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September 2012

Cal Performances 2012-2013 Season

September 15-16 2012: National Circus of the People's Republic of China
September 18 2012: Laurie Anderson
September 27-28 2012: Théâtre de la Ville performs Rhinocéros
September 30 2012: Fall Free for All: Open House at Cal Performances
October 10-12 2012: Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra performs Swan Lake
October 16 2012: Delfeayo Marsalis Octet performs Sweet Thunder
October 20 2012: Georgia's Ensemble Basiani
October 26-28 2012: Einstein on the Beach
November 3 2012: Dan Savage
November 3 2012: Calder Quartet
November 3 2012: Concert Köln
November 4 2012: Dell'Arte Company performs The Fish in My Head
November 7 2012: Chucho Valdés & Afro-Cuban Messengers
November 8 2012: Gloria Cheung, piano
November 9-11 2012: Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Philharmonia Orchestra
November 13 2012: Emanuel Ax, piano
November 15 2012: Fran Lebowitz
November 17 2012: Angélique Kidjo
November 23-25 2012: Mummenschanz
November 29-30 2012: Gustavo Dudamel conducts Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
December 8 2012: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs Messiah
December 14-23 2012: Mark Morris Dance Group performs The Hard Nut
January 19 2013: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
January 24 2013: Yo-Yo Ma, cello and Kathryn Stott, piano
January 26-27 2013: Joffrey Ballet
January 27 2013: Nicolas Hodges, piano
February 1-2 2013: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
February 3 2013: Kodo
February 8 2013: Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca
February 10 2013: Eric Owens, bass-baritone and Warren Jones, piano
February 10 2013: Ira Glass
February 12 2013: Christian Tetzlaff, violin
February 15-17 2013: Circus Oz
February 17 2013: Leonidas Kavakos, violin
February 19 2013: Milos̆, guitar
February 24 2013: Oakland Folkharmonic
February 24 2013: Susanna Phillips, soprano
March 1-10 2013: The Secret Garden
March 2 2013: Voices of Afghanistan
March 3 2013: Brentano String Quartet
March 9 2013: Nathan Gunn, baritone and Julie Gunn, piano
March 10 2013: Jeffrey Kahane, piano $42
March 15 2013: Trisha Brown Dance Company
March 17 2013: Afiara String Quartet
March 17 2013: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
March 22-23 2013: Australian Chamber Orchestra
March 23 2013: The Tallis Scholars
March 24 2013: Mohammad Reza Shajarian, vocals
March 30 2013: Afropop Spectacular
April 7 2013: Davitt Moroney, harpsichord
April 10 2013: Paquito D'Rivera and the Assad Brothers
April 13 2013: Ray Kurzweil
April 13 2013: Trout Fishing in America
April 14 2013: Simon Trpčeski, piano
April 18 2013: Arlo Guthrie
April 23-28 2013: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 26-27 2013: Handel and Haydn Society
May 3-5 2013: Les 7 Doigts de la Main Circus
May 10-12 2013: Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg
May 17 2013: San Francisco Opera Orchestra
June 11-13 2012: Ojai North!

Einstein on the Beach will be performed this October. Philharmonia Orchestra performs Wozzeck on Saturday, November 10. San Francisco Opera performs a new work by Nolan Gasser in March. Handel and Haydn Society performs Jephtha on Saturday, April 27 .

Official Site | Brochure

Met Cast Changes 2012-2013 (as of 8/20/2012)

From a press release on August 20, 2012.

Janai Brugger makes her Met debut as Liù in Turandot on October 30 and sings the role on November 2, 5, and 9. Brugger replaces Takesha Meshé Kizart, who is recovering from recent abdominal surgery.

Guanqun Yu replaces Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora in Il Trovatore on October 17, 20, and 25. This role marks her Met debut as well.

Merola Grand Finale 2012

Merola-grand-finale-2012* Notes *
Last night's Merola Grand Finale featured many fine tenors. Casey Candebat sang a sweet "Pourquoi me réveiller?" in the first half of the program, and applause interrupted his scene with Sarah Mesko as Charlotte. Theo Lebow sang a pretty "O blonde Cérès" (from Les Troyens) but some of his high notes were a little raveled. AJ Gluekert was strong in Samuel Barber's "At last I've found you." Chuanyue Wang may have lacked a certain ease with "Povero Ernesto... Cercherò lontana terra," but has a lovely voice.

There were a few standouts among the sopranos also. Suzanne Rigden had a beautiful lucidity as a rebuffed ghost in Lully's Alceste (pictured above, photograph by Kristen Loken) and sang Zdenka in "Ich danke Fräulein...Aber der Richtige" with characteristic flexibility. Jennifer Cherest had a charming duet with Andrew Stenson from Die lustige Witwe, both had fairly clear diction and sang with appeal. The audience loved Elizabeth Baldwin's selection from Il corsaro.

Many of the singers are impressively adept at acting. This was especially on display in "Orsù, la tua nipote...Pappataci! Che mai sento!" with Joshua Baum as Lindoro, Seth Mease Carico as Mustafà, and Gordon Bintner as Taddeo. Rose Sawvel and Joseph Lattanzi had everyone laughing with "Il m'a semblé sur mon épaule" from Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers.

It is always of interest to hear how the singers have improved over the course of the summer. Andrew Kroes had a rich sound in "Volontiers, un vieil air Huguenots...Piff, paff" and was suitably sinister. Erin Johnson's voice seemed more anchored as Juno in "Somnus awake!" than in her Schwabacher Concert.

Stage director Jennifer Williams used the set for Moby-Dick as her backdrop, with a few pieces of furniture strewn about. There was much throwing of flowers and dragging of cloth over the course of the evening. Williams seemed concerned with storytelling, and at times this worked, and at other times it felt a bit stilted.

Nicholas McGegan conducted the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in his particular jaunty style. The orchestra did occasionally get ahead of the singers in the first half of the program. Despite being a Baroque specialist, Maestro McGegan was convincing in most all of the different periods of music represented.

* Tattling *
A person in Row L Seat 6 texted for much of the overture from Béatrice et Bénédict that began the performance. She continued to look at her phone, but finally left after the fourth vocal selection.

Merola's La finta giardiniera

Merola-finta-giardiniera-2012* Notes * 
Last night Mozart's La finta giardiniera had the first of two performances by the Merola Opera Program (Rose Sawvel, Casey Candebat, and Jennifer Cherest pictured left in Act I, photograph by Kristen Loken) in San Francisco this summer. The production, directed by Nicholas Muni, employs much violence and many weapons, but does not do much to elucidate the convoluted plot. The set does make the most of the space in a novel way, cleverly using two-sided canvases, and the lighting is effective. The costumes have a pleasing Steampunk feel.

The cast is quite fine. Gordon Bintner sang Nardo with warmth. Rose Sawvel sounded bird-like as Serpetta, and projected both jealousy and flirtatiousness with ease. Sarah Mesko looked convincingly male as Ramiro, but her timbre is feminine and slightly hysterical. Theo Lebow could have a bit more control of his high notes, however he seemed suited to the role of Belfiore.

Jacqueline Piccolino made for a haughty Arminda, singing and acting confidently. Jennifer Cherest sounded pretty and clear as the much-maligned title character. Her Sandrina is sympathetic and sweet. Casey Candebat has a beautiful, rich voice, and his Podestà is perfectly silly. His Act I aria, "Dentro il mio petto," was especially charming.

* Tattling * 
There was talking from the audience, even from those barely arm's length from Maestro Gary Thor Wedow and the orchestra.