – check out the whole schedule here; the series runs from 29 May to 15 June.

Cal Performances / Ojai at Berkeley presents soprano Julia Bullock in Josephine Baker: A Portrait; she will be accompanied by percussionist Tyshawn Sorey, who also did the composing and arranging for the show. That's 18 June at Zellerbach Playhouse.

The San Francisco Symphony ends its season with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Tchaikovsky 4 and the Shostakovich cello concerto (with soloist Alexey Stadler) on 2 - 4 June; James Conlon conducting the Britten Sinfonia da Requiem, the Dvořák 8, and Mozart's Piano Concerto 22 (with soloist Jan Lisiecki) on 9 - 12 June; and Michael Tilson Thomas conducting a Stravinsky / John Adams program, featuring The Wound Dresser (with soloist Thomas Hampson) on 16 - 19 June; the Brahms 1, a C P E Bach symphony, and the American premiere of Jörg Widmann's Trauermarsch for Piano and Orchestra (with soloist Yefim Bronfman) on 23 - 24 June; and the Mahler 2, the Resurrection (with soloists Karina Gauvin and Kelley O'Connor) on 29 - 30 June and 1 - 2 July.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival takes over the Castro Theater from 2 June to 5 June; as usual they have a great line-up, ranging from beloved classics to newly restored discoveries, all (or mostly all) accompanied by live music. For me the prize in last year's festival was a Swedish film I had never heard of, Norrtullsligan, which turned out to be a gently comic, warm but clear-eyed look at the lives of young working women. I bought the ticket in a "sure, I'm already there" spirit, and a year later I'm still thinking of this lovely film. (Please someone, release it on DVD!) Check out this year's schedule and find your own treasures.

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