Monday, August 13, 2018

Museum Mondays

Woman Photographing da Vinci's Madonna of the Carnation
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
August, 2015

Monday, August 06, 2018

Museum Mondays

Still-Life Detail
Cardoons, Cauliflower, Squash, Poatoes, Cabbages, etc.
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
August, 2015

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Public Service Announcement: West Edge Opera Mata Hari

If you've got tickets to or you're planning to see West Edge Opera's Mata Hari, bring earplugs. It is very loudly - too loudly - amplified. Further, there's quite a bit of distortion.

I liked the ten minutes of the score that I heard before I left the performance area. From conversations after the curtain, I know I'm not the only person who found it too loud.

If you were there and you found it too loud, let West Edge Opera know. Email to info@westedgeopera.org, printed letters to West Edge Opera, 1700 Shattuck Ave, Box #312, Berkeley, CA 94709.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

No Plans for Saturday, Aug. 4? Go see Bal Anat in El Cerrito!

Bal Anat Troupe
Photo: Alex Bertrand

Saturday, August 4, 2018 @ 8pm
El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater, El Cerrito

Info: www.balanat50year.com
Tickets ($18-$30): www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3386434
Facebook event page:  www.facebook.com/events/1587513507946875
NOTE: Sold out, so check for returns!

From the press release:

The world’s longest-running belly dance troupe, Bal Anat,  celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a tour of Stockholm, London, Brussels, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago, and El Cerrito. The Bay Area-based troupe’s hometown performance, which will take place on Saturday August 4 at El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater, includes a dance tableaux from the Middle East, North Africa, the Anatolian Peninsula, and Persia, and feature 60 dancers from throughout the United States, Canada, East Asia, and Europe.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An Email Error You Don't Want to Make

I've gotten emails recently from two organizations that left me dismayed at the lack of thought that went into the email.

One is from an extremely famous contemporary music ensemble. Their name does not appear anywhere in the email. Oh, wait - actually, it's in 4 point type in the email footer,  next to their street address and below the email preferences and unsubscribe links. And if you're familiar with the group, you can probably guess from a couple of links in the body of the email which group it comes from.

The other came from an equally famous presenting organization. You have to open the email to see who it's from; nothing in the subject line or sender makes it clear.

Organizations, don't do this. The people you send email to should be able to tell from their inbox who the mail is from! You can't count on their knowing the name of the artistic director or director of marketing. PUT YOUR ORGANIZATION'S NAME IN THE FROM FIELD OR ON THE SUBJECT LINE. It's really not that hard.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Coming to San Francisco Opera

Apparently Erhard Rom's biography in the Glimmerglass Opera program this year says that he's designing a new Nozze di Figaro for San Francisco Opera. Rom has previously designed productions of Nixon in China, Susannah, and Lucia di Lammermoor that were seen here.

Me, I'll be so very happy to say goodbye to the ugly Zack Brown sets, which are about on par with his Don Carlo sets.

Museum Mondays

Still-Life Detail
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
August, 2015

Friday, July 27, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Harassment in the (Classical) News

Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone of the Washington Post have done some great reporting about sexual harassment in the classic world. They have surfaced, nationally, reports about Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil (these go back pretty far) and conductor Daniele Gatti. Take a look, and note that there's a pretty good chance that there is a problem person in your local orchestra or opera company in addition to those Midgette and McGlone write about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold, food / restaurant critic of the LA Times and formerly a prominent music critic, died yesterday at 57, just a couple of weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I'm so sad about this. I became acquainted with Gold last year through the wonderful documentary City of Gold, about his writing and his relationship with food and the city of Los Angeles. He was a marvelous writer and utterly omnivorous in his culinary taste. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2007, the first (and still only) restaurant reviewer to win the prize.

Here are various obituaries and other writing about Gold:
From Dana Goodyear's postscript:
Gold was the kind of father who woke at dawn to make his daughter snacks from a recipe by Apicius, in Latin, to take on a field trip to an exhibit about Pompeii, and was always home well before sundown during the week of Hanukkah to assuage his son.
From Pete Wells's obit:
In more than a thousand reviews published since the 1980s, Mr. Gold chronicled his city’s pupuserias, bistros, diners, nomadic taco trucks, soot-caked outdoor rib and brisket smokers, sweaty indoor xiao long bao steamers, postmodern pizzerias, vintage delicatessens, strictly omakase sushi-yas, Roman gelaterias, Korean porridge parlors, Lanzhou hand-pulled noodle vendors, Iranian tongue-sandwich shops, vegan hot dog griddles, cloistered French-leaning hyper-seasonal tasting counters and wood-paneled Hollywood grills with chicken potpie and martinis on every other table.

Updated 7/24, with links to Lambert and second Goodyear article and quotations from Goodyear and Wells.

Tristan und Isolde at Herbst Theater

Yes, you read that right: there will be a concert performance of Wagner's delirious Tristan und Isolde in tiny Herbst Theater, San Francisco, under the aegis of the Claude Heater Foundation. Here are the details:

Sunday, August 26, 2018, 2:00 PM
Herbst Theatre at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
Ticket price: $25-80 (discounts for students & seniors)


Tristan: Roy Cornelius Smith 
Isolde: Juyeon Song 
Brangäne: Tamara Gallo
Kurwenal: Geoffrey Di Giorgio
King Marke: Philip Skinner 
Melot: Alex Boyer 
Conductor: Jonathan Khuner 
Video artist: Naomie Kremer
Supertitles: Dmitry Murashev

Why not?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Don't Be This Small Non-Profit

[July 14: Pushing this to the top of the blog because of follow-ups.}

Stuff that happened to me when I tried to renew my membership in a small non-profit organization (SNP, hereafter); an object lesson in how not to treat your members.

1. I received a renewal notice by email on February 2, 2018. I sent a check to SNP on or around February 8, because I had canceled my credit card owing to a fraudulent charge and I hadn’t received the new card yet. The check went to the post office box listed on SNP's web site and in the email I received.

2. February 16 - I received another emailed renewal notice. I replied to the email, which came from info@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

3. March 4 - I received another emailed renewal notice. This time, I forward that email and a reply to membership@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

4. March 7 - I received another emailed renewal noticed. This time, I forwarded that email and a reply to treasurer@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

5. March 23 - I sent a printed letter to the president of SNP at an address where I thought the president would receive it. I was confused about something and sent it to the wrong address, but it got to the president anyway. (Small world effect, here.)

6. April 3 - I hadn't heard anything, so I sent email to membership@SNP, president@SNP, vicepresident@SNP, and treasurer@SNP just saying I had a question and could anyone answer it.

7. April 9 - I heard from the president by email, who had gotten my printed letter. The president was very apologetic and promised to contact the treasurer on my behalf.

8. April 25. - The president checked back with me to see whether I had heard from the treasurer. I had not yet heard from the treasurer, who could not find 2 minutes before heading out of town a couple of weeks ago to send an email saying "I'm on this."

Apparently my case will be discussed at the Board meeting on April 29, nearly three months after I got the first renewal notice. My check hasn't cleared my bank yet, nor has the envelope containing the check come back to me.

Update: May 3 - The Board meeting was on April 29, and several days later, nobody has gotten back to me about the status of my membership renewal.

Things that went wrong:
  • Organization says it's okay to send a check to a physical mail box that nobody monitors.
  • Organization has multiple email addresses listed on its web site that nobody checks.
  • Officer of the organization is asked to get in touch with a member, doesn't do it in a timely fashion.
  • Renewal process, which should be simple, stretches out over three months even though member attempted to pay on a timely basis.
  • Update: Board meets, is supposed to talk about this, nobody gets back to member with status report even after she sends an email the day after the meeting.
As I said, don't be this organization. No, I'm not going to tell you which organization this is.

Update: July 14, 2018

  • On April 30, I followed up.
  • On May 3, having heard nothing, I sent another follow-up.
  • On May 8, the president of SNP asked me to tell her again where I had sent my check. Note: she had this in writing and I had sent it to the address on the org's web site.
  • I told her I'd just pay my dues on line.
  • On May 10, SNP finally told me they couldn't find my check and also that they were changing the PO Box address because the person who checks it does check regularly but doesn't communicate regularly with SNP. What. The. Fuck.
  • Today, I got an email transmitting links to the quarterly newsletter of SNP, and it starts "Normally, the newsletter is only delivered to members whose dues are current, but we want to make sure that everyone is included in the excitement leading up to [event]. Enjoy this issue and plan for [event, which conflicts with an event that it's more important for me to go to]." I honestly can't tell what the problem here is: their database still thinks I haven't paid, or their cover email is totally guilt-trippy and ham-handed. I'm still trying to decide whether to send outraged email, curious email, ignore, or what.
  • SNP did indeed switch the contact address, which is now in a different city and state.
While I'm not going to disclose the name of SNP, it has 137 members in it because it does nothing to increase membership....and there are a few obvious things it could do. 

Belated Friday Photo

Super Blood Moon
Oakland, CA
January, 2018

Monday, July 09, 2018

Compare & Contrast 35: Herheim Pelléas at Glyndbourne

Well, well, reports are not good about Stefan Herheim's production of Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndbourne. It's set at Glyndbourne, in the mansion's organ room, and, well, something has gone very wrong when the audience finds itself laughing during a performance of this particular opera.

Point of agreement: Berry and Baranello both disliked Robin Ticciati's approach to the score. On the other hand, Duchen thinks he has grown musically.

The production....sounds like a mistake. Lots of photos at the three links.

Oliver Knussen

British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has died following a short illness, much too young at 66. I don't think I've heard any of his music live; four years ago in London, he conducted one of the concerts I attended at the Birtwistle at 80 festival.

Lots of memories of Knussen, who was a mentor, inspiration, and friend to so many. He seems to have been a genuinely decent human as well as a great composer and musician.

Museum Mondays

Assyrian Figure
Met Museum, NYC
February, 2018

Saturday, July 07, 2018

More Berkeley Symphony

I'm putting this all after the cut, because it's a lot.

1. Berkeley Symphony 2018-19 schedule, including chamber & other concerts. As usual, they've got a higher percentage of 20th and 21st c. music than other, bigger-budget orchestras we could name, and twice as many works by female composers as the one across the bay.
2. Full press release about Joana Carneiro's resignation and replacements.

Friday, July 06, 2018

More BSO Pay Equity Links

aka Elizabeth Rowe's lawsuit against the BSO:
  • Drew McManus, Adaptistration. Watch for more very well-informed commentary from Drew.
  • Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe. Note principal oboist John Ferrillo's comments on Rowe. (May be paywalled.)
  • Jennifer Schuessler, NY Times. Michael Cooper is evidently in New Mexico, given his report on Santa Fe Opera's new production of Doctor Atomic