detail of Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. 4 by Georgia O'Keeffe, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The Omicron surge appears to be receding, and with it the concomitant surge in event cancellations, but it's still a good idea to check before you go. Most venues require proof of vaccination (and sometimes of the booster shot as well), so if you venture out make sure you have that with a photo ID. And although some government entities have lifted mask mandates, many businesses, including theatrical venues, have not, so make sure you have a mask with you (in case you ever leave the house without one these days). And here we are, a quarter of the way through this year.
The New Conservatory Theater offers the Bay Area premiere of Colman Domingo's Dot from 4 March to 3 April.
Passing Strange, with book, lyrics, and music by Stew (the music is in collaboration with Heidi Rodewald) comes to the Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage, directed by William Hodgson with music direction by Daniel Alley, from 5 March to 10 April.
42nd Street Moon has its own tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein, A Grand Night for Singing, with what it describes as "a modern twist", running from 10 to 27 March at the Gateway Theater, conceived by Walter Bobbie, with music director Lynden James and direction and choreography by Cindy Goldfield.
San Francisco Playhouse presents Quiara Alegría Hudes's Water by the Spoonful (winner of the 2012 Pulitzer for Drama), directed by Denise Blasor, from 16 March to 23 April.
The west coast premiere of Trey Anthony's How Black Mothers Say I Love You, performed by Theater Rhinoceros, plays Spark Arts (4229 18th Street in San Francisco) from 17 March to 3 April.
Berkeley Rep presents the world premiere of Goddess, a new musical from playwright Jocelyn Bioh, composer Michael Thurber, and director Saheem Ali, in the Roda Theater from 19 March to 1 May. UPDATED: from a Berkeley Rep e-mail: Goddess, which was originally slated to begin performances March 19, will now run August 13-September 25, 2022.
ACT presents María Irene Fornés’s Fefu and her Friends, directed by Pam MacKinnon, at the Strand Theater from 24 March to 1 May.
Pocket Opera does its thing with Lehár's The Merry Widow, with Music Director David Drummond and Stage Director Michael Mohammed on 27 March at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, 3 April at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and 10 April at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito on 11 and 13 March, conducted by Curt Pajer in a production by James Darrah.
UPDATE: See the comments for information from Lisa Hirsch on the Livermore Valley Opera production of Verdi's Otello.
Cal Performances presents soprano Angel Blue in recital with pianist Bryan Wagorn, performing songs and arias by Puccini, Strauss, Weill, George Gershwin, and Lee Hoiby, as well as arrangements of Black American spirituals, on 6 March in Hertz Hall.
Countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, scheduled to make his SF Opera debut this fall as Gluck's Orfeo, gives a recital with pianist Michał Biel on 13 March at Cal Performances' Hertz Hall, where they will perform works by Fux, Purcell, Czyż, Karłowicz, Moniuszko, and Handel.
The Schwabacher Recital Series kicks off on 15 March in the Taube Atrium with mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz and pianist Erica Xiaoyan Guo, along with guest guitarist Tatiana Senderowicz, in a program examining gender roles and assumptions: the first part, La Premiere Femme, explores the feminine through works by Barbara Strozzi, Rossini, Alma Mahler, and David Lang; the second part, Masc-era, covers the masculine through works by Ned Rorem, Schubert, and new arrangements of Ranchera pieces, inspired by singer Chavela Vargas; part three, Neutrois, is "fluid", including works by Britten, Korngold, and Prince.
San Francisco Performances presents tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Ethan Iverson at Herbst Theater on 16 March in Songs of the Earth: they will be handling the songs (by Schubert, Mahler, Schumann, Vaughan Williams, Copland, Hanns Eisler, Fauré, Hahn, Tansy Davies, Britten, Rebecca Clarke, Sally Beamish, Ives, and Holst), and the poems (from Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Kathleen Jamie, Robin Robertson, Larkin, Hopkins, Seamus Heaney, Rilke, DH Lawrence, Edward Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Wordsworth, Hayden Carruth, Elizabeth Bishop, and WH Auden) will be performed by Velina Brown and Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, longtime members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Rebecca Petra Naomi Seeman, joined by pianist Paul G. McCurdy, leads Sacred & Profane in Rhythm of Time, including works by Schubert, Eskil Hemberg, Britten, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Conrad Susa, Cyndi Lauper, Zanaida Robles, Jocelyn Hagen, Dale Trumbore, Stacy Garrop, Rosephanye Powell, and S&P's assistant conductor, Edna Yeh; you can hear all that 12 March at Saint John's Presbyterian in Berkeley and 13 March at Saint Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.
On 13 March at the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco, Valérie Sainte-Agathe leads the San Francisco Girls Chorus, with guests vocalist Bobby McFerrin, composer Theresa Wong, and pianist Sarah Cahill in excerpts from McFerrin's Circlesongs and other compositions, as well as the world premiere of Wong's In Stillness I Sing (a Girls Chorus commission) and earlier SFGC commisions by Pamela Z and Tania León.
Paul Flight leads Chora Nova in Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music, Holst's Short Festival Te Deum, and other pieces, including an unnamed Bay Area premiere, on 20 March at First (Congregational) Church in Berkeley.
Chanticleer gives us an evening of Rumors through works by Josquin, Tallis, Vaughan Williams, George Walker, Ricky Ian Gordon (a world premiere), and Fleetwood Mac on 26 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads two sets of concerts at the San Francisco Symphony this month: from 3 to 5 March he leads the world premiere of Fang Man's Song of the Flaming Phoenix (with Wu Wei as soloist on the sheng), along with the Liszt Piano Concerto 2 (with soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet) and Sciabin's The Poem of Ecstasy (the "event description" near the bottom of the site page lists more Liszt, the symphonic poem Prometheus, but it's not included higher up under the Program, so who knows); then from 10 to 12 March he leads the SF Symphony premiere of Elizabeth Ogonek's Sleep & Unremembrance (inspired by the poems of Wisława Szymborska), along with Stravinsky's Violin Concerto (with soloist Leila Josefowicz) and the Rite of Spring.
The Oakland Symphony gives two concerts this month, both at the Paramount Theater: on 4 March, conductor Kalena Bovell and Eric Tuan, director of the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, perform Debussy's Salut Printemps, Rautavaara's Lapsimessu, Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez (with solo guitarist Meng Su), Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Resphighi's The Fountains of Rome; and on 25 March, conductor Leslie B. Dunner leads the Andrés Martín Bass Concerto 1 (with soloist Aaron Olguin on double bass) and the Beethoven 7.
On 6 March in Davies Hall, Daniel Stewart conducts the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra in Gabriella Smith's Tumblebird Contrails, Mason Bates's Mothership, and Holst's The Planets.
Brad Hogarth leads members of the San Francisco Symphony brass section in, surprise, an all-brass program, featuring works by Copland, Bach, John Mackey, Michael Tilson Thomas, Adrienne Albert, Percy Grainger, Kevin Day, and Paul Terracini on 6 March in Davies Hall.
Cyrus Ginwala, Guest Conductor, leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in Barber's Second Essay for Orchestra, the Schubert 3, and Saint-Saëns's Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah on 12 March at Saint Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.
On 13 March in Davies Hall the San Francisco Symphony presents violinist Joshua Bell and the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields performing violin concertos by Bach and Barber (with Bell as soloist) along with the Beethoven 3, the Eroica.
Cal Performances presents Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra playing works by Berlioz, Hannah Kendall, Bartók, Ravel, and Sibelius (the 7th) at Zellerbach Hall on 20 March.
On 25 March Joseph Young leads the Berkeley Symphony at First Congregational in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite, what they describe as a "reimagined, uniquely Berkeley retelling of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf" with Wendy MacNaughton as narrator, and Reena Esmail's Meri Sakhi Ki Avaaz (My Sister’s Voice), with soloists Hindustani singer Saili Oak and soprano Maya Kherani.
One Found Sound presents Constellations: Mars on 26 March at Heron Arts in San Francisco, where you can experience Jeff Scott's Homage to Duke, Paquito D'Rivera's Aires Tropicales, Ivan Trevino's Song Book Volume 3, and an encore performance by dancer / choreographer Babatunji Johnson.
Concertmaster Mark Steinberg will lead the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Zellerbach Hall on 27 March for Cal Performances, in Purcell fantasias arranged for string orchestra as well as two Mozart piano concertos (K 488 & K 491) featuring soloist Mitsuko Uchida.
On 5 March San Francisco Performances continues its Saturday morning lecture series at Herbst Theater with musicologist Robert Greenberg and the Alexander String Quartet exploring the chamber music of Dvořák; joined by pianist Jeffrey LaDeur, they will discuss and perform the Terzetto, Opus 74 for two violins and viola, and the Piano Quintet, Opus 81; then on 12 March they reconvene sans pianist LaDeur for the American String Quartet, Opus 96 and the American String Quintet, Opus 97.
On 12 March in Herbst Theater San Francisco Performances presents quartet Brooklyn Rider and mandolinist Avi Avital playing works by Bach, Boccherini, Giovanni Sollima, Matana Roberts, Colin Jacobsen, Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin, and world premieres by Gonzalo Grau and Osvaldo Golijov.
San Francisco Performances presents the Takács Quartet, joined by Julien Labro on bandoneon, at Herbst Theater on 17 March, when they will perform works by Bryce Dessner, Saluzzi, Bach, Ravel, Assad, and Labro himself.
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to San Francisco Performances and Herbst Theater on 18 March, when they will perform pieces by Haydn, Schubert, and Martinů.
Old First Concerts presents the Friction Quartet and mezzo-soprano Melinda Martinez Becker on 18 March, when they will perform lieder by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn's String Quartet in E-flat major, and other works TBA.
The Maisky Trio (father Mischa on cello, daughter Lily on piano, son Sascha on violin) comes to Chamber Music San Francisco on 23 March at Herbst Theater, where they will perform works by Brahms, Clara Schumann, Schubert, and Mendelssohn.
Chamber Music San Francisco presents pianist Nikolay Khozyainov on 5 March at Herbst Theater, where he will play works by Chopin, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff.
San Francisco Performances presents pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason at Herbst Theater on 7 March, playing works by Mozart, Beethoven, Gubaidulina, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and a new work by Eleanor Alberga.
Pianist Hadley McCarroll visits Old First Concerts on 13 March to play Beethoven, Janáček, Reena Esmail, and B P Herrington.
Chamber Music San Francisco presents violinist Midori, along with pianist Özgür Aydin, at Herbst Theater on 19 March, when they will perform music by Mozart, Schumann, Bach, Skalkottas, and Brahms.
Jazz pianist Aaron Parks brings a solo show to SF Jazz's Joe Henderson Lab on 20 March.
The San Francisco Symphony presents pianist Drew Petersen at Davies Hall on 23 March, playing works by Ravel, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff.
San Francisco Performances presents George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at Herbst Theater on 24 March; the program will be announced from the stage.
Guitarist Laura Snowden comes to Saint Mark's Lutheran on 26 March, co-presented by San Francisco Performances and the OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts; she will play works by Fernando Sor, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Johann Kaspar Mertz, Lennox Berkeley, Agustín Barrios, and Snowden herself.
Early / Baroque Music
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents the US debut of Ensemble Jupiter in an all-Vivaldi program of concertos and arias on 3 March at First Church (formerly known as First Congregational) in Berkeley.
Skip Sempé makes his guest conducting debut with Philharmonia Baroque (with Marc Schachman on oboe) in From Versailles to the English Court, examining the different styles of baroque music in England and France through music by Lully, Couperin, Marais, Albinoni, Muffat, and Purcell; you can hear the results 9 March at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 11 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 12 - 13 March at First Congregational in Berkeley.
The Cantata Collective presents what it promises is its first annual Bach Weekend on 20 - 21 March; on 21 March (Bach's 337th birthday), Nicolas McGegan will lead the Saint John Passion at First Church in Berkeley, with vocalists Thomas Cooley (Evangelist), Paul Max Tipton (Jesus), Nola Richardson, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Derek Chester, and Harrison Hintzsche; on 20 March, there will be a symposium at Saint Clement's Episcopal on the Passion text and religious implications, with talks by Michael Marissen and Richard Taruskin and an Introduction and Listener's Guide to the piece by Harry Gray, followed by a round table on all aspects of this Passion that will include McGegan and members of the Cantata Collective, and that's followed by an instrumental chamber concert by the Collective (the 20th is free but the performance on the 21st is ticketed).
Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Passion & Joy, featuring Holy Week-themed music by Bach, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and Johann Theile, on 25 March at Saint Stephen's in Belvedere, 26 March at First Church in Berkeley, 27 March at Saint Mark's Church in San Francisco, and 28 March at Davis Community Church in Davis.
Lang Lang will play the Goldberg Variations at Davies Hall on 30 March, sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony.
Modern / Contemporary Music
Other Minds presents Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies performing solo and four-hand piano music with what are described as "interactive projections" by Cori O'Lan on 5 March at Hertz Hall in Berkeley; the main attraction will be Stravinsky's Firebird as arranged by Davies, as well as pieces by Philip Glass, Marc Raibel, Laurie Anderson, Hania Rani, and Kurt Schwertsik
The Del Sol Quartet returns to Old First Concerts on 12 March with its third annual Pacific Pythagorean Music Festival, featuring pure-ratio harmonies; works to be performed include Reza Vali's String Quartet Number 5, Gavesht and Madeline Ashman's Gravitation (both world premieres), and performers include, besides the Del Sol, Ken Ueno, Viola Yip, Hafez Modirzadeh, and Keshav Batish.
On 12 March at the Center for New Music, pianist Nic Gerpe celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of George Crumb's Makrokosmos, Volume I for solo amplified piano by first playing the original and then following it with a new cycle, commissioned by Gerpe from twelve composers (Vera Ivanova, Fernanda Aoki Navarro, Gernot Wolfgang, Eric Guinivan, Alexander Elliott Miller, Viet Cuong, Julie Herndon, Gilda Lyons, Timothy Peterson, Juhi Bansal, Thomas Osborne, and Gerpe himself), each responding to one of the twelve movements of the Crumb.
Cal Performances presents the west coast premiere of Place, a dialogue-oratorio about gentrification and displacement by composer Ted Hearne and poet Saul Williams (directed and co-created with Patricia McGregor) on 12 March in Zellerbach Hall.
On 13 March at the Center for New Music, Ken Ueno, James Fei, and Viola Yip perform a round-robin concert on megaphone, analog, and digital electronics.
Ninth Planet, formed in 2019 from a merger of Wild Rumpus New Music Collective and Composers, Inc., comes to the Center for New Music on 19 March with Expedition #5: Spirals and Echoes, a program featuring the 2019 and 2020 winning compositions of the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Award: Selim Göncü’s Widerklang for bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and cello; Jee Seo’s Four Pieces for violin and viola; Daijana Wallace’s Shades, for solo cello; and Jack Frerer’s Spiral Sequences for string quartet.
On 26 March, Janis Mercer and Daniel Lewin commemorate the 75th anniversary of Anton Webern's death with solo piano, chamber, and vocal music from different periods of his life, as well as The Kinderstück Project, piano pieces by student and local professional composers written in response to Webern’s Kinderstück.
On 3 - 4 March, SF Jazz presents trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, joined by a 30-piece orchestra and a quartet, in Porter, his new work paying tribute to his late teacher and mentor, Robert Porter. On March 5 - 6, Akinmusire, this time joined only by Bill Frisell on guitar and Herlin Riley on drums, gives the world premiere of new music he's calling Owl Song.
Composer/pianist Helen Sung brings her Quartet+ (the + would be violinist Jenny Scheinman) to the SF Jazz Center on 18 March.
Saxophonist Chris Potter brings a big band and vocalist Gretchen Parlato to the SF Jazz Center on 17 - 18 March to premiere an evening-length song cycle, setting lyrics by himself as well as poets like Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Kabir Das; then he returns on 19 - 29 March in quartet formation with bassist Dave Holland, keyboardist Craig Taborn, and drummer Eric Harland.
The organ trio of Peter Bernstein (guitar), Larry Goldings (Hammond B3 organ), and Bill Stewart (drums) play SF Jazz's Joe Henderson Lab from 24 to 27 March.
Clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen comes to SF Jazz to explore Brazilian-inflected jazz with several different configurations: on 24 March, she is joined by seven-string guitarist Marcello Gonçalves with repertoire from their forthcoming album, Reconvexo; on 25 - 26 March, her Tentet joins her to play music from their albums Happy Song and Triple Helix; and on 27 March she closes out with her new group, Quartetinho.
Keyboardist Matthew Whitaker makes music for Cal Performances at Zellerbach Playhouse on 26 March.
Cal Performances presents the Joffrey Ballet from 4 to 6 March in Zellerbach Hall, performing Birthday Variations (choreography by Gerald Arpino, music by Verdi), Swing Low (west coast premiere; choreography by Chanel DaSilva, music by Zoë Keating), Under the Trees’ Voices (west coast premiere; choreography by Nicolas Blanc, music by Ezio Bosso), The Sofa (choreography by Itzik Galili, music by Tom Waits), and Boléro (west coast premiere; choreography by Yoshihisa Arai, music by Ravel).
San Francisco Ballet's Program 4 – La Sylphide (music by Herman Løvenskiold, choreography by August Bournonville) and the SF Ballet premiere of The Seasons (music by Glazunov, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky – runs from 15 to 20 March at the Opera House.
Cal Performances presents the Bay Area premiere of SOUNDspace by the tap-dancing Dorrance Dancers on 18 - 19 March at Zellerbach Playhouse.
The beloved Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns in-person after a two-year pandemic absence to Cal Performances, from 29 March to 3 April at Zellerbach Hall.
Alice Neel: People Come First opens at the de Young Museum on 12 March and runs through 10 July.
The Artist’s Eye: Tammy Rae Carland, David Huffman, Lava Thomas, John Zurier, in which the four titular Bay Area artist each organize part of the exhibit using works from BAMPFA as well as their own collections, opens at BAMPFA on 19 March and runs through 17 July.
The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited opens at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on 31 March and runs through 14 August.
The Pacific Film Archive (the PFA in BAMPFA) starts several film series this month: first is a resumption of the Fellini at 100 series interrupted by the abrupt pandemic closure two years ago, starting with The White Sheik on 4 March; Chinese Portraits, a wide range of films depicting various periods and aspects of Chinese history and culture, starting 5 March with the documentary Abode of Illusion: The Life and Art of Chang Dai-chien (Zhang Daqian) (1899–1983); Wayne Wang in Person, showing the variety of the Hong Kong / Bay Area filmmaker's work, opening on 11 March with Chan is Missing (and as stated in the series name, Wang will be there in person); and Souleymane Cissé, four films by the Malian filmmaker, opening on 31 March with a new restoration of The Young Girl.
Buster Keaton's The General will be shown at Davies Hall on 27 March, under the auspices of the San Francisco Symphony, with live organ accompaniment by Cameron Carpenter.