29 January 2018

Museum Monday 2018/5

detail of the outer robe (dopo) of King Yeongjo of Korea (lived 1694 - 1776; reigned 1724 - 1776), seen at the Couture Korea show at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; the show runs until 4 February 2018

24 January 2018

fun stuff I may or may not get to: February 2018

It's the shortest month, but it's jam-packed this time around:

From 2 to 13 February, Cutting Ball Theater is offering a two-week festival of theatrical adventures, which they're calling A Variety Pack, featuring a variety of short plays and readings. There's a Directors Series, a Playwrights Series, and a Reading Series, so go to the schedule and click on all the links to see if anything piques your interest.

San Francisco Playhouse offers Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday (which you may remember from the Judy Holliday film), directed by Susi Damilano, from 23 January to 10 March.

Theater Rhinoceros presents John Fisher's Transitions, a new play about a transsexual, an American President, and a Russian President, from 23 February to 17 March.

The Lamplighters present Gilbert & Sullivan's buoyant The Gondoliers; or, The King of Barataria, with performances 2 - 4 February at the Yerba Buena Cnter for the Arts in San Francisco, 9 - 11 February at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, and 17 - 18 February at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View.

Opera Parallèle presents a double-bill of Jake Heggie's At the Statue of Venus and Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti at the SF Jazz Center on 14 - 18 February.

Snapshot, West Edge Opera's sampler of new works, is returning, with performances in Berkeley at the Odd Fellows Lodge on Fulton on 24 February and in San Francisco at the Taube Atrium Theater on 25 February.

And if you were unfortunate enough to miss Philharmonia Baroque's production last spring of Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire, you can at least pre-order the CDs.

Cal Performances presents jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant in Zellerbach Hall on 7 February.

Cal Performances presents soprano Dorothea Röschmann and pianist Malcolm Martineau performing Schubert, Schumann, Mahler, and Wagner in Hertz Hall on 16 February.

The San Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Recital Series opens with Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch performed by soprano Jana McIntyre, baritone Andrew G Manea, and pianist John Elam on 21 February at the Taube Atrium Theater.

Early / Baroque Music
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Agave Baroque with countertenor Reginald Mobley in music of love and loss from the time of the Thirty Years' War on 2 February at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 3 February at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 4 February at Church of the Advent in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents Australian troupe Circa in an adaptation of Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria featuring two singers, four instrumentalists, and six acrobats. You can see the results in Zellerbach Hall on 3 and 4 February.

American Bach Soloists, led by Jeffrey Thomas, will perform Bach's St John Passion on 23 February at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 24 February at First Congregational in Berkeley, 25 February at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 26 February at Davis Community Church in Davis.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen with pianists Eric Zivian and Sarah Cahill, along with two world premieres: Chris Castro's IV-I and Philip Acimovic's Reverent Murmurs. The performances are 1 and 3 February at the Berkeley Piano Club and 5 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Nicole Paiement leads the SFCM New Music Ensemble in a free concert on 3 February featuring Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No 1 and John Adams's Chamber Symphony.

Ensemble for These Times offers two concerts this month: the first, on 4 February at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, offers works by Henryk Gorecki, Shulamit Ran, Aleksandra Vrebalov, David Garner, Weiwei and Mike McFerron, Dave Collins, and Joelle Wallach; the second, on 24 February at the Berkeley Piano Club on Haste Street, is a solo recital with pianist Dale Tsang playing works by Mercedes Zavala, Elinor Armer, Alden Jenks and David Garner, Derek Bermel and Martyna Kosecka, and William Price.

Earplay opens its season with A Delicate Arrangement of Sounds, featuring a world premiere by Frank Bedrossian along with music by Bruce Christian Bennett, Richard Festinger (a west coast premiere), and Helen Grime; that's on 5 February at the Taube Atrium Theater.

Volti and ODC combine to present Path of Miracles, with music by Joby Talbot and movement by KT Nelson, on 9 and 10 February at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I heard some of the music at one of Volti's concerts last year and I am really excited about hearing the entire piece.

Cal Performances presents the St Lawrence String Quartet playing the First Quartet and Second Quartet by John Adams and the String Quartet in Five Movements by his son Samuel Adams; that's 18 February in Hertz Hall.

San Francisco Performances presents Philip Glass's Music with Changing Parts, featuring the Philip Glass Ensemble, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and students from the Conservatory of Music, at Davies Hall on 20 February. There is a related event earlier in the month, on 2 February, when pianist and composer Timo Andres and the members of the Kronos Quartet gather in Herbst Theater to talk about their experiences with Glass and his music (musical examples will be included).

On 25 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music you can listen to Mortal Lessons and other works by Ryan Brown in a free concert.

The Hot Air Music Festival will be taking place on 25 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Be sure to check out the schedule at the Center for New Music, as new events are frequently added after I post these previews. Some things that caught my eye for February: a preview of the Hot Air Music Festival on 2 February; Animals & Giraffes on 7 February; the Nouveau Classical Project on 8 February; and the Hubbard Quartet on 17 February playing music by Julie Barwick, Vivian Fine, Devree Lewis (west coast premiere!) and Marilyn Zupnick.

Chamber Music
On 2 February Old First Concerts presents music for piano, clarinet, and strings by Iosif Andriasov, Arshak Andriasov, Sergie Taneyev, Aram Khatchaturian, and Lawrence London performed by clarinetist Lawrence London, violinists Victor Romasevich and Michael Jones, violist Stephen Levintow, cellist Jill Brindel, and pianists Arkadi Serper and Marilyn Thompson.

On 4 February Old First Concerts presents the first of four concerts commemorating the centennial of Claude Debussy's death (the others will take place on 18 May, 6 July, and 24 August). The program includes selections from Images Book I & II, Pour le piano; Suite Bergamasque; Premiere Rhapsodie, L'isle joyeuse, Syrinx, selected Preludes and Études; the performers will be pianists Stephen Bailey, Christopher Basso, Daniel Glover, Louise Costigan-Kerns, Jeffrey LaDeur, Laura Magnani, Pete Paesaroch, Robert Schwartz, Brent Smith, Robin Sutherland, and piano four-hand duo ZOFO (Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann), flutist Tim Day, alto Katherine McKee, and clarinetist Carlos Ortega.

The San Francisco Symphony has several chamber music concerts scheduled this month, but I'm only going to mention the one on 4 February, mostly because I am stunned and delighted that something by the great Elliott Carter is finally going to be played at Davies Hall – it's Con Leggerezza Pensosa – Omaggio a Italo Calvino, which is less than ten minutes long, but at least it's something. The program also features works by Jolivet, Janáček, and Tchaikovsky.

San Francisco Performances presents clarinetist Jörg Widmann playing his own works and also, with pianist Gilles Vonsattel, works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Weber; that's at Herbst Theater on 8 February. [UPDATE: On 26 January, SFP announced that Widmann has cancelled his US tour due to "an unexpected scheduling conflict" – if you have a ticket already, SFP will be contacting you about exchanges.]

The Wooden Fish Ensemble (violin, piano, and koto) visits Old First Concerts on 11 February to perform works by Hyo-shin Na (including two world premieres), along with works by Boudewijn Buckinx and traditional Japanese music.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents violinist James Ehnes and pianist Orion Weiss playing Beethoven, Poulenc, and Strauss on 11 February at Herbst Theater. (The program is repeated 10 February in Walnut Creek and 12 February in Palo Alto.)

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and pianist Noreen Polera playing Schumann, Brahms, Tsintsadze, Albéniz, Schedrin, Massenet, and Cassado at Herbst Theater on 16 February.

San Francisco Performances presents the Danish String Quartet playing Bartók, Beethoven, and Nordic folk music at Herbst Theater on 19 February.

San Francisco Performances presents flutist Emmanuel Pahud and pianist Alessio Bax in a program of Poulenc, Schubert, Bach, and Mendelssohn at Herbst Theater on 21 February.

On 24 February in Herbst Theater Chamber Music San Francisco presents tenor Michael Schade, violinist Livia Sohn, and pianist Kevin Murphy in a program of lieder by Schubert, Mozart, and Strauss, as well as violin solos based on operatic themes and arrangement by Fritz Kreisler for tenor, violinist, and piano. (The program is repeated 25 February in Walnut Creek and 26 February in Palo Alto.)

Cal Performances presents guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad and mandolinist Avi Avital in a program of music by Bach, Haydn, Debussy, Bartók, Piazzola, and others adapted for their plucked strings; that's 25 February in Hertz Hall.

Organist Cameron Carpenter performs Bach at the SF Jazz Center from 8 to 11 February.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Yefim Bronfman in a solo recital featuring Schumann, Debussy, and Prokofiev on 18 February in Davies Hall. Then, on 27 February, also at Davies, they present Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan playing music for two pianos by Schumann, Maura Lanza, Schubert, and Rachmaninoff.

Old First Concerts presents a Chopin birthday concert with pianist Eric Lu on 25 February.

See also pianists Eric Zivian and Sarah Cahill with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble under Modern / Contemporary.

Guest conductor Keitaro Harada leads the Berkeley Symphony in Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine, Gordon Getty's Joan and the Bells (that's Joan as in Joan of Arc), and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique; Eric Choate is Chorus Master and the vocal soloists are soprano Lisa Delan and baritone Lester Lynch. That's 1 February at Zellerbach Hall and 2 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

One Found Sound plays music by Takemitsu and Beethoven on 9 February at Heron Arts in San Francisco.

On 9 February at the Paramount Theater the Oakland Symphony presents Pride & Prejudice: Notes from LGBTQ with Michelle Meow as Master of Ceremonies and Bryan Nies as conductor, featuring Barber's First Essay for Orchestra, Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with soloists Jonathan Blalock (tenor) and Meredith Brown (horn), Higdon's blue cathedral, Saint-Saën's Piano Concerto 2 with soloist Sara Davis Buechner, and the world premiere of With the Right Music: A Song Cycle by Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne and orchestration by Matt Aument, featuring soprano Lee Chisolm, also Tatiana Cordoba, tenors Taylor Rawley and Alex Perkins, and baritone Brandon Belt, and Noah Galvin (listed simply as "singer").

Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque, joined by cellist Steven Isserlis, in the Mozart 17, Haydn's Concerto for Violoncello No 2 in D major, the Herschel 8, and the Haydn 43, Mercury, on 7 February at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, on 9 February at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and on 10 and 11 February at First Congregational in Berkeley. The Herschel listed among the composers is the same Sir William Herschel who later discovered the planet Uranus, and congrats to PBO for finding such an unusual item for their program.

Cal Performances presents the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in three different programs in Zellerbach Hall, each one featuring a piano concerto by Beethoven and a new piece written in response to that concerto. On 9 February it's the Beethoven Piano Concerto 2 with the west coast premiere of Timo Andres's The Blind Banister, along with the Mendelssohn 4, the Italian; on 10 February it's the Beethoven Piano Concerto 4 with the west coast premiere of Il sogno di Stradella (The Dream of Stradella) for Piano and Orchestra by Salvatore Sciarrino, along with the Haydn 49, the Passion, and the Ives Unanswered Question; then on 11 February it's the Beethoven Piano Concerto 5, the Emperor, with the west coast premiere of O Mikros, O Megas (This Tiny World, This Enormous World) by George Tsontakis, along with Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin. Joshua Weilerstein conducts and Jonathan Biss is the pianist (he will also lead some pieces from the keyboard).

Cal Performances presents violinist Nicola Benedetti with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto and the Beethoven 4 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on 14 February.

Herbert Blomstedt returns to the San Francisco Symphony for a couple of different programs: on 8 - 10 February he leads the band in the Beethoven Piano Concerto 5, the Emperor, with soloist Garrick Ohlsson, along with the Stenhammar 2; and then on 15 - 17 February he leads the Mozart 40 and the Beethoven 3, the Eroica. Then on 22 - 24 February Andrey Boreyko takes over, leading the Shostakovich 5 along with Bernstein's Serenade (with violin soloist Vadim Gluzman) and his Divertimento.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band visits the SF Jazz Center from 2 to 4 February.

See also Cécile McLorin Salvant under Vocalists.

Cal Performances presents Tony Kushner and Sarah Vowell in conversation about Abraham Lincoln on 21 February in Zellerbach Hall.

Also on 21 February, you can hear writer George Saunders at City Arts & Lectures.

On 25 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music you can spend Sunday with the Divas, listening to Marilyn Horne, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, and Patricia Racette talk about their careers and the opera world.

Once San Francisco Ballet finishes its run of Sleeping Beauties on 4 February, they are filling out the month with two mixed programs: Bright Fast Cool Blue (Program 2) from 13 to 24 February, featuring Serenade (music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Balanchine), The Chairman Dances (music by John Adams, choreography by Benjamin Millepied), and Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes (music by Aaron Copland and choreography by Justin Peck); and Distinctly SF Ballet (Program 3) from 15 to 25 February, featuring works created for SF Ballet: On a Theme of Paganini (music by Rachmaninoff, choreography by Helgi Tomasson), Ibsen's House (music by Dvořák, choreography by Val Caniparoli), and Ghost in the Machine (music by Michael Nyman, choreography by Myles Thatcher).

Cal Performances presents Company Wang Ramirez in Borderline, an aerial extravaganza for six dancers, on 24 - 25 February in Zellerbach Hall.

Visual Arts
At the Legion of Honor, Casanova: The Seduction of Europe, which takes the celebrated peripatetic bon vivant as its focus, opens on 10 February and runs through 28 May.

At the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish Artists, which uses a flexible idea of the machine as a way of examining the works of sixteen different artists, opens on 22 February and runs until 29 July.

22 January 2018

Museum Monday 2018/4

torso of Herakles backed by a frieze, from the excellent exhibit Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

15 January 2018

Museum Monday 2018/3

detail of A Pastoral Visit by Richard Norris Brooke in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. I love the look on the child's face:

12 January 2018

Friday photo 2018/2

night-time view of It's a Small World at Disneyland, lit for the holidays, November 2017

08 January 2018

Museum Monday 2018/2

detail of Woman with a Pearl Necklace by Johannes Vermeer; I saw it at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as part of the exhibit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, which runs until 21 January, but it normally can be found in Berlin, at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie

05 January 2018

Friday photo 2018/1

offerings to Our Lady of Sorrows, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, October 2017

01 January 2018

Museum Monday 2018/1

detail of Auguste Rodin's plaster model for L'Age d'Airan (the Age of Bronze) in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC