31 May 2019

Friday Photo 2019/22

the Washington Monument from the steps of the National Gallery of Art, April 2019

28 May 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: June 2019

Cutting Ball Theater closes its 20th anniversary season by reprising Ionesco's The Bald Soprano, translated and directed by Cutting Ball co-founder Rob Melrose and starring the other co-founder, Paige Rogers; the show runs from 5 to 16 June.

Shotgun Players, as part of their Champagne Reading Series, and Campo Santo co-present Before & Over, a new play by Star Finch, directed by Sean San Jose on 10 - 11 June at the Ashby Stage.

Custom Made Theatre presents Sondheim's Passion (book by James Lapine), directed by Stuart Bousel with music direction by Brian Allan Hobbs, from 20 June to 20 July.

Aurora Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, directed by Nancy Carlin, from 21 June to 21 July.

San Francisco Playhouse closes its season with Kander & Ebb's Cabaret, directed by Susi Damilano, with music direction by Dave Dobrusky and choreography by Nicole Helfer, from 26 June to 14 September.

On 1 and 2 June at Z Space in San Francisco, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents the world premieres of two chamber operas inspired by women artists: From the Field (music by Christopher Stark, libretto by Megan Stark) centers on photographer Dorothea Lange and her work documenting Dust Bowl migrants. and Artemisia (music by Laura Schwendinger, libretto by Ginger Strand) explores the life of the Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents Metropolitan Opera radio broadcaster Will Berger on 1 June at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, speaking on Technology, Opera, and Wagner.

The San Francisco Opera closes out its season with three productions: Bizet's Carmen, staged by Francesca Zambello and conducted by James Gaffigan, featuring J'Nai Bridges, Matthew Polenzani, Anita Hartig, and Kyle Ketelsen, runs from 5 to 29 June; Handel's Orlando, staged by Harry Fehr and conducted by Christopher Moulds, featuring Sasha Cooke, Heidi Stober, Christina Gansch, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, and Christian Van Horn, runs from 9 to 27 June; and Dvořák's Rusalka, staged by David McVicar and conducted by Eun Sun Kim, featuring Rachel Willis‐Sørensen, Brandon Jovanovich, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Jamie Barton, Sarah Cambidge, Laura Krumm, Philip Horst, and Andrew Manea, runs from 16 to 28 June.

Pocket Opera presents its version of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, staged by Phil Lowery with music direction by Frank Johnson, on 2 June at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, 9 June at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and 16 June at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Symphony ends its seasons with a semi-staged (by James Bonas) production of Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and starring mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard; the originally announced companion piece, Britten's Noye's Fludde, has been cancelled and the replacement is currently listed as that old favorite, TBD. You can experience it all on 27 and 29 - 30 June. (Be aware that the matinee on the 30th coincides with the Gay Pride Parade and transportation will be difficult.)

I really wish they were doing something other than the overly familiar Carmina Burana, but if you are of a mind to hear that piece you probably can't do much better than the excellent forces scheduled for 4 June at Davies Hall, when Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus (and the Ragazzi Boys Chorus) along with soloists Nikki Einfeld (soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Hadleigh Adams (baritone).

The International Orange Chorale of San Francisco (IOCSF) gives us Re-Set: New Takes on Old Texts featuring the world premiere of Te puse collares by Composer-in-Residence Robin Estrada as well as pieces from composers including Ola Gjeilo, Frank LaRocca, James MacMillan, Frank Martin, Brian Schmidt, Urmas Sisask, Nicholas Weininger, Eric Whitacre, and David Wikander, and that's 8 June at Christ Church East Bay in Berkeley and 15 June at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco; the concerts are free and you can RSVP on the group's website.

Chanticleer explores Sacred Ground throughout the greater Bay Area from 8 to 16 June.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by Valérie Sainte-Agathe, is joined by singer Mahsa Vahdat and harpist Bridget Kibbey in visionary works, including the world premieres of SFGC commissions by Richard Danielpour and Reena Esmail along with works by Mahsa Vahdat herself, Eric Banks, Tord Gustavsen, Hildegard von Bingen, Frank Ferko, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; that's 8 June at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco and 9 June at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Lieder Alive presents soprano Heidi Moss Erickson and pianist John Parr in an all-Richard Strauss program at the Noe Valley Ministry on 30 June.

On 8 June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in Elfrida Andrée's Prelude to Fritiofs Saga, Shawn Krichner's Brokeback Mountain Suite (with the composer as the featured pianist), and the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique.

At the San Francisco Symphony, conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the ballet music from Mozart's Idomeneo as well as his piano concerto 24 (with soloist David Fray), Verdi's overture to I vespri siciliani, and Elgar's In the South (Alassio) on 6 - 8 June; Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the Mahler 9 on 13 - 16 June; and then Tilson Thomas returns 20 - 22 June to conduct his own Street Song for Symphonic Brass, the San Francisco premiere of Steve Reich's Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (a Symphony co-commission), and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto 2 (with soloist Yefim Bronfman).

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Youth Symphony on 16 June in Davies Hall; this final concert of their season features Prelude 1 from Three American Preludes by Detley Glanert, selections from the Mahler 1, and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with soloist Karen Gomyo.

Chamber Music
Musicians from the San Francisco Symphony play chamber works by Schubert, Bruch, and Gaubert on 2 June and unfortunately it's in the unwieldy barn that is Davies Hall.

Ensemble Illume plays Mozart, Brahms, and Saariaho for Old First Concerts on 7 June.

Keyboards & Strings
The San Francisco Symphony presents organist Christopher Houlihan in recital on 9 June at Davies Hall, playing works b y Buxtehude, Schumann, Bach, Saint-Saëns, and Franck.

Old First Concerts presents cello (Amos Yang) and bass (Charles Chandler) duo 2LOW on 9 June, performing a world premiere by Andrès Martin and Shinji Eshima's reworking of the Bach Cello Suite 2.

Le Due Muse (cellist Sarah Hong and pianist Makiko Ooka), joined by violinist Heeguen Song, present an all-Schubert program at Old First Concerts on 21 June.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The Other Minds Festival continues with two noteworthy (yes, it's a pun) concerts: The Pressure, an evening-length multimedia work on themes from German Expressionist horror films with music by Brian Baumbusch and words by Paul Baumbusch on 15 June at the YBCA Theater and then, on 16 June at YBCA, the continued exploration of the microtonal compositions of Ivan Wyschnegradsky – previously we heard the Arditti play his string quartets, and now we get to hear his piano works.

Old First Concerts presents The Musical Art Quintet on 30 June, performing works by Duke Ellington, Ariel Ramirez, and Michel Camilo, as well as Kanta Judezmo, an oratorio by Quintet bassist Sascha Jacobsen (featuring mezzo-soprano Melinda Becker and librettist Bobby Coleman as narrator) that explores the Sephardic diaspora.

The summer solstice is 21 June, which means the annual Garden of Memory event will take place at the Columbarium in the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, featuring an abundance of local new music luminaries.

And as always, check the calendar at the Center for New Music frequently, as concerts are added all the time; some things that catch my eye in the current June listings are: Sl(e)ight Ensemble, along with visual artist Jessie Austin, performing the program Angles of Times, featuring new works with alternate methods of notating time, on 7 June; bass-baritone Jóhann Schram Reed and pianist Taylor Chan performing the world premiere of Patricia Wallinga's setting of Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, along with works by David Conte and other modern American art songs, on 8 June; the CD release concert for pianist Nadia Shpachenko's new recording The Poetry of Places, including five SF premieres by Amy Beth Kirsten, Hannah Lash, James Matheson, Harold Meltzer, and Jack Van Zandt, along with two world premieres and two west coast premieres from Paul Chihara, Thea Musgrave, José Serebrier, and Lewis Spratlan, on 18 June; and pianist Ju-Ping Song playing new works by Lois Vierk, Nicole Lizée, Rahilia Hasanova, and Kate Moore, on 28 June.

The Golden Circle Sextet, led by composer / vibraphonist Dan Neville and composer / flutist Rebecca Kleinmann, bring their Afro-Cuban-inflected jazz to Old First Concerts on 23 June.

There are some terrific film series starting at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive this month: Julio Bracho and Mexican Cinema's Golden Age starts on 7 June;  Looking Again at Orson Welles starts on 9 June; and Fritz Lang's America starts on 21 June.

Visual Arts
I've always wished the Asian Art Museum would show more woodblock prints, so despite my feeling that tattoos are tediously ubiquitous these days I'm looking forward to Tattoos in Japanese Prints, running from 31 May to 18 August. The Museum has also re-opened its renovated third floor, featuring Masterpieces in Context.

27 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/21

detail of Summer by Tintoretto; part of the exhibit Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC

24 May 2019

Friday Photo 2019/21

Panama Pacific Expo Statue in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, April 2019

20 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/20

detail of St George & the Dragon by Tintoretto, usually in the National Gallery in London but seen as part of the show Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery in Washington DC

13 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/19

detail of Water Lilies (1914 - 1915) by Claude Monet; normally found at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon but seen at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as part of the exhibit Monet: The Late Years

06 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/18

a detail of Two Children by Paul Gauguin, painted around 1889 in Paris or Brittany; seen at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as part of the exhibit Paul Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey but usually found at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen

This child looks seriously uneasy. The second time I went to this exhibit a man next to me said, "That child is on a bad acid trip."

03 May 2019