Saturday, January 28, 2006

Back soon, really

There's a system release going out on Tuesday - honestly, this has been an easy release cycle, the first in several years in which I haven't worked a weekend or two or stayed at work until 10 p.m. a few times. Still, I've mostly been thinking about shared library environment variables and full-text indexing in the last couple of weeks.

On the musical side, I picked up sale tickets to a few SFS concerts. Maybe LHL will show up for her scheduled appearance. The Mahler 8th is sold out (gnash, gnash).

And tonight, I'm seeing the Berkeley Opera's Falstaff. Jo Vincent Parks is singing the fat knight; I've liked him in everything I've seen him in, and I have high hopes. Review of sorts tomorrow, I'm sure.

I started a posting about Nilsson the week her death was announced, and I plan to wrap that one up soon, especially if I can get the DG Tristan recording back from friends who think they might want to see it in SF this coming fall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

San Francisco Opera, 2006-7

Janos Gereben, the fastest pen in the West, sent along the schedule, about which I must first say:


I wonder how many of the performances I can get to.

Janos's full report is now up at SFCV. You may want to look at the new and more readable San Francisco Opera Web site as well. If you have bookmarked, that is not working, apparently. Use

It's a fairly juicy season. Okay, I could live without Carmen, Barber of Seville, and Don Giovanni. Christine Goerke is wasted in Fledermaus (which I can also live without), but Iphegenie en Tauride, Karita in Manon Lescaut - and that Tristan production - make up for a lot. Woo hoo!

Here's the whole thing:

San Francisco Opera 2006-'07 season

[*] San Francisco Opera Debut
[**] American Opera Debut

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA by Giuseppe Verdi
Florida Grand Opera production
September 8 (7 pm), 13 (7:30 pm), 17 (2 pm), 20 (7:30 pm), 23 (8 pm), 26
(7:30 pm), 29 (8 pm), 2006
Marco Armiliato/Gina Lapinski/Zack Brown
Amelia - Deborah Voigt
King Gustav III - Marcus Haddock*
Ankerström - Ambrogio Maestri*
Ulrica - Tichina Vaughn*
Oscar - Anna Christy

DIE FLEDERMAUS by Johann Strauss, Jr.
San Francisco Opera production
September 9 (7:30 pm), 12 (8 pm), 14 (7:30 pm), 16 (8 pm), October 4 (7:30
pm), 8 (2 pm), 13 (8 pm), 2006
Donald Runnicles/Lotfi Mansouri/Loren Meeker*/Wolfram Skalicki
Eisenstein - Wolfgang Brendel
Adele - Jennifer Welch-Babidge
Rosalinde - Christine Goerke*
Prince Orlofsky - Gerald Thompson

RIGOLETTO by Giuseppe Verdi
San Francisco Opera production
September 30 (8 pm); October 3 (8 pm), 6 (8 pm), 9 (7:30 pm), 12 (7:30 pm),
15 (2 pm), 21 (8 pm)†, (7:30 pm)†, 29 (2 pm)†, 2006
Stephen Lord* - Valery Alexejev†*/Harry Silverstein/Michael Yeargan
Rigoletto - Paolo Gavanelli
Gilda - Mary Dunleavy
The Duke - Giuseppe Gipali*
Count Monterone - Greer Grimsley

TRISTAN UND ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
Seattle Opera production
October 5 (7 pm), 10 (7 pm), 14 (7 pm), 18 (7 pm), 22 (1 pm), 27 (7 pm),
Donald Runnicles/Francesca Zambello/Herbert Kellner*/Alison Chitty
Tristan - Thomas Moser
Isolde - Christine Brewer
King Marke - Kristinn Sigmundsson
Kurwenal - Boaz Daniel*
Brangäne - Jane Irwin**

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Gioacchino Rossini
San Francisco Opera production
October 31 (8 pm); November 2 (7:30 pm), 4 (8 pm), 7 (7:30 pm), 9 (7:30 pm),
12 (2 pm), 17 (8 pm), 26 (2 pm), 30 (7:30 pm), 2006
Maurizio Barbacini/Johannes Schaaf/Hans Dieter Schaal
Figaro - Nathan Gunn
Rosina - Allyson McHardy
Count Almaviva - John Osborn*
Doctor Bartolo - Bruno de Simone*
Don Basilio - Phillip Ens
Berta - Catherine Cook
Ambrogio - Ricardo Herrera

MANON LESCAUT by Giacomo Puccini
Lyric Opera of Chicago production
November 19 (2 pm), 22 (7:30 pm), 25 (8 pm), 28 (8 pm); December 1 (8 pm), 7
(7:30 pm), 10 (2 pm), 2006
Donald Runnicles/Olivier Tambosi*/Frank Phillip Schloessmann*
Manon Lescaut - Karita Mattila
Chevalier des Grieux - Misha Didyk
Lescaut - John Hancock
Geronte - Eric Halfvarson

CARMEN by Georges Bizet
San Francisco Opera production
November 21 (7:30 pm), 24 (7:30 pm), 25 (12 pm)†, 29 (7:30 pm); December 2
(7:30 pm)†, 3 (2:00 pm), 6 (7:30 pm), 8 (7:30 pm)†, 9 (7:30 pm), 2006
Sebastian Lang-Lessing/Jean-Pierre Ponnelle/Laurie Feldman
Carmen - Marina Domashenko / Hadar Halévy*†
Don José - Marco Berti* / Stuart Skelton†
Escamillo - Erwin Schrott* / TBA†
Micaëla - Ana María Martínez / TBA†
Zuniga - Ricardo Herrera

DON GIOVANNI by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
San Francisco Opera and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie co-production
June 2 (8 pm), 5 (8 pm), 10 (2 pm), 13 (7:30 pm), 16 (8 pm), 22 (8 pm), 28
(7:30 pm), 30 (8 pm), 2007
Donald Runnicles/Leah Hausman*/John Macfarlane
Don Giovanni - Mariusz Kwiecien
Donna Anna - Hope Briggs
Donna Elvira - Twyla Robinson
Don Ottavio - Charles Castronovo
Leporello - Oren Gradus
Zerlina - Claudia Mahnke
Masetto - Luca Pisaroni*
Commendatore - Kristinn Sigmundsson

DER ROSENKAVALIER by Richard Strauss
San Francisco Opera production
June 9 (7:30 pm), 15 (7:30 pm), 19 (7:30 pm), 21 (7:30 pm)†, 24 (1:30 pm),
27 (7:30 pm); July 1 (1:30 pm)†, 2007
Donald Runnicles/Sandra Bernhard/Lotfi Mansouri/Thierry Bosquet
Octavian - Joyce DiDonato
Marschallin - Soile Isokoski* / Martina Serafin*†
Sophie - Miah Persson*
Baron Ochs - Kristinn Sigmundsson
Faninal - Jochen Schmeckenbecher
Annina - Catherine Cook
Valzacchi - David Cangelosi

IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE by Christoph Willibald Gluck
San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago co-production
June 14 (7:30 pm), 17 (2 pm), 20 (7:30 pm), 23 (8 pm), 26 (8 pm), 29 (8 pm),
Patrick Summers/Robert Carsen*/Tobias Hoheisel*
Iphigénie - Susan Graham
Orestes - Bo Skovhus
Pylades - Paul Groves

Updated Thursday, January 12.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Distorted Tunes Test

The distorted tunes test at the Web site of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is fun! Patty at Oboeinsight is undoubtedly right that it's too easy in some way for musicians - to feel challenged or really tested, I expect we'd need something subtler, like a passage from a Mahler symphony or Strauss tone poem with a subtle change in harmony or orchestration. Anyone out there feel like concocting something tougher?

Still, the NIDCD test is interested to take - my skin crawled at some of the distortions - and it is very likely useful to checking musical memories and accuracy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Doors Opening 2

In October, when I posted that I had started singing in Soli Deo Gloria, I was already sitting on some other pretty big news:

I am opening my own jujitsu dojo later this year.

This has been a long time coming and is something I've wanted to do essentially since I started practicing. I am a second-degree black belt in Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu (AJJF). I have practiced since 1982, first at The Dojo, then, when The Dojo closed, at Laurel Jujitsu, of which I was a founding member and where I've been an instructor since 1991.

I'm on a break of sorts from jujitsu, as I need to do some significant strengthening work (again) on my cranky back. I'll be practicing as I'm able with my senseis, Nancy and Matt Bigham, who teach at Kodai no Bushido in Santa Clara.

No name or location for the new dojo yet, but I plan to be teaching somewhere between El Cerrito and San Leandro, most likely in Oakland or Berkeley, and I hope to open the school some time between June and August. The curriculum will be pretty standard for an AJJF school:
  • Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu for women and men (a big change after 23 years in a women's dojo!)

  • Women's self-defense

  • Rolling & falling. This is a class for people who don't want to spend years studying a martial art, but who do want to learn this very important self-protection skill.

No, I'm not quitting my day job. Very few people in this style or in the Bay Area are able to make a living teaching a martial art. I'll be happy to break even.

Watch this space for more news, including information on when & where, the grand opening demo (when my students know enough to give demonstrations, and very likely including guest martial artists and as many of my teachers and fellow jujitsuka as can be crammed into one room, and the schedule. You'll all invited to come take a class - first one's free. :-)

Come Sing with Us!

Soli Deo Gloria, with which I've been singing since September, 2005, is holding auditions on Sunday, January 8, 2006 for all voices. Our next concerts are the first weekend in March, and will feature music of Palestrina, Victoria, Guerrero, and Morales. Chad Runyon conducts this concert.

SDG sings sacred music written from the beginning of the Western classical tradition to yesterday, pretty much. We're a dedicated and very friendly group, companionable and lots of fun to sing with.

If you'd like to try out, email, or call (888) 734-7664. Auditions will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 1323 Central Ave., Alameda, which is where we rehearse. (I can tell you from personal experience that the auditions are very humane.) Rehearsals are Mondays, 7:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Amplification in the Opera House and Concert Hall

Excellent article by Anthony Tommasini in today's NY Times Arts & Leisure section, containing the dismaying confirmation that the orchestra for Doctor Atomic was amplified, as well as the singers, and discussing the long-term implications of amplifying classical music:

Pipe Down! We Can Hardly Hear You
WHEN "Doctor Atomic," the much-anticipated opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project by the dynamic American composer John Adams, had its premiere in October at the San Francisco Opera, the critical reaction was all over the place. But whatever one's take on the opera - I found it, over all, a courageous and musically haunting work - surprisingly little was made of one of the production's most unorthodox attributes: the sizeable orchestra had 30 microphones positioned among the players, and the singers wore body microphones.