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Cal Performances' 2010-2011 Season

September 24 2010: Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company
September 26 2010: Fall Free for All: Open House at Cal Performances
September 30- October 3 2010: Mark Morris Dance Group
October 7-10 2010: Circus Oz
October 10 2010: David Finckel, cello & Wu Han, piano
October 14 2010: Alex Ross
October 15 2010: Jerusalem Quartet
October 22 2010: Gamelan Çudamani 
October 24 2010: Jeremy Denk, piano 
October 26-27 2010: Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf
October 29-30 2010: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
October 31 2010: Kremerata Baltica
October 31 2010: Alfred Brendel
November 13-14 2010: Zenshinza Theatre Company
November 20 2010: Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone
November 5 2010: Buika
November 7 2010: Ensemble Zellig
November 21 2010: Will Shortz
November 26-28 2010: Mummenschanz 
December 4, 2010: Christian Tetzlaff, violin
December 5 2010: Pomegranates and Figs
December 5 2010: Takács Quartet
December 11 2010: John McLaughlin, guitar
December 12 2010: Nicolas Hodges, piano
January 21 2011: Tango Buenos Aires
January 22 2011: Joshua Redman, saxophone
January 23 2011: Wallace Shawn
January 26 2011: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
February 3-4 2011: Kodo
February 9-10 2011: Ex Machina
February 12-13 2011: Zukerman ChamberPlayers
February 20 2011: Paul Lewis, piano
February 25-27 2011: Vienna Philharmonic
March 3-5 2011: Merce Cunningham Dance Company
March 4 2011: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
March 6 2011: Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
March 6 2011: Balé Folclórico da Bahia
March 11 2011: Branford Marsalis, saxophone & Terence Blanchard, trumpet
March 13 2011: Les Percussions de Strasbourg
March 13 2011: Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
March 18-19 2011: Nederlands Dans Theater
March 20 2011: Joyce Yang, piano
March 24-26 2011: Castleton Festival Opera
March 26-27 2011: The Tallis Scholars
March 29- April 3 2011: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 3 2011: Jessica Rivera, soprano
April 6 2011: The Silk Road Ensemble, with Yo-Yo Ma
April 19 2011: Afro-Cuban All Stars
April 23 2011: Kurt Elling, vocalist
April 28-29 2011: Cirque Éloize
May 1-3 2011: Les Violons du Roy
May 7-14 2011: Druid Theatre Company
May 31-June 4 2011: Royal Danish Ballet
June 13-16 2011: Ojai North!

Matías Tarnopolsky announced Cal Performances's 2010-2011 season at a press conference today. We were seated on the stage and the presentation involved several videos. Tarnopolsky seemed charmingly self-effacing, and at one point he said Schumann" instead of "Stockhausen," and made a joke about how they were easily confused for one another. The 2010-2011 Web site of Cal Performances goes live tonight at 12:01am.

Next season includes two Britten operas, The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring will be performed by Castleton Festival Opera in February 2011. Byrn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann are both coming to Berkeley for their respective tours, Terfel in the Fall and Kaufmann in the Spring. Dawn Upshaw, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Peter Sellars are all involved in Ojai North!

Official Site | Press Release [PDF]

Orpheus Luncheon 2010

* Notes * 
Adler Fellows tenor David Lomelí, soprano Sara Gartland, and pianist Allen Perriello performed at San Francisco Opera's Orpheus luncheon yesterday. Lomelí is covering Faust this summer, and he sang "Salut! demeure chaste et pure" very impressively. Gartland followed by singing "Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante," Micaëla's aria from Carmen, with strength. Together they sang the Act I duet between Gilda and the Duke from Rigoletto. This was gorgeous. Perriello played beautifully as usual.

* Tattling * 
The rather young audience was silent and attentive. It was well worth the effort to make this event, I was very pleased to have arrived on time, since I was in Houston the night before and had to fly in rather early in the morning.

Serse at Houston Grand Opera

Photo by Felix Sanchez, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera * Notes *
Händel's Serse had a strong opening yesterday evening at Houston Grand Opera. The production, from the English National Opera, is entertaining, and features astroturf as a main stage element. The chorus seemed to all be painted grey, and the supernumeraries white. During the overture, the principals are introduced in turn, with the names of the characters projected on a scrim. Though a diversion from the music, one imagines this is quite helpful to the audience, given how convoluted the plot of Serse is.

The orchestra, conducted by William Lacey, played nimbly, the overtures of Act I and III were spirited. "Ombra mai fù" was taken rather slowly. There were some moments when things seemed a bit awry, as in the Sinfonia of Act I, or at the the end of Act II. The chorus, on the other hand, sounded vivid and together.

Before the performance began, it was announced that Susan Graham, who is singing the title role, was feeling unwell, and begged our indulgence. She still sounded pure and clear, and she sang very beautifully. There were a few times her voice was rather quiet, or her low notes were off, but these were minor distractions. Her Act II Scene 10 aria, "Il core spera e teme" was especially fine. Laura Claycomb was convincing as Romilda, her voice is icily lovely, and though she has a lot of vibrato in her high tessitura, it is not unpleasant to the ear. She sang wonderfully with David Daniels (Arsamenes), their duet in Act III was amusing. Daniels also sang his Act II aria superbly. Sonia Prina's rich, warm voice was appropriate for Amastre, and was a nice respite from all the high voices. Heidi Stober was exceedingly funny as Atalante, and she too had a good warmth. Philip Cutlip and Adam Cioffari, in the bass roles of Ariodate and Elviro, respectively, both were hilarious.

* Tattling * 
There was talking and whispering, but it was mostly reserved for when no one was singing. It was more unfortunate that the applause made some of the music inaudible. One cellular phone rang just before Act I, another just before Act II, and yet another at the beginning of the last aria of Act II.