Previous month:
February 2015
Next month:
April 2015

Meredith Monk at YBCA

Meredith-monk-38-of-56* Notes * 
Composer and vocalist Meredith Monk (pictured left) and her ensemble are currently performing On Behalf of Nature at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The opening performance on Friday was mesmerizing. The six singers all move beautifully, and it is impressive that one of them, Allison Sniffen, plays keyboards, violin, and French horn. The other two instrumentalists, Bohdan Hilash (winds) and John Hollenbeck (percussion), are also clearly accomplished players, though their choreography was understandably less elaborate.

The vibrant, visceral work is an entire world filled with pre-verbal babbling that spans a great emotional range; humming, textural instrumentals; stark, simple movements; deconstructed costumes made from the each performers old clothing; and gorgeous lighting design.

Ellen Fisher did some wonderful spins in the middle of the piece, donning a costume with panels to accentuate the movement. Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffen had a moving duet. The blue light that bathed the stage for part of the second half was striking, as was the last costume change which had all of the cast in white. I particularly liked the sound of bells and the very loud droning that seemed to shake the whole theater.

* Tattling * 
There was no intermission for this 75 minute performance, which was evidently difficult for some members of the audience.

Rachel Podger at PBO

Rachel_Podger_violin_credit_Jared_Sacks* Notes * 
Violinist Rachel Podger (pictured left, photograph by Jared Sacks) lead Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in Vivaldi concerti from La cetra, La stravaganza, and L'estro armonico recently. The performance at the SFJazz Center last Friday in San Francisco was fiery. Podger had the eleven violinists and three violists standing, and lead with warmth and intelligence. As one would expect, the cellists and theorbo player sat, the bassist stood, and Hanneke van Proosdij stood at her organ but sat at her harpsichord.

The soli were all quite clear, and it was also wonderful when the orchestra or the soloists played in unison. Podger had particularly nice rapport with Elizabeth Blumenstock in Concerto for 2 Violins Op. 3, No. 8 in A minor, RV 522 and with Carla Moore in Concerto for 2 Violins Op. 9, No. 9 in B-flat major, RV 580. David Tayler had a lovely solo in the first half of the program, and it was nice to hear the theorbo by itself for a change. Cellist Phoebe Carrai gave a ferocious performance, and was particularly strong in Concerto for 2 Violins and Violoncello Op. 3, No. 11 in D minor, RV 565. Ellie Nishi's viola playing in Concerto for 4 Violins and Violincello Op. 3, No. 10 in B minor was also quite strong.

The violinists deftly switched places between pieces, with minimal fuss or disruption. The encore was the Largo from La Stravaganza, Op.4, Concerto No. 12 in G major, RV 298.

* Tattling * 
A man across the aisle from me in Row G occasionally spoke loudly to his companion in the first half but settled down in the second.

San Diego Opera's 2016 Season

GREAT_SCOTTFebruary 13-21 2016: Tosca
April 16-24 2016: Madama Butterfly
May 7-15 2016: Great Scott

The 2016 season at San Diego Opera was announced today and consists of two Puccini works and the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie's latest opera. Greer Grimsley, Latonia Moore, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Patricia Racette return to San Diego Opera. Important Company debuts include those by Teodor Ilincăi, Alexia Voulgaridou, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn, Frederica von Stade, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Joyce El-Khoury, and J'Nai Bridges. Returning conductors are Massimo Zanetti, Yves Abel and Joseph Mechavich.

2016 Season | Official Site

SF Opera Audited Financial Results 2013-2014

Butterfly-sf-opera-2014-reference-artSan Francisco Opera's 91st season started on September 6, 2013 and finished on July 13, 2014. Eight operas were held at the War Memorial Opera House in 68 performances. The Company concluded Fiscal Year 2013-14 (FY 14) with a deficit of $348,244 on an operating budget of $74,119,493. Total operating revenue for FY14 rose from $30,808,345 to $37,013,042 with income from ticket sales for FY14 at $22,674,340 compared to the prior season (FY13) at $19,785,866. Contributions to the FY14 Annual Fund reflected a slight decrease of less than 1% from the previous year, coming to $36,758,207 in financial support from approximately 7,600 donors.

Results | Press Release | Official Site

SF Symphony's 2015-2016 Season

August 20 2015: MTT conducts Schoenberg and Beethoven; Yuja Wang, piano
August 21 2015: MTT conducts Schoenberg, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky; Yuja Wang, piano
August 22 2015: MTT conducts Ives, Bartók, Mahler; Yuja Wang, piano
August 27- September 14 2015: European Festival Tour
September 24 2015: Opening Gala: MTT conducts TBA
September 25-26 2015: MTT conducts Ravel, Chopin, Respighi; Daniil Trifonov, piano
September 30- October 32015: MTT conducts Ted Hearne, Barber, Tchaikovsky; Susanna Phillips, soprano
October 4 2015: András Schiff plays Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert
October 7-10 2015: András Schiff conducts Mozart, Haydn, Schubert
October 11 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS
October 13 2015: Manuel López Gómez conducts TBA; Lang Lang, piano
October 18, 2015: Paul Jacobs, organ and Christine Brewer, soprano
October 22-24 2015: Susanna Mälkki conducts Jukka Tiensuu, Chopin, Sibelius
October 28-30 2015: Andrey Boreyko conducts Prokofiev, Bartók, Tchaikovsky; Gidon Kremer, violin
October 31 2015: Halloween Concert
November 1 2015: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra
November 1 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS
November 4-6 2015: Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts Bizet, Ravel, Saint-Saëns; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano
November 7 2015: Día de los Muertos Concert
November 8 2015: Zubin Mehta conducts Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
November 12-15 2015: MTT conducts Sibelius and Schumann
November 18 2015: Leif Ove Andsnes plays Sibelius, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin
November 19-22 2015: MTT conducts R. Strauss and Schumann; Laura Claycomb, soprano
November 27-28 2015: The Nightmare Before Christmas
November 29 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS
December 5 2015: Music for Families TBA
December 6 2015: Deck the Hall Concert
December 11-12 2015: It's a Wonderful Life
December 11-12 2015: SoundBox
December 13 2015: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra in Peter and the Wolf
December 31 2015: New Year's Eve Concert
January 9-10 2016: Itzhak Perlman conducts Beethoven and Mozart
January 14-16 2016: Krzysztof Urbańsk conducts Kilar, Beethoven, Dvořák
January 15-16 2016: SoundBox
January 18 2016: Itzak Perlman, violin & Emanuel Ax, piano
January 21-24 2016: Marek Janowski conducts Beethoven and Pfitzner
January 24 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Jonathan Biss, piano
January 25 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
January 28-31 2016: Edwin Outwater conducts Weber, Saint-Saëns, Busoni, Hindesmith; Stephen Hough, piano
February 5-6 2016: Masaaki Suzuki conducts Mendelssohn, Mozart, Stravinsky
February 6 2016: Music for Families
February 11-14 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Elgar and Mozart
February 12-13 2016: Vertigo
February 13 2016: Chinese New Year Concert
February 18-20 2016: Stéphane Denève conducts Nielsen, Guillaume Connesson, Prokofiev
February 19-20 2016: SoundBox
February 21 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
February 21-22 2016: Mikael Pletnev conducts Russian National Orchestra; Yuja Wang, piano
February 25-27 2016: Herbert Blomstedt conducts Beethoven and Bruckner; Maria-João Pires, piano
February 28 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
March 2-5 2016: Herbert Blomstedt conducts Mozart; Alexander Barantschik, violin
March 5 2016: Music for Families
March 6 2016: David Titterington, organ
March 10-13 2016: Charles Dutoit conducts Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Fauré, Stravinsky; Nikolai Lugansky, piano
March 13 2016: Igudesman and Joo: And Now Mozart
March 17-19 2016: Charles Dutoit conducts Berlioz's Requiem; Paul Groves, tenor
March 20 2016: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra
March 20 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
March 20 2016: Jeremy Denk, piano
March 23-26 2016: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
March 25-26 2016: SoundBox
March 30- April 8 2016: MTT conducts Copland and Schumann
April 3 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
April 6-10 2016: MTT conducts Schubert and Mahler; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano and Simon O'Neill, tenor
April 13-16 2016: US Tour
April 20-23 2016: Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Rameau, Haydn, Biber, Beethoven; Ingrid Fliter, piano
April 22-23 2016: SoundBox
April 24 2016: Thierry Eschaich, organ
April 26 2016: Hilary Hahn, violin
April 27-29 2016: Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Bartók, Mason Bates, Ravel, Shostakovich
April 30 2016: Music for Families
May 6-7 2016: Alan Gilbert conducts New York Philharmonic
May 12-14 2016: Juraj Valčuha conducts Prokofiev, R. Strauss, Webern
May 12 2016: Yo-Yo Ma, cello and Kathryn Stott, piano
May 15 2016: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra
May 15 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
May 19-22 2016: MTT conducts Brahms and Schumann; Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
May 25-29 2016: MTT conducts On the Town
June 2-4 2016: Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Shostakovich and Elgar; Alexey Stadler, cello
June 5 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
June 8-12 2016: James Conlon conducts Britten, Mozart, Dvořák; Jan Lisiecki, piano
June 16-19 2016: MTT conducts Stravinsky and John Adams; Thomas Hampson, baritone
June 23-25 2016: MTT conducts C.P.E. Bach, Jörg Widmann, Brahms; Yefim Bronfman, piano
June 26 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS
June 29- July 2 2016: MTT conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 2; Karina Gauvin, soprano and Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano

ABS Performs Matthew Passion

440x440xBach-ChesterW-1024x1024.jpg.pagespeed.ic.AZdbkahVbB* Notes *
American Bach Soloists is currently performing sold-out St. Matthew Passion concerts around the Bay Area. Jeffrey Thomas conducted a fastidious performance in Berkeley last night. The orchestra played neatly. The soloists were not entirely even, and the choral singing often sounded most cohesive.

Tenor Derek Chester (pictured left) sounded lovely as the Evangelist. His voice carries well, and he though he did have a few squeaks here and there, he sang compellingly. William Sharp gave an elegant performance as Christ, and also sang "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein," the last baritone aria of the piece.

Hélène Brunet had an ABS debut as first soprano and sounded quite clear. Clara Rottsolk (Soprano II) has beautiful low notes. Agnes Vojtko (Alto I) also had a fine lucidity in her singing. As Alto II, countertenor Jay Carter was somewhat strained, but his "Können Tränen meiner Wangen" was effective.

Tenor Charles Blandy has a bright sound with some rough edges, and tenor Jon Lee Keenan a pretty, reed-like voice that is perhaps less resonant. Baritone Thomas Meglioranza (Basso I) was easier to hear than baritone Joshua Copeland (Basso II).

* Tattling *
The person in Row H Seat 114 during Part II had difficulty being quiet. Not only did she speak to the woman she came with but she hummed along with the American Bach Choir and was rather out of tune.

My puerile companion was amused that one of the witnesses was sung by the countertenor.