Troyens

Troyens

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bard College is Run Like an Orchestra

Found in today's Times, in an article about threats to the survival of small colleges in the US, this cringeworthy quotation:
But for every college that has pulled off a rescue, there is one in trouble. Moody’s has criticized Bard, 100 miles north of Manhattan, for having little cash and relying on a few rich benefactors. “We operate under a different model,” Leon Botstein, Bard’s president, said in an email. “We’ve never operated under a deficit, and have raised over a billion dollars over the last 40 years.”
This model is unlikely to survive having an extremely charismatic president who can haul in the big bucks. As a matter of governance, the board should be concerned for the survival of Bard post-Botstein.

Germany Friday Photo


Cosima Wagner's Sewing Kit
Haus Wahnfried
Bayreuth, August, 2015

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No More Moor

Aleksandrs Antonenko is ill and has withdrawn from singing the title role in tonight's Met Otello. He will be replaced by Francesco Anilo. Says the press release:
Italian tenor Anile made a surprise Met debut during Saturday afternoon’s internationally broadcast performance of Otello, when Antonenko’s illness forced him to withdraw just before the final scene of the opera. The performance continued uninterrupted, with Anile singing the role from the wings while Antonenko acted it onstage. Tonight will be Anile’s first complete Met performance of the role.
...
Tonight’s performance of Otello is conducted by Adam Fischer and also stars Hibla Gerzmava as  Desdemona, Alexey Dolgov as Cassio, Željko Lučić as Iago, and James Morris as Lodovico.

Santa Fe Opera 2017 Season

Santa Fe Opera has announced its summer, 2017 season, and it looks very good indeed. I'm cutting everything except operas, cast/crew, and dates:

Die Fledermaus: Johann Strauss Jr.
June 30, July 5, 8, 14, August 1, 7, 14, 19, 26
Sung in English with English dialogue, and Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A new Santa Fe Opera production. Last performed in 1992.
First performed at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on April 5, 1874.
Production underwritten by a generous gift from Bob and Ellen Vladem.

Conductor Rory Macdonald
Director Ned Canty
Scenic Designer Allen Moyer
Costume Designer Zack Brown
Lighting Designer Duane Schuler
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Gabriel von Eisenstein Kurt Streit+, tenor
Rosalinde, Eisenstein’s wife Devon Guthrie+, soprano
Adele, Rosalinde’s maid Jane Archibald*, soprano
Alfred, a music teacher Dimitri Pittas+, tenor
Dr. Falke, a notary Joshua Hopkins, baritone
Prince Orlofsky Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
 Paula Murrihy*+, mezzo-soprano
Frosch, a jailer Kevin Burdette, bass
*debut, +former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice


Lucia di Lammermoor: Gaetano Donizetti
July 1, 7, 12, 21, 31, August 5, 8, 12, 16, 24
Sung in Italian with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A new Santa Fe Opera production. Last performed in 2001.

Conductor Corrado Rovaris
Director Ron Daniels
Scenic Designer Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Designer Emily Rebholz
Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind
Video Designer Peter Nigrini
3
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Lucia Brenda Rae, soprano
Lord Enrico Ashton, Zachary Nelson+, baritone
 Lucia’s brother
Raimondo Bidebent, Christian Van Horn, bass-baritone
 a Calvinist chaplain
+former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice

The Golden Cockerel: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
July 15, 19, 28, August 3, 9, 18
Sung in Russian with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A co-production with The Dallas Opera. A company premiere.
First performed at Moscow’s Solodovnikove Theatre on October 7, 1909.

Conductor Emmanuel Villaume
Director Paul Curran
Scenic & Costume Designer Gary McCann*
Lighting Desiger Paul Hackenmueller*
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Tsar Dodon Eric Owens, bass-baritone
General Polkan Kevin Burdette, bass
Amelfa, a housekeeper Meredith Arwady, contralto
Astrologer Barry Banks, tenor
Tsaritsa Shemakha Venera Gimadieva*, soprano
*debut

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs: Music by Mason Bates
 Libretto by Mark Campbell
July 22, 26, August 4, 10, 15, 25
Sung in English with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A Santa Fe Opera World Premiere production.

Conductor Michael Christie* (July 22, 26, August 4, 10, 15)
 Robert Tweten (August 25)
Director Kevin Newbury
Scenic Designer Victoria “Vita” Tzykun*
Costume Designer Paul Carey*
Lighting Designer Japhy Weideman
Projection Design 59 Productions
Choreographer Sam Pinkleton*
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Steve Jobs Edward Parks*, baritone
Laurene Powell Jobs, his wife Sasha Cooke*, mezzo-soprano
Kôbun Chino Otogawa, Wei Wu*, bass
 his spiritual advisor
Woz, his friend Garrett Sorenson+, tenor
 and business partner
*debut

Alcina: George Frideric Handel
July 29, August 2, 11, 17, 23
Sung in Italian with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A new Santa Fe Opera production adapted from the 2012 Opera Bordeaux staging. A company premiere.
First performed at London’s Theatre Royal, Covent Garden on April 16,1735.

Conductor Harry Bicket
Director David Alden
Scenic & Costume Designer Gideon Davey
Alcina, a sorceress Elza van den Heever, soprano
Morgana, her sister Anna Christy, soprano
Ruggiero, a knight Paula Murrihy+, mezzo-soprano
Bradamante, Daniela Mack, mezzo-soprano
 Ruggiero’s bethrothed
Oronte, lover of Morgana Alek Shrader, tenor
Melisso, former tutor of Christian Van Horn, bass-baritone
 Ruggiero
+former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice
•further casting and creative team details to be announced


Must find a week when all of these are being done!



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Netrebko Out of Norma

Photo by Ruven Afandor, courtesy http://www.annanetrebko.com/


....at both the Royal Opera House (fall, 2016) and Met (fall, 2017 - opening night, in fact).

That's two, two, two cast changes in one!

Read all about it:




Monday, April 25, 2016

An Extra Shot of Salonen and the Met Orchestra

Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the spring, 2017, Met Orchestra programs at Carnegie Hall, substituting for James Levine, who has withdrawn.

I confess, if I were in NYC, I'd rather hear Salonen. Here are the program updates, quoted from the press release:
The June 3, 2017 program will now include Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, “Rhenish,” along with, as previously announced, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor featuring soloist Maurizio Pollini.
The June 6, 2017 all-Sibelius concert will now include Symphony No. 6 and Symphony No. 7 in C, along with the previously announced Violin Concerto in D Minor featuring soloist Christian Tetzlaff. The concert on May 31, 2017 will be, as previously announced, an all-Mahler program featuring soloists Susan Graham and Matthew Polenzani in lieder from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and a performance of Symphony No. 1.
Yes, I might be thinking of a week in NYC for this.
 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Return of Ars Minerva: The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles



Remember Ars Minerva, which presented the beautiful (and funny!) La Cleopatra last year around this time? They're back! And this year, they are producing Carlo Pallavicino's The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles.

Once again, they're performing in the small Marines Memorial Theater on Sutter Street in SF.

Once again, they've got a great cast and orchestra.

Once gain, don't miss it!

Dates & Times:

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 22, 2016, 2 p.m.

Prices: $55, $96, VIP $250

Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA

Cast & Credits:

                                           PROLOGUE
                                      Il Genio - Tonia d'Amelio
                                   La Difficoltà - Molly Mahoney
                                     Il Timore - Spencer Dodd
                                                       OPERA
               Pulcheria Principessa delle Amazzoni - Aurélie Veruni
                                 Florinda sua Favorita - 
                            Numidio suo capitano - Ryan Matos
                     Auralba amica di Florinda - Tonia d'Amelio
              Jocasta figlia adottiva di Pulcheria - Cara Gabrielson
                   Cillene delirante per Amore - Molly Mahoney
                           Sultan Rè degli Egizzi - Spencer Dodd
                                                  ORCHESTRA
                                      Derek Tam - Harpsichord
                                    Adam Cockerham - Theorbo
                                      Gretchen Claassen - Cello
                                              Addi Liu - Violin I
                              Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo - Violin II
                                        Timpani - Henry Reed  
                   Trumpets - Amanda Cienfuegos - Jose Sanchez
                                              CREATIVE TEAM
                                          Staging - Céline Ricci
                                   Choreography - Muriel Maffre
                               Projections Design - Patricia Nardi
                                     LIght Design - Brian Poedy
                    Hair & Make-up Artists - Metamorphosis Salon
                              English Translation - Joe McClinton
                                    Program Notes - Paul Miller

Friday, April 22, 2016

Public Service Announcement: Jenufa

This summer, San Francisco Opera will be presenting Janacek's great opera Jenufa, with Jiri Belohlavek conducting and with the magnificent Karita Mattila as Kostelnicka.

I've been encouraging everyone I know to go see it, and also telling them: don't read the plot synopsis. You only get to see it the first time once.

However, the work is a lot easier to understand if you can follow the family relationships. Joshua Kosman helpfully posted a family tree and some explanations to opera-l back in 2000, which must have been the last time SFO brought up this piece. Herewith the family tree and his notes (Feedly is garbling the family tree, so if you are reading this post with Feedly or an RSS reader, click through, probably on a laptop or desktop machine):


                      GRANDMOTHER BURYJA
                  had two sons (both deceased)
                           |
               |--------------------------|
               |                          |
               |                          |
KLEMEN -----BURYJA        1st wife---TOMAS BURYJA---2nd wife
(widow)  | (a miller)    (unnamed) |               KOSTELNICKA
  |      |                         |
  |      |                         |
LACA   STEVA BURYJA             JENUFA
  (half-brothers)

[Joshua's notes:  The one point that got squeezed out of my version [of the family tree] is that Laca is Widow Klemen's son from her first marriage.

The editors also append these helpful notes:

Steva is Grandmother's real grandson.
Laca is Grandmother's step-grandson.
Kostelnicka is Grandmother's daughter-in-law.
Jenufa is Kostelnicka's stepdaughter and Grandmother's real granddaughter. ]
Lisa adds: 
1. Steva is due to inherit the mill because he is Buryja's son from his first marriage in the direct male line. The Widow Klemen is Burjya's second wife; Laca is her son from her marriage to Klemen. (Laca and Steva are both Widow Klemen's sons.)
2. Jenufa loves Steva. Note that they are first cousins: their fathers were brothers.
3. Laca loves Jenufa. They are not related by blood.

Germany Friday Photo


A Salome Moment
(Head of John the Baptist)
Bavarian National Museum, Munich
August, 2015

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Levine Replacements Announced

When James Levine's retirement was announced the other week, the press release included the information that he would withdraw from the new production of Der Rosenkavalier and the May 22 Met Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall. Now the incoming conductors for those dates are announced:

  • David Robertson, music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the May 22 all-Richard Strauss program, which will feature Renee Fleming.
  • Sebastian Weigle will conduct Der Rosenkavalier, which is likely to be Fleming's last Met appearance.
  • Johan Botha has withdrawn from the May 26 Met Orchestra program on account of illness. Stefan Vinke will sing instead. Levine will still be conducting this program, which also features Christine Goerke. Yes, there will be some Wagner on the program.
  • The Strauss program on May 22 has changed. " The program will now include Don Juan and Also Sprach Zarathustra, replacing the previously announced Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche," says the press release.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Brian Asawa



Tremendously sorry to hear today of the much-too-soon death of countertenor Brian Asawa at 49, following a long illness. He was a graduate of both the Merola and Adler programs at San Francisco Opera and sang all over the world.

I saw him at San Francisco Opera in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon), The Rake's Progress (Baba the Turk), and Semele (Athamas). He was a fine singer with a beautiful voice.

RIP, Brian Asawa. You will be missed.

UPDATE: A fine Margalit Fox obit in the NY Times. Cause of death given as heart failure following a long illness.

Unintended.

A while ago I had received, and ignored, an invitation to a preview talk by General Director Designate Matthew Shilvock about the San Francisco Opera's 2016-17 season. This morning, I received a request to RSVP by tomorrow. So I clicked the link and logged in, intending to say that I can't come, because one should RSVP regardless of whether you can attend an event to which you're invited.

I saw this:



Ooopsie! Had SFO somehow sent me an invitation to an event I wasn't really invited to? Surely not.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stile Antico

How you can tell that I'm okay following my mom's death: blogging resumed with a vengeance, and I'm back to reviewing for SFCV.

Here's my first of the year - the first in about six months, in fact - a review of Stile Antico. They were great, and I'd love to hear them again. I was entirely serious about the number of concerts they could get from this concept. I hope they'll record some of the lesser-known cantus firmus and parody masses based on secular tunes.

I Worry for His Mind.


As Sweeney Todd (l); As Roderick Usher (R)


As Jack Torrance


It's as though Brian Mulligan was FATED to spend AN ENTIRE YEAR singing the role of SOME CRAZY GUY!
  • Sweeney Todd, San Francisco Opera
  • Roderick Usher, San Francisco Opera, in two versions of the story, no less
  • Jack Torrance, The Shining, Minnesota Opera
Must I HIDE THE KNIVES if I invite him over for dinner???

BBC Proms 2016



The Beeb released the Proms schedule the other day. It's not what I'd call coherent; there are many interesting programs but no themes that I can discern. I am not going to take the time just now to list the most attractive concerts; take a look and then make up your own fantasy schedule!

Stop Holding Your Breath.

Everybody wants him.

Between the announcement of Alan Gilbert's departure from the NYPO and the somewhat surprising appointment of Jaap van Zweden as his successor, the favorite candidate of almost everyone in NY was Esa-Pekka Salonen, the orchestra's composer in residence. And you can can hardly blame them for it, given that Salonen is a great conductor and composer, charismatic, and photogenic, with a long and hugely successful tenure at the LAPO behind him.

Now there's a new leadership opportunity in NY, and once again Anthony Tommasini, in his review of the Chereau Elektra, floats Salonen as a successor to James Levine.

Tony, give up. Salonen has made it perfectly clear that he is not interested in this kind of position. He has already been through building a concert hall, with Ernest Fleischmann as the executive; the Met is going to need major renovations in the next few years, and Peter Gelb is no Fleischmann. The Met has enormous financial problems, and Salonen does not want to be a US-style music director who gives a huge amount of time to glad-handing, fund-raising, and administration.

Peter Gelb should certainly go out of his way to engage Salonen on a regular basis as a guest conductor; in fact, he should commission an opera from Salonen.

And while I'm giving advice to the Met, while I think there is no way he would be offered the top job, there's another available conductor I can think of who is a top-notch champion of new and recent music and who should be engaged immediately for future appearances: Alan Gilbert.

Germany Friday Photo


Cosima's Sewing Kit
Haus Wahnfried
Bayreuth, August, 2015

Thursday, April 14, 2016

If You're Looking for Reasons...

....look no further than this:
This season the company sometimes had to resort to extraordinary measures during performances conducted by Mr. Levine — with the orchestra looking to the concertmaster for guidance; singers looking at the prompter’s box; and the chorus being led by Donald Palumbo, the chorus master, from the wings.
In other words, Levine has been allowed extraordinary professional lapses that would never be tolerated from anyone else, and the Met - as they signaled very clearly earlier this year - decided this was intolerable.

Update: Anne Midgette pulls no punches in covering the issue. I divide responsibility about equally between Levine's inability to call it a day on his own and the Met board and management's inability to look out for the institution by saying Genug.

It's About Time.



I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you, by this Metropolitan Opera press release:

Legendary Maestro James Levine to Retire as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera at the End of the Current Season;
Will Become The Company’s First Music Director Emeritus

New York, NY  (April 14, 2016) – Maestro James Levine, the Met’s Music Director since 1976, announced that after 40 years in the position, he will retire at the end of the current season, for health reasons. At that time, he will assume the new position of Music Director Emeritus. In this role, he will continue as the artistic leader of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, a training program for operatic talent he began in 1980, and will continue to conduct some Met performances. Next season, he will withdraw from the new production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, but plans to lead revivals of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Verdi’s Nabucco and Mozart’s Idomeneo—three works he has led more than any other conductor in Met history. 
He intends to conduct his remaining performances for the current Met season, which include the current run of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and a five-performance revival of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Seraillater this month, as well as the May 19 and 26 MET Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall. He will not conduct the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on May 22.
[stuff deleted
 Replacement conductors for this season’s May 22 Carnegie Hall concert, and for the remainder of Mo. Levine’s 2016-17 engagements—the new production of Der Rosenkavalier, and three May 2017 MET Orchestra Carnegie Hall concerts—will be announced in the coming days.
            A plan is in place to appoint a new Music Director for the Met, who will be announced in the coming months.
             As Mo. Levine transitions to his new role at the Met, John Fisher, currently Director of Music Administration, has been promoted to Assistant General Manager, Music Administration, effective immediately. Fisher’s duties include overseeing the Met’s staff conductors, rehearsal pianists, and prompters; coaching principal singers; and working with Mo. Levine and the conductors for each Met performance to prepare and maintain the highest level of musical quality.

[more stuff deleted. I consider the following paragraph to be complete bullshit, given the ridiculously conservative Met repertory and its failure to have regular commissions.]

A tireless champion of new works and neglected masterpieces, Levine expanded the company’s repertory by leading the first-ever staged Met performances of Berg’s Lulu; Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; Rossini’s La Cenerentola; Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, Stiffelio, and I Lombardi; Mozart’s Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito; Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Moses und Aron; Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny; Busoni’s Doktor Faust; and Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, as well as the world premieres of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby.

Berkeley Symphony 2016-17 Season Announcement

As usual, the little orchestra that could has an exception season mixing new works with classics. They've got a very high percentage of new and commissioned music, plus a very tasty chamber music series.

BERKELEY SYMPHONY 2016-2017 SEASON

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 5 pm
Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont

Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music Series
Stuart Canin, violin
Eric Gaenslen, cello
Helene Anderson, piano

All-Brahms program

TICKETS: Tickets to the four-concert chamber music series Berkeley Symphony & Friends at the Piedmont Center for the Arts are $100 for four concerts, and are on sale Thursday, April 14 by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704.  A series package of chamber music concert tickets can be purchased in advance at www.berkeleysymphony.orgbeginning June 1, 2016. Tickets for individual chamber music concerts are $25 and go on sale July 1.


Thursday, October 13, 2015 at 7 pm – OPENING NIGHT
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley

Joana Carneiro, conductor
Philippe Quint, violin
Berkeley Symphony

Paul Dresher: New work (Berkeley Symphony commission, World Premiere)
Erich Korngold: Violin Concerto
Stravinsky: Petrushka

TICKETS: 2016-2017 season subscription packages for the four Berkeley Symphony Zellerbach Hall concerts are on sale now by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. 2016-17 season subscription packages are available throughwww.berkeleysymphony.org beginning June 1, 2016. Prices for the four-concert series range from $42 to $266. Single ticket prices range from $10 (for students) to $74.


Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10 am & 11:30 am
Malcolm X Elementary School, 1731 Prince Street, Berkeley

“Meet the Symphony” Family Concerts

Ming Luke, conductor
Dawn Harms, violin
Berkeley Symphony

TICKETS: All Family Concerts are offered free of charge (Suggested donation: $10 per adult). For more information or to request a brochure, call Berkeley Symphony at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1, emailtickets@berkeleysymphony.org or visit www.berkeleysymphony.org.


Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 5 pm
Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont

Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music Series

Sarah Wood, violin
Emanuela Nikiforova, violin
Ilana Matfis, viola
Eric Gaenslen, cello
Miles Graber, piano

Works by Sarasate, de Falla, Turina, Fauré

TICKETS: Tickets to the four-concert chamber music series Berkeley Symphony & Friends at the Piedmont Center for the Arts are $100 for four concerts, and are on sale Thursday, April 14 by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704.  A series package of chamber music concert tickets can be purchased in advance at www.berkeleysymphony.orgbeginning June 1, 2016. Tickets for individual chamber music concerts are $25 and go on sale July 1.


Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 8 pm
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley

Joana Carneiro, conductor
Shai Wosner, piano
Berkeley Symphony

James MacMillan: Symphony No. 4 (Berkeley Symphony co-commission with the BBC Scottish National Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony; West Coast premiere)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

TICKETS: 2016-2017 season subscription packages for the four Berkeley Symphony Zellerbach Hall concerts are on sale now by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. 2016-17 season subscription packages are available throughwww.berkeleysymphony.org beginning June 1, 2016. Prices for the four-concert series range from $42 to $266. Single ticket prices range from $10 (for students) to $74.


Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 8 pm
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley

Joana Carneiro, conductor
Joshua Roman, cello
Berkeley Symphony

Mason Bates: Cello Concerto (Bay Area premiere)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4

TICKETS: 2016-2017 season subscription packages for the four Berkeley Symphony Zellerbach Hall concerts are on sale now by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. 2016-17 season subscription packages are available throughwww.berkeleysymphony.org beginning June 1, 2016. Prices for the four-concert series range from $42 to $266. Single ticket prices range from $10 (for students) to $74.


Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 5 pm
Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont

Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music Series

Karsten Windt, violin
Angela Lee, cello
Roman Fukshansky, clarinet
Markus Pawlik, piano

Works by Stanford, Rota, Poulenc, Hindemith

TICKETS: Tickets to the four-concert chamber music series Berkeley Symphony & Friends at the Piedmont Center for the Arts are $100 for four concerts, and are on sale Thursday, April 14 by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704.  A series package of chamber music concert tickets can be purchased in advance at www.berkeleysymphony.orgbeginning June 1, 2016. Tickets for individual chamber music concerts are $25 and go on sale July 1.


Saturday, April 15, 2017, 10 am & 11 am
Malcolm X Elementary School, 1731 Prince Street, Berkeley

“I’m a Performer” Family Concerts

Ming Luke, conductor
Berkeley Symphony

Tickets: Free (Suggested donation: $10 per adult)


Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 5 pm
Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont

Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music Series

René Mandel, violin
Amy Hiraga, violin
Joy Fellows, viola
Peter Wyrick, cello
Britt Day, piano

Mozart: “Dissonant” Quartet K465
Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81

TICKETS: Tickets to the four-concert chamber music series Berkeley Symphony & Friends at the Piedmont Center for the Arts are $100 for four concerts, and are on sale Thursday, April 14 by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704.  A series package of chamber music concert tickets can be purchased in advance at www.berkeleysymphony.orgbeginning June 1, 2016.  Tickets for individual chamber music concerts are $25 and go on sale July 1.


Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 8 pm
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley

Joana Carneiro, conductor
Denis Sedov, bass
Alumni of the Chamber Chorus of the University of California
Alumni of the Pacific Boychoir Academy
Members of St. John of San Francisco Russian Orthodox Chorale
Marika Kuzma, chorusmaster
Berkeley Symphony

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor, “Babi Yar”

TICKETS: 2016-2017 season subscription packages for the four Berkeley Symphony Zellerbach Hall concerts are on sale now by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. 2016-17 season subscription packages are available throughwww.berkeleysymphony.org beginning June 1, 2016. Prices for the four-concert series range from $42 to $266. Single ticket prices range from $10 (for students) to $74. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ojai at Berkeley (formerly Ojai North), 2016

At the end of this post you'll find the schedule for this year's Ojai at Berkeley. It's only three performances, where Ojai at Ojai has a dozen or so - this is very unfortunate. The Berkeley set doesn't come close to reflecting what will be performed to the south.

CAL PERFORMANCES AT UC BERKELEY PRESENTS
OJAI AT BERKELEY
JUNE 16–18, 2016
IN ZELLERBACH HALL AND ZELLERBACH PLAYHOUSE

Peter Sellars, music director
Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, Ojai Music Festival
Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director, Cal Performances


SCHEDULE AND PROGRAMS:


Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 8pm
Zellerbach Playhouse
Bancroft Way at Dana Street
UC Berkeley Campus


Kaija Saariaho
La Passion de Simone
Text: Amin Maalouf

Julia Bullock, soprano
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
Roomful of Teeth
Joana Carneiro, conductor
Peter Sellars, director
Ben Zamora, lighting designer

Tickets: $20. Ojai at Berkeley Festival Pass good for entry to all three performances $45. On sale Saturday, April 9 at 1pm.

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Friday, June 17, 2016, 6:30-7:30pm 
Zellerbach Hall
                                                 
Pre-performance Talk

Artist talk with Ojai at Berkeley music director Peter Sellars and Cal Performances director Matías Tarnopolsky

Tickets: The pre-performance talk is free to all ticketholders for the concert that evening.


Friday, June 17, 2016 at 8pm
Zellerbach Hall
Bancroft Way at Dana Street
UC Berkeley Campus

Dina El Wedidi and Band: The Sounds of Tahrir Square, Cairo
Turning Back                                                                                    
Eight Nayikas

Tickets: $20. Ojai at Berkeley Festival Pass good for entry to all three performances $45. On sale Saturday, April 9 at 1pm.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 8pm
Zellerbach Playhouse
Bancroft Way at Dana Street
UC Berkeley Campus


Josephine Baker: A Portrait (commissioned by ICE)
Arrangements and new music: Tyshawn Sorey

Julia Bullock, soprano
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
Tyshawn Sorey, piano and drums

Tickets: $20. Ojai at Berkeley Festival Pass good for entry to all three performances $45. On sale Saturday, April 9 at 1pm.
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Saturday, June 18, 2016 following the performance

Zellerbach Playhouse Stage
Post-performance Talk

Community Response Panel chaired by Cal Performances associate director Rob Bailis.

Tickets: The post-performance talk is free to all ticketholders for the concert that evening.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Blogging Hiatus Explained


My mom, age 36, with me, age 8 days.

My mom, Naomi Hirsch, died around 7 a.m. on March 9, 2016, at an advanced age. She had been in declining health, as often happens with very old people, with noticeable larger or smaller steps in the decline. She died very peacefully, asleep or unconscious. She seems to have been comfortable and hadn't been in any pain. (We asked often.) Because she had lung tumors that were probably cancer, I'm grateful that she passed easily from this world and didn't go through the agony that can accompany death from lung cancer.

I was lucky to have the parents I had. They were happy together and adored each other and me. I was closer to my father, who died in 1979, and I think there were ways he understood me that my mom did not, but both of them always gave me unconditional love and support for whatever I tried to do. For that and so much else, I am eternally grateful. I'll miss her very much.


My parents on their wedding day.
(Oddly cropped; I need to re-scan this.)

Because You Can't Go Wrong With Beethoven.

That's the answer to a question Anthony Tommasini asks in his rave review of the Miró Quartet's Ginastera program:
Ginastera’s Third Quartet (1973) features a soprano singing settings of Spanish poems that deal with longing, desire and the power of music to vanquish monstrous darkness. The soprano Keira Duffy brought rich sound and gripping expressivity to the performance. How can this stunning piece not have become a staple of the repertory?
It's what Alex Ross has called "celebrity programming." See also: San Francisco Opera's 2016-17 season.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Ooopsie.



David Gockley to Joshua Kosman:
“This is a transition year, and I didn’t want to leave my successor with something big and ugly,” Gockley said in a phone interview. “I wanted to be sure to hand Matthew something that was attainable.” 
Well, Mr. Gockley's plans appear to have gone awry: I received a letter a couple of days ago from Matthew Shilvock, General Director Designate, offering additional subscription flexibility and more or less begging me to renew my San Francisco Opera subscription. I am about to mail a long letter politely saying no and describing my reasons.

I am hearing stories of 20 and 30 year subscribers who decided against renewing. I'm seriously curious just how big a hit SFO is taking for this terrible decision.

But that's what happens when you program a season that might have been designed to appeal to opera newcomers and Jan & Maria Manetti Shrem, major donors who donate in support of Italian opera.* People like me, who'd like to hear French, Russian, German, and English-language opera, and who think it's a very bad idea to program Madame Butterfly in alternate years, will walk away and spend our money hearing more interesting repertory.

Previously: Repertory Fatigue, on the SFO season announcement


* I wonder whether they'd support a production of La donna senz'ombra....oh, probably not, even though Puccini did attend the first Italian production of the work.

Friday, April 01, 2016