Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Event Miscellany, Bay Area & NYC Edition


Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Left Coast closes the season with a program that includes the rarely-performed Schoenberg Serenade for baritone and seven players, Jemnitz's Trio for Violin, Viola, and Guitar, and Benavides's
Rinconcito for Small Ensemble (world premiere). The first performance was last night, but you can catch the second at the SF Conservatory of Music on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.

San Francisco Renaissance Voices

Their program is called "To Henry with Love From Venice," Renaissance motets and madrigals. Times & locations, in Berkeley & SF:

Sunday, May 20 - 4:00 pm - St. Clement's Episcopal, 2837 Claremont Blvd, Berkeley
CLICK HERE to buy tickets
Saturday, May 26 - 7:30 pm - Church of the Incarnation, 1750 - 29th Ave, San Francisco
CLICK HERE to buy tickets

New York City Opera Festival

I managed to MISS posting about the first half of this exciting festival of works old and new, but here's what they have coming up in the next several weeks, with links:
May 25Center for Contemporary Opera presents Backwards from Winter
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, Upper Level, New York, NY 10025

May 27SIGN & SING and American Opera Projects premiere five short operas based on The Dinner Party 
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

May TBD: Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Paradigm Shifts Music and Film Festival
Location TBA

June TBA: the little OPERA theatre of ny presents the New York Premiere of This Little Light of Mine: the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price
Location TBA
June 1Christman Opera Company presents a double bill of Adriana McMannes with the World Premiere of A Metamorphosis
National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10001
June 1Opera on Tap presents New Brew Series: OOTmeal
Barbès, 376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
June 2New Amsterdam Opera presents La Favorita
The Center at West Park, 165 West 86th St, New York, NY 10024

June 13 and/or 14: Opera on Tap presents Hansel and Gretel: The Playground Opera
The playground at Public School 129, 425 West 130th St, New York, NY 10027
June 15Experiments in Opera releases Jason Cady’s Buick City, 1:00 AM
Podcast episodes available online at iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast sites
June 22 – 24Opera Upper West presents The Impresario
Location revealed upon ticket purchase
June 23 & 24The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island presents Patience
The Jeanne Rimsky Theatre at The Landmark, 232 Main St, Port Washington, NY 11050
June 30The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Islandpresents Patience
The Theatre at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Berkeley (Early Music) Festival & Exhibition (June 3 to 10)

I have never understood why this event omits the critical phrase "Early Music" from its name, so I have inserted it above for clarity.

As usual, the alternate-years festival has a ton of interesting concerts and master classes coming up. Not so much as usual, they're in conflict with the San Francisco Silent Movie Festival, and I will have to make DECISIONS. The Main Stage events include California Bach Society in choral works of Marc-Antoine Charpentier; soprano Christine Brandes and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock in a program called Nasty Women; the ensemble Juilliard415 (what it sounds like); Dark Horse Consort; Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensemble (folks, isn't that a little early to be specializing?); Voices of Music; Sequentia; and many other groups.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Museum Mondays

St. Sebastian

Torturer with Crossbow

Torturer with Long Bow

Bavarian National Museum, Munich
August, 2015

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jenufa, Then and Now

I'll have a full post up about Santa Fe Opera's 2019 season eventually, but one of the two most interesting-to-me productions is David Alden's Jenufa, originally done at the ENO. I don't know most of the singers, but Patricia Racette as Kostelnicka Buryjovka would be enough to get me to Santa Fe next year, and the wonderful Susanne Mentzer is Grandmother Buryjovka.

I have fond memories of Racette's San Francisco Jenufa in 2001, and earlier this week, I took a look back and found that Joshua Kosman also liked it. (SFCV's review seems to have vanished into thin air, alas.) Here's Tim Page reviewing Racette as Jenufa in the David Alden production that Santa Fe will bring up; the great Jiri Belohlavek, may he rest in piece, conducted.

My second Jenufa, after Racette's, was that of Karita Mattila, in LA in 2007, in the Olivier Tambosi production we had in SF two years ago. I didn't like Mattila nearly as much as Racette; I could not see past her glamorous and womanly presence to the young and somewhat naive Janufa. Racette's vulnerability and the sweetness she brought to the role worked beautifully and she was heartbreaking. I also liked Malin Bystrom's steel-spined and fairly bleak Jenufa, which came at the role in another possible way.

Mattila, though, was an absolutely towering Kostelnicka in SF. I'm looking forward to what Racette does with the role. It will be different in interesting and thoughtful ways, I know.

For a look back at a great Kostelnicka of the past, take a look at this hair-raising excerpt with the great Astrid Varnay; I am linking to it rather than embedding it for possible spoilage. The entire performance, from 1970 and conducted by Rafael Kublek, is also on YouTube.

The Opera Hour

Several years ago, David Gockley, former general manager of San Francisco Opera, succeeded in negotiating the return of opera to the airwaves of San Francisco. We had a few telecasts and some years of monthly radio broadcasts on KDFC of SFO productions, mostly from the previous season but with occasional blasts from the past.

Alas, this seems to be coming to an end. We will now get a monthly one-hour show with Matthew Shilvock and Bill Leuth, call The Opera Hour. At least for now, the opera broadcasts are "on hold," according to San Francisco Opera; according to KDFFC, The Opera Hour "replaces" the monthly broadcasts.

I missed the first installment, which was last Sunday, Maybe 8, at 8 p.m. - if you heard it, I'm curious to hear what it was like. It remains to be seen what shape, exactly, this show will take; previews of upcoming works on the season? Anna Netrebko and Renee Fleming's greatest hits? A little Caruso for fun?

I am not particularly a fan of KDFC or Bill Leuth; even since the station's acquisition, the programming is of the Mozart in the Morning / one movement of a symphony / lightweight variety, with barely a nod to new or very old music, and little vocal music. I can imagine that the Sunday evening opera broadcasts weren't getting much in the way of an audience, because the time was bad and during much of the year they were competing with the Met's Saturday morning (local time) broadcasts).

I'm sure Matthew Shilvock will be an engaging host, because he is unfailingly enthusiastic, knowledgable, and good in front of an audience. Bill Leuth, despite his music degrees, is a radio announcer who has to push KDFC's particular brand.

I'm also still waiting to hear whether the show takes requests....in which case, I'll be asking for some Birtwistle.

SF Opera press release after the cut.

New George Benjamin Opera on Medici.TV

I hardly ever watch opera on DVD or TV or the computer, but on Saturday, May 26, Medici TV will be streaming George Benjamin's new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence, starring Barbara Hannigan (should be enough to get you to watch!), Stephane Degout, and Gyula Orendt. The opera is based on the events in the life of King Edward II of England, his wife Isabel, and his favorite (love?) Gaveston.

It's gotten great reviews, and everyone I know who has seen Benjamin's Written on Skin thought it a great work. I am breaking my usual rules to see this.

For more information, see Medici's page about the broadcast. It's at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time, 2:30 Eastern Time.

Friday, May 11, 2018


Coming some time in the future to San Francisco Opera: a new production of Hansel und Gretel. How do I know? It says so right here on the Royal Opera House web site: co-production with San Francisco Opera.

I love the Richard Jones production SFO did twelve or so years back, and which lives on at the Met and perhaps elsewhere. Looking forward to this Hansel, though, as the opera is a favorite of mine.

Friday Photo

Hail falling on my neighbor's roof
April 16, 2018

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Whoa: Herlitzius Withdraws from SFO Ring; Theorin Steps In

Evelyn Herlitzius has withdrawn from the upcoming San Francisco Opera production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, owing to health reasons. Irene Theorin will replace her.

A note or two before the press release: SFO says that got the news from Herlitzius on Monday and she contacted them from her home in Dresden (she isn't in SF yet, in other words).

Today is Wednesday. Brünnhildes don't grow on trees and a lot of luck is involved with the company's ability to hire Theorin: she has a break between performances in April and performances in the fall. Nina Stemme is committed to a Parsifal that opens in late June; Christine Goerke is currently in rehearsals for Lohengrin in London; Catherine Foster might be available; can't tell from Operabase. (Foster sang the production in DC a couple of years ago.) The only other possibly available sopranos I can see are Lise Lindstrom and Linda Watson.

All that said, best wishes to Evelyn Herlitzius for a return to health; her withdrawal must be a huge disappointment to her, SFO, and her fans.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Museum Mondays

Detail, St. George and the Dragon
Bavarian National Museum, Munich
August, 2015