The usual pandemic warnings apply, once again: check for cancellations or postponements, along with vaccine & masking requirements – the latter seem to be shifting daily, so be sure to consider not only what is required but how comfortable you are with it – some people are fine with masks being recommended but not required, others very much are not, so know before you go. It's unfortunate that social distancing is, for obvious reasons, not even mentioned these days by most performing arts groups, but it might also be useful to keep in mind how quickly you can get away from any crowds (of course, that's always been a consideration for some of us).
As was the case in the Before Time, July is a fairly light month, though there's a surprising amount going on operatically, along with American Bach Soloists' annual summer festival, & some exciting art exhibits opening, so here we go:
Custom Made Theater presents José Rivera's References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, directed by Katja Rivera, a magical-realist play about a woman waiting for her husband to return from war, from 1 to 24 July.
Berkeley Rep presents Sanctuary City, about the struggles of two DREAMers, written by Martyna Majok & directed by David Mendizábal, from 8 July to 14 August.
Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage present Dream Hou$e, written by Eliana Pipes & directed by Karina Gutiérrez, about two Latina sisters, their historic home, & a "reality" TV real-estate show, from 9 July to 7 August.
On 12 July at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, filmmaker Sini Anderson and author Michelle Tea host a 25th anniversary reunion showcase for queer feminist group Sister Spit, which will feature Lynn Breedlove, Nicole J Georges, Beth Lisick, Denne Michelle Norris, Kamala Puligandla, Brontez Purnell, & Vivek Shraya in a cabaret-style evening.
Michael Pollan will be "in conversation" with Lauren Schiller at City Arts & Lectures on 26 July.
You still have a few chances this month to catch the end of San Francisco Opera's season, as Don Giovanni plays on 2 July & Dream of the Red Chamber on 1 & 3 July, but after that SFO switches to summer mode, with the Merola Program kicking in on 9 July at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a program put together by Craig Terry featuring the Merolini in selections from what is now usually called "the American Songbook"; then on 14 & 16 July, also at the Conservatory of Music, you can hear the Merolini in staged scenes (directed by Jose Maria Condemi & conducted by Jorge Parodi) from works by Latin American & Spanish composers, including Manuel de Falla & Daniél Catán.
On 6 July at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco Céline Ricci, Artistic Director of Ars Minerva, joined by pianist Lindsay Rader & mezzo-sopranos Nikola Printz & Deborah Rosengaus Martinez, will preview their production of Leonardo Vinci's Astianatte, slated for this October; the presentation is free but registration is required.
Festival Opera in Walnut Creek presents Norma on 8 & 10 July at the Lesher Center for the Arts, conducted by Bryan Nies & directed by Mark Foehringer, with Shana Blake Hill in the title role.
Pocket Opera will present their version of La Traviata, conducted by Mary Chun & directed by Elly Lichenstein, with Michelle Drever as Violetta & Sergio González as Alfredo, on 10 July at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 17 July at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, & 24 July at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Opera Parallèle will become the first company to have staged all three of Philip Glass's Cocteau operas (in case you're wondering, the other two are Orphée & Les Enfants Terribles) when it presents La Belle et la Bête (conducted by Nicole Paiement & staged by Brian Staufenbiel, with soprano Vanessa Becerra as la Belle & baritone Hadleigh Adams as La Bête) at SF Jazz's Miner Auditorium on 14 - 17 July. On 29 June at the Academy SF there will be a panel discussion, A Tale as Old as Time: Exploring Queer History and Identity Through Beauty and the Beast, with moderator Michael "Mojo" Mohammed & panelists Dr. Ellie Zara Ley & baritone Hadleigh Adams; the discussion is free but registration is required.
West Edge Opera will hold its annual festival, this time at the Scottish Rite Center on Lake Merritt in Oakland (an easy walk from BART), where you can see Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto, conducted by Christine Brandes & directed by Mark Streshinsky, featuring counter-tenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Caesar & soprano Shawnette Sulker as Cleopatra, & that's on 23 & 31 July & 4 August; Dukas's Ariane et Barbe-Bleu, to Maeterlinck's libretto, conducted by Jonathan Khuner & directed by Alison Pogorelc, with mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier as Ariane & bass-baritone Philip Skinner as Bluebeard, & that's 24 & 29 July & 6 August; & the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Coraline, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, conducted by John Kennedy & directed by Tera Branham, with mezzo-soprano Kendra Broom in the title role, & that's 30 July & 5 & 7 August.
On 13 July at Davies Hall you can hear the San Francisco Symphony, along with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus & the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, in a program called Final Words (nothing more specific has been announced yet), led by Dr. Timothy Seelig.
The Martha Redbone Roots Project appears at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on 19 July.
On 28 July at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music you can hear the last of this year's Schwabacher Recital series, with baritone Sidney Outlaw & pianist Warren Jones delivering a program based on their album Lament (named after the Langston Hughes poem Lament for Dark Peoples), featuring composers Dorothy Rudd Moore, Robert Owens, & Harry T Burleigh.
The San Francisco Symphony presents An Evening with Bernadette Peters on 30 July.
On 7 July, Erina Yashima leads the San Francisco Symphony in Ramal by Kareem Roustom, the Lalo Cello Concerto with soloist Johannes Moser, & the Dvořák 8.
On 14 July, Paolo Bortolameolli leads the San Francisco Symphony in Copland's El Salón México, Kevin Puts's Contact: Concerto for Two Violins, Bass, and Orchestra (featuring Time for Three, which is Nicolas Kendall & Charles Yang on violin & Ranaan Meyer on double bass), the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr & the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.
On 21 July Ludovic Morlot leads the San Francisco Symphony in Gabriella Smith's Tidalwave Kitchen, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (with pianist Inon Barnatan), Gershwin's An American in Paris, & Ravel's Boléro.
At the Center for New Music on 9 July, the Opus Project presents Opus 95, which is, as you might guess, the Opus 95 works by composers ranging from the baroque to our contemporaries, including Buxtehude, Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Wilhelm Taubert, Alexandre Dubuque. Brahms, Dvořák, Fauré, Ignaz Brull, René Lenormand, Benjamin Godard, Luise Greger, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Mark Alburger, Cyril Plante. & Roberto Novegno, "with a couple of other pieces thrown in, because we like them!"
On 10 July, Old First Concerts presents violinist Kenneth Renshaw & pianist Elizabeth Dorman performing works by Bach, Fauré, Lili Boulanger, & Domenico Scarlatti.
Violinist Basma Edrees & pianist Ava Nazar play music by Reza Vali, Brahms, & Astor Piazzolla on 17 July at Old First Concerts.
Pianist Lee Alan Nolan plays music by Bruce C Bennett, Vera Ivanova, Scott Joplin, May Aufderheide, Irene Giblin, Scriabin, & Lubomyr Melnyk at Old First Concerts on 22 July.
Early / Baroque Music
Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in their annual summer festival, held at Herbst Theater from 23 to 31 July; there are some social gatherings but the musical events are:
23 July: Flames of Love, featuring soprano Mary Wilson & the band, performing works by Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, & Bach;
24 July: the Harmonic Labyrinth, again featuring Wilson & the band, this time performing Bach's Wedding Cantata & the Orchestra Suite 2, as well as works by Telemann & Locatelli;
26 July: Classical Genius, featuring chamber works by Mozart & Mendelssohn;
28 July: Bach & Jazz: "Blowin' the Blues Away!", featuring jazz re-visions of music by Bach;
29 July: Barococo, featuring the galant styles of High Baroque and Rococo music as exemplified by works from Handel, Rameau, Vivaldi, & Bach;
30 July: Belshazzar, Handel's great oratorio, featuring soloists Maya Kherani (soprano), Sarah Coit (mezzo-soprano), Eric Jurenas (countertenor), Matthew Hill (tenor) & Mischa Bouvier (bass-baritone);
31 July: Bach, Barges, and a Burlesque, featuring music by Handel, Bach, & Telemann.
Modern / Contemporary Music
On 13 July, as part of the Berkeley Art Museum's Full series (programmed by Sarah Cahill), Evan Ziporyn, performing on solo & multitracked clarinet & bass clarinet, will interpret works by Donald Fagen, Philip Glass, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, & others.
Soprano Rose Hegele & pianist Sarah Cahill visit the Center for New Music on 16 July, where Hegele will perform I Awake & I Am, "a short recital of works for solo voice and voice and electronics", & Cahill will perform pieces that she has commissioned from Ursula Mamlok, Regina Harris Baiocchi, Maggi Payne, & Mary Watkins, as well as pieces by Lois V Vierk and Aida Shirazi.
Pink Martini appears with the San Francisco Symphony (conducted for the occasion by Edwin Outwater) on 28 July.
The Django Festival Allstars visit Freight & Salvage on 29 July.
The SF Jazz Center has several theme weeks this month:
Next up is the Pan-American Songbook, featuring the Afro-Cuban All Stars with Juan de Marcos from 21 to 24 July; Monsieur Periné on 20 July; Quique Escamilla on 21 July; the Villalobos Brothers from 22 to 23 July; & Los Cenzontles on 24 July.
& finally we have Blues Week, featuring Aki Kumar on 28 July; Tommy Castro & the Painkillers along with Joe Louis Walker on 28 July; Chris Cain on 29 July; Marcia Ball & CJ Chenier on 29 July; Terrie Odabi on 30 July; Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite on 30 July; Mimi Fox & Pamela Rose on 31 July; & Ruthie Foster on 31 July.
ODC/Dance presents A Summer Sampler from 28 to 30 July, featuring Brenda Way’s Unintended Consequences (A Meditation), Kimi Okada’s Two If By Sea, KT Nelson’s Going Solo (for ODC veteran Private Freeman), Amy Seiwert’s Veronica & Vincent, & Dexandro Montalvo’s Impulse.
Diego Rivera's America, focusing on the period from the 1920s to the mid-1940s, will have more than 150 of his paintings, frescoes, & drawings, as well as three galleries with large-scale film projections of his murals, & opens at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on 16 July, running through 2 January 2023.
Faith Ringgold: American People, promising the "most comprehensive exhibition to date of Faith Ringgold’s groundbreaking vision", opens 16 July at the de Young Museum & runs until 27 November.
The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive hosts by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960–2022), the first comprehensive exhibit of the still-active artist's work; it opens 20 July & runs until 12 February 2023.
The Oakland Museum of California opens Hella Feminist, made up of items from the museum's collections as well as newly commissioned art works, on 29 July.
The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive presents Forever Kinuyo Tanaka beginning on 8 July; presenting not only six of the films Tanaka starred in, including some rarities, but the six films she directed, the latter in newly restored prints.
Starting July 29 at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, you can see From the Front Page to the Front Lines: The Essential Sam Fuller, featuring many of the director's most celebrated films.