30 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/39

a maiolica plate from mid-16th century Urbino depicting the expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise, from the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

24 September 2019

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

Theater of Yugen starts the spooky season off early with Puppets & Poe: Devised Defiance, directed by Shannon R Davis, which combines several of Poe's poems and short stories using puppetry and traditional Japanese theater techniques; you can check it out from 3 October to 2 November.

Z Space presents its second annual Problematic Play Festival on 2 and 4 October, when you can hear readings of the new comedies Three Fat Sisters by Morgan Gould and Mediocre Heterosexual Sex by Madison Wetzell.

The Ubuntu Theater Project presents Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, directed by company Artistic Director Michael Socrates Moran, from 4 to 27 October at the FLAX Building in Oakland (just a short walk from the 12th Street BART Station).

On 5 October the Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward presents Brian Copeland's The Waiting Period: Laughter in the Darkness, a solo show about his struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide.

San Francisco Playhouse presents The Daughters, a look at the past 60 years of lesbian history in San Francisco, written by Patricia Cotter and directed by Jessica Holt, from 9 October to 2 November; performances will be at the Creativity Theater at Yerba Buena, as SF Playhouse's mainstage will be occupied by Clare Barron's Dance Nation until 9 November.

The African-American Shakespeare Company opens its season with Othello, directed by Carl Jordan and starring L Peter Callender, at the Marines' Memorial Theater from 12 to 27 October.

Shotgun Players presents Elevada, written by Sheila Callaghan and directed by Susannah Martin, from 17 October to 17 November.

JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part sequel to her beloved series of novels, opens at the Curran Theater on 23 October.

Ray of Light celebrates Halloween with its fifth annual revival of Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, this time with new sets, choreography, and direction (though as of this typing I don't see a director listed on the website), running 23 October through 2 November at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

ACT presents Kate Attwell's Test Match, a time-travel drama about cricket, directed by Pam MacKinnon, from 24 October to 8 December at the Strand Theater.

Ars Minerva Artistic Director and mezzo-soprano Céline Ricci will be joined by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, soprano Aurélie Veruni, and harpsichordist Kelly Savage on 5 October at the 906 World Cultural Center (at 906 Broadway in San Francisco) for an evening of music and spoken texts exploring legendary and heroic women of the Mediterranean (women like Cleopatra, Dido, or Ottavia, and music by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Handel, Pietro-Andrea Ziani, and Giovanni Porta).

San Francisco Opera presents the Mozart / da Ponte Le Nozze di Figaro from 11 October to 1 November, and I am delighted that this is a new production, since I loathed the old one.

For some introductory thoughts on one of the fall season's upcoming productions, head to the Wagner Society of Northern California meeting at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on 19 October to hear Brad Wade on the topic What do Hansel and Gretel have to do with Siegmund and Sieglinde?

Cal Performances presents Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar on 3 October at Zellerbach Hall.

Choir! Choir! Choir! comes to Freight & Salvage on 17 October, and you, the audience member, are the choir and will be taught/led in performance – this sounds like potentially a lot of fun for someone who isn't me.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus opens its season on 19 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, with conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe and soprano and guest curator Nell Snaidas exploring Latin American baroque music and poetry, and in particular the celebrated Mexican nun and poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Huun-Huur-Tu, a quartet of Tuvan throat singers, bring their ancient but ever-new music to Freight & Salvage on 1 October.

Soprano Renée Fleming with pianist Richard Bado returns to Zellerbach Hall on 5 October for a Cal Performances recital that will include works by Schubert, Hahn, Delibes, Liszt, Kevin Puts, Bernard Herrmann, Franz Lehár, André Previn, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Adam Guettel.

Lieder Alive! presents tenor Pene Pati (recent, and universally praised, star of SF Opera's Roméo et Juliette) and pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg on 6 October in a program featuring Tosti and Strauss.

The SF Jazz Center presents Lila Downs  and her celebration of the Día de los Muertos (with the participation of the Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and the Mariachi Feminil-Flores Mexicanas) at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on 12 October.

Tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist-composer Brad Mehldau will perform Schumann's Dichterliebe and a new song cycle by Mehldau, The Folly of Desire, at the SF Jazz Center on 15 October.

Jazz singer Clairdee performs a program called The Thrill Is You on 19 October at the Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.

On 20 October Old First Concerts presents mezzo-soprano Naama Liany with guitarist Robert Miller in Una Folía, a program about "wild passion and an impossible love" featuring music by Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Federico García Lorca, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Xavier Montsalvatge.

San Francisco Performances presents the eagerly awaited return of baritone Christian Gerhaher with pianist Gerold Huber in an all-Mahler program; that's 22 October at Herbst Theater.

SHN presents An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson on 14 October at Davies Hall; each ticket includes a copy of Tyson's new book, Letters from an Astrophysicist, redeemable at the talk.

Novelist Zadie Smith visits City Arts & Lectures on 16 October.

It's guest conductor month at the San Francisco Symphony: from 3 to 5 October, Marek Janowski conducts Hindemith's Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with soloist María Dueñas, and the Mozart 41, the Jupiter; from 17 to 19 October, Cristian Măcelaru leads Lili Boulanger's D'un matin de printemps, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (in the orchestration by Ravel), and the world premiere of SFS commission Losing Earth by Adam Schoenberg, featuring percussionist Jacob Nissly; and from 24 to 26 October Karina Canellakis conducts the Prokofiev Piano Concerto 1 with soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk and the Shostakovich 7, Leningrad.

Edwin Outwater leads the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Linda Catlin Smith's Wilderness, the Shostakovich 5, and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (with piano soloist Jung-eun Kim) on 18 October.

Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan opens the season at the Paramount Theater on 18 October with a program titled Hot as Hell / Cool Jazz; the infernal heat in the first half is supplied by the Prologue to Boito's Mefistofele, featuring bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum, the Oakland Symphony Chorus led by Lynne Morrow, and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir led by Eric Tuan; the cool jazz comes after intermission courtesy of an imposing selection of music new and old from trumpeter Josiah Woodson and pianist/composer Taylor Eigsti.

At the Berkeley Symphony, new music director Joseph Young opens the season at Zellerbach Hall on 24 October with the late Olly Wilson's Shango Memory (Shango is the Yoruban deity of thunder and lightning), the Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major with soloist Conrad Tao, and the Beethoven 5.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra will play Emilie Mayer's Faust Overture, along with a lecture-performance of the Beethoven 5, on 25 October at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 26 October at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, and 27 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

OcTUBAfest comes to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 6 October; the program is free (no reservations required).

Old First Concerts presents The Ives Collective on 13 October, playing works by Zoltán Kodály, Erich Korngold, and Peteris Vasks.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, led by concertmaster Robin Sharp, plays piano quartets by Mozart and Fauré at Freight & Salvage on 14 October.

San Francisco Performances presents the Z.E.N. Trio playing Schubert, Brahms, and Shostakovich at Herbst Theater on 18 October (the Trio's name refers not only to the Japanese concept of Zen but to the players's names: pianist Zhang Zuo, violinist Esther Yoo, and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan).

Starting 19 October and continuing for six other Saturday mornings into May, San Francisco Performances presents the Alexander String Quartet and musicologist Robert Greenberg in a lecture / performance series exploring the Beethoven string quartets.

San Francisco Performances presents the Calidore String Quartet, playing works by Haydn, Caroline Shaw, and Beethoven, at Herbst Theater on 21 October.

The San Francisco Symphony Chamber Players perform works by Bach and Schubert at the Legion of Honor's Gunn Theater on 20 October (matinee).

The Telegraph Quartet will performs works by Haydn, Berg, and Britten on 23 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; admission is free but reservations are recommended.

Strings & Keyboards
The SF Jazz Center presents pianist Kenny Barron, joined by pianist Benny Green and guitarist Miles Okazaki, celebrating Thelonius Monk at Herbst Theater on 10 October, which would have been the jazz legend's 102nd birthday.

Jonathan Biss continues his series of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for Cal Performances at Hertz Hall on 12 and 13 October.

San Francisco Performances presents guitarist Manuel Barrueco at Herbst Theater on 13 October, playing works by Luis de Narváez, Héctor Angulo, Ignacio Cervantes, Julián Orbón, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, and Francisco Tárrega.

Pianist Neil Rutman visits Old First Concerts on 18 October to play music by Orlando Gibbons, Chopin, Lou Harrison, Frederic Rzewski, Fauré, and Ravel.

Organist Paul Jacobs gives a solo recital of Bach, Mozart, Ives, and Vierne on 20 October at Davies Hall (presented by the San Francisco Symphony).

Pianist Lang Lang returns to Davies Hall on 21 October (one night only), when he will join the San Francisco Symphony led by Ion Marin in the Beethoven Piano Concerto 2; also on the program are Glinka's Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila and the Tchaikovsky 4.

Pianist Martin Katz, one of the celebrated accompanists of our time, will offer a master class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 25 October; admission is free but reservations are recommended.

Under the auspices of San Francisco Performances, guitarist Jason Vieaux will play works by Scarlatti, Giuliani, Bach, Frank Martin, Barrios, Jobin, Ellington, and José Luis Merlín at Herbst Theater on 26 October.

I don't usually list "galas" but it looks as if there's an actual concert attached to this one, so here goes: San Francisco Performances presents pianist Richard Goode playing Janáček, Chopin, and Debussy at Herbst Theater on 29 October.

Early / Baroque Music
Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in its season opener, Bach's Magnificat and Zelenka's Missa Divi Xaverii, on 4 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 5 October at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 6 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music celebrates the 400th birthday of Barbara Strozzi with a concert of her vocal music on 26 October; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble opens its season with Changing and Unchanging Things, a concert exploring the intersection between Japanese and western art music (the title comes from the Asian Art Museum's upcoming exhibit about Noguchi and Hasegawa, two visual artists who also played in that liminal field). You can hear the world premiere of Karen Tanaka's chamber piece Wind Whisperer, Debussy's Sonata for flute, viola, and harp, Dai Fujikura's Neo, and the world premiere of Hiroya Miura's Sharaku Unframed, a "micro opera" about the 18th century woodblock artist, on 5 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and 6 October at the Berkeley Hillside Club.

InterMusic SF presents the 12th Annual San Francisco Music Day on 6 October, from noon to 7:30, when you can wander among 32 different ensembles performing in the four performance spaces of the Veterans Building (adjacent to the Opera House, and the four spaces are: Herbst Theater, the Green Room, the Atrium Theater, and the Education Studio).

Ensemble for These Times performs Dracula Rising: Ghosts of Hollywood Past on 12 October at the Berkeley Piano Club; the program consists of chamber works and movie arrangements by Polish refugee composers of the 1930s and 1940s as well as Korngold and Castelnuove-Tedesco as well as contemporary works by David Garner, Lennie Moore, and Polish film composer Wojciech Kilar.

Pianist Sarah Cahill will be joined by Gamelan Sari Raras in a performance of the late great Lou Harrison's Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan on 13 October at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive; there are two performances, at 5:30 and 7:30; Gamelan Sari Raras will also perform traditional Javanese music (the performance will be repeated on 8 November at Hertz Hall, when the Javanese music performed by the ensemble will be modern rather than traditional).

Nicolas McGegan's farewell season at the head of Philharmonia Baroque kicks off with a world premiere by Caroline Shaw, The Listeners, a reflection on Carl Sagan's "Golden Record" and humanity's general interest in recording itself for what looks like an increasingly unlikely posterity; also on the program are Handel's Eternal Source of Light Divine and his Suite from Terpsichore; in addition to the orchestra and the chorus led by Bruce Lamott, the soloists are soprano Arwen Myers, contralto Avery Amereau, countertenor Reginald Mobley, and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and you can hear it all on 17 October at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 18 October at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, and 19 and 20 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Bard Music West explores the world of Polish modernist Grażyna Bacewicz in three concerts over over two days (18 - 19 October) at Noe Valley Ministry.

Old First Concerts presents Orphic Percussion, in a program that includes four world premieres, on 25 October.

The Wooden Fish Ensemble celebrates the music (and birthday) of Hyo-Shin Na at Old First Concerts on 27 October with a concert that includes four world premieres.

Don't forget to check the constantly updated calendar for the Center for New Music; here are some things that strike me for this month in the current listings: Fay Victor and Myra Melford with a free-flowing words and music evening on 3 October; Burton Greene playing solo piano as well as the Dunkelman/Ackley/Fluke-Mogul Trio on 4 October: Slow Wave: New Music for Viola, Clarinet, and Piano on 5 October; the Friction Quartet with bass clarinetist Bruce Belton playing the Bay Area premieres of new quintets by Marc Mellits, Sebastián Tozzola, and Michael Torke on 17 October; Jesse Perlstein and Shinya Sugimoto along with Glenda Bates and Oboetronics on 25 October; and Neil Rolnick's Journey's End, a work for computer and piano inspired by his late wife's struggle with cancer, performed by Kathleen Supové, on 26 October.

Jazz &c
Madeleine Peyroux sings at Freight & Salvage on 3 October.

The Seventh Annual San Francisco International Boogie-Woogie Festival will take place at the SF Jazz Center on 20 October.

The SF Jazz Center presents the flamenco sounds of the Paco de Lucía Project on 23 October at Herbst Theater.

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet will regale you with Cajun music at Freight & Salvage on 24 October.

The Vijay Iyer Trio plays the SF Jazz Center on 26 October.

The Myra Melford Platform at Cal Performances presents the David Virelles Trio featuring Marcus Gilmore and Rashaan Carter, and Spider Web, a piece by Nicole Mitchell and Josh Kun involving spoken word, electronics, musical instruments, and movement, at Hertz Hall on 27 October.

The UC-Berkeley Jazz Ensembles will hold their fall concert at Freight & Salvage on 29 October.

Visual Arts
Starting on 2 October and running until 2 February at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, you can see the first US exhibit focusing on Sakaki Hyakusen, the founder of the Nanga school of Japanese painting. By the way, if you haven't been to BAM/PFA lately, check them out! Located an easy block or two from the downtown Berkeley BART station, they offer more consistently interesting and surprising exhibits than any other museum I know of in this area.

The Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley hosts Object Lessons, an exhibit featuring Egyptian artifacts ancient and modern, including items from the Tebtunis Papyri Collection, from 11 October to May 2020.

James Tissot: Fashion and Faith, a rare look at the late-nineteenth-century painter (born in France but also active in England) opens at the Legion of Honor on 12 October and runs until 9 February 2020

There are a couple of interesting exhibits opening this month at the Oakland Museum¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertos, exploring the activist roots of the local celebration of El Día de los Muertos, opens on 16 October; and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which is self-explanatory, opens on 12 October.

Tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran create their second commissioned score for a world premiere at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, which will also feature a light installation designed by Jim Campell, and that runs at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 1 to 6 October.

ODC/Dance and Volti revive KT Nelson's Path of Miracles, their very popular dance version of Joby Talbot's score, at the newly renovated Presidio Theater on 11 October (be aware that the theater is difficult to access without a car).

Renowned butoh troupe Sankai Juku visits Zellerbach Hall for Cal Performances on 12 and 13 October with Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land, a work directed, choreographed, and designed
by Ushio Amagatsu.

Cal Performances presents dance troupe Hālau O Kekuhi performing traditional Hawaiian dances in honor of Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, at Zellerbach Hall on 20 October.

Dance/movement group MOMIX returns to Cal Performances and Zellerbach Hall on 26 - 27 October, with a sampler of movements from some of their more popular shows.

Cal Performances kicks it up old school with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra (under artistic director Valery Gergiev) in La Bayadère at Zellerbach Hall from 30 October to 3 November.

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive launches some interesting film series this month:
David Thomson puts four films of the British New Wave into their cultural context, and that runs from 2 to 23 October; the Mill Valley Film Festival camps out in Berkeley, with various films scheduled from 5 to 12 October (of particular interest is Varda by Agnès on 12 October, in which the late filmmaker reviews her career); and the opportunity, beginning 3 October and scheduled through 16 November, to see new restorations of works starring or directed by Zheng Junli, dating from the early 1930s to the Cultural Revolution.

The SF Jazz Center presents Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi on 10 October, accompanied by GoGo Penguin in a live performance of their own original score.

On October 19 at the newly renovated Presidio Theater in San Francisco you can see the Silent Film Festival's latest restoration, Jane's Declaration of Independence, a 1915 two-reeler (that's about 30 to 40 minutes) that is the earliest surviving theatrical release actually filmed at the Presidio.

Face of a Stranger, a restored feature from 1977 by filmmaker and musician David Michalak inspired by German Expressionism and the silent films of the 1920s, plays at the Center for New Music in San Francisco on 23 October with a newly recorded score by Thollem McDonas; the showing is preceded by a short set from Bruce Ackley.

The SF Jazz Center celebrates Halloween with a special showing at Grace Cathedral of the 1920 John Barrymore Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, accompanied by organist Dorothy Papadakos. Let the holidays begin!

23 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/38

an Egyptian bronze of Harpocrates, the god of silence, secrets, and confidentiality, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

20 September 2019

16 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/37

a piscine detail of Tintoretto's The Creation of the Animals, usually in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice but seen by me as part of the special exhibit Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC

09 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/36

a detail of Tintoretto's Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan, usually in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich but seen by me at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as part of Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice, a special exhibit honoring the painter's 500th birthday

02 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/35

in the Titian Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston – this is part of the arrangement below the Venetian painter's Rape of Europa