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July 2012

Luisotti & Peled with the SF Opera Orchestra

A--San-Francisco-Opera-Orchestra* Notes * 
Cal Performances hosted Nicola Luisotti and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra (pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) on Sunday afternoon, their second this season in Berkeley. The concert began with Prokofiev's First Symphony, and the orchestra sounded best in the graceful, dancing third movement. The woodwinds were clear, as was the brass. The piece that followed, Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1, featured soloist Amit Peled. Peled played with a beautiful, legato line. After intermission we heard Symphony in D Major by Cherubini. The playing was charming and joyous. It was lovely to see and hear this opera orchestra on stage, the camaraderie of the players and their love of music is apparent.

* Tattling *
There was very little noise from the audience. A man in Row A Seat 120 of the mezzanine looked at his phone at 3:30pm and left just a little afterward. Someone else on this level screamed an obscenity after the Moderato of the Haydn. It was unclear why.

Robertson conducts SFS in Dvořák

David-robertson-michael-tammaro* Notes * 
David Robertson (pictured left, photograph by Michael Tammaro) conducts San Francisco Symphony in Rossini, Chopin, and Dvořák this week. The overture to L'italiana in Algeri that opened yesterday's performance sounded neat and precise. Chopin's Concerto No. 2 in F minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 21 also was together and clean. The soloist, Nelson Freire, seemed contained and self-possessed. His quiet playing was most impressive, especially in the Larghetto.

After the intermission the orchestra gave a tidy rendition of Dvořák's 7th. The middle movements, the Poco adagio and the Scherzo: Vivace, were jaunty and charming. The brass sounded clear.

* Tattling * 
There was a lot of talking during the first half of the performance, at least on the odd numbered side of the orchestra level. A woman in Row U Seat 9 even opened up her purse during the last movement of the Chopin, and passed out candies to her friends in Row W. Much crinkling followed as they opened their sweets. Most of the noisiest patrons around us did not return after intermission.