Previous month:
December 2017

Candide at SFS

Candide-sfs-2018* Notes *
San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas celebrate the birth centennial of Leonard Bernstein with a delightful rendering of his Candide that opened last night. The concert version was animated and very funny with fine playing and singing all around.

Though done as a concert, this version of the operetta was made for the Scottish Opera in 1988. It was striking how theatrical and engaging the piece is despite a lack of frills, only a few props and costumes here and there.

Most of the comedy and drama came through simply in the gestures and interactions of the soloists, chorus, orchestra members, and even conductor with each other and the audience. Of course, this could only work because the piece itself is charming and was played and sung with clarity and vim. The sound design from Tom Clark was flawless, we could hear the narration and asides without squeaks or other distractions.

The music sounded vibrant, even when soprano Meghan Picerno (Cunegonde) harassed some of the brass players and the timpanist at the end of Act I. MTT infused both the orchestra and chorus with a nice ease and effortless cheekiness.

The soloists are all clearly talented singing actors. Even from the first tier, the cheerful shrugs or coy head tilts of tenor Andrew Stenson in the title role read plainly. His voice is pretty and sweet. Meghan Picerno's Cunegonde is amusing, her high notes soared and she conveys emotion not only in her body but with her sound. Both Stenson and Picerno brought a certain gravity to the end of the piece, after all the silliness, the contrast was stark and effective.

All the other singing was great, though baritone Michael Todd Simpson did trip over a few words as narrator, he is endearing and his Pangloss was perfectly pompous. It was fun to see and hear the artistic director of Merola Sheri Greenawald as the Old Lady, she really moves gracefully and has perfect comedic timing.

Tattling *
I did not hear any talking or electronic sounds where I was in the First Tier. There were a few people who left the hall in the middle of the performance during both acts, odd given the short 2 hour run time.

I had to run several blocks in the rain to this performance, traffic was worse than I expected and the Performing Arts Garage was full, so I only got into my seat at 7:59pm.


LA Opera's 2018-2019 Season

Chandler_balconiesSeptember 22- October 14 2018: Don Carlo
October 20–November 11 2018: Satyagraha
October 27–31, 2018: Joby Talbot's Vampyr
November 17–December 15 2018: Hansel and Gretel
November 29–December 2 2018: Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkin’s Prism 

February 22-23 2019: David Lang’s the loserMarch 2–24 2019: La Clemenza di Tito
April 27–May 19 2019: Manuel Penella's El Gato Montés
June 1–22 2019: La Traviata

Los Angeles Opera announced its next season on today.

Official Site


SF Opera's 2018-2019 Season

WMOH9_JoelPuliattiSeptember 7–30 2018: Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci
September 8–27 2018: Roberto Devereux
October 3–30 2018: Tosca
October 16–November 3 2018: Arabella
November 17–December 9 2018: It's a Wonderful Life
June 5-29 2019: Carmen
June 9-27 2019: Orlando
June 16-28 2019: Rusalka

General Director Matthew Shilvock announced the 2018-2019 season for San Francisco Opera today. Highlights include Roberto Devereux with Sondra Radvanosky, Russell Thomas, Jamie Barton; Handel’s Orlando starring Sasha Cooke and David Daniels; and Rusalka with Rachel Willis-Sørensen in the title role opposite Brandon Jovanovich as the Prince.

Plácido Domingo gives a concert at the War Memorial on Sunday, October 21 at 2pm, with Jordi Bernàcer conducting the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Other guests for the event include Ana María Martínez and Arturo Chacón-Cruz.

There are 6 conductor debuts: Marc Albrecht, Daniele Callegari, James Gaffigan, Leo Hussain, Eun Sun Kim, and Christopher Moulds. It will be interesting to see who the new music director will be.

Press Release | Official Site