Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back

It's December 31, and the changing of the year is at hand. I'm not one for digging around in Google Analytics to make a list of my most popular postings, though I will note that my long-ago postings about the late Jerry Hadley have surprising legs.

I also don't always do best-performance postings, but there are a few I really need to mention. I should note that owing to jujitsu and SFS's ticketing software (I never renewed my subscription), my concert-going has been severely curtailed since the summer. I can't go to Sunday afternoon concerts or operas, which is a significant limiting factor given where I live and work.

I'm going to reach back to December, 2011, because there was a spectacular program then that I never blogged about, owing to a peculiarity of the program notes. That note is still haunting me; perhaps I should send out the letter I drafted a year ago after all.

In chronological order:

December, 2011. Esa-Pekka Salonen at SFS; Leila Josefowicz and Christine Brewer. Sibelius, Salonen, Wagner. A Sibelius tone poem, sumptuously played; Salonen's dense and beautiful violin concerto, which Josefowicz brought off in magnificent fashion; Bruennhilde's Immolation, with Brewer in fine voice after sounding rather off in the Missa Solemnis of June, 2011. To my surprise, she sang from a score. I'm not a soprano, but if I were I could sing it from memory. This lends some credence to those who claimed that Brewer was bounced from the last production of the Schenk Ring at the Met for not knowing the music well enough.

January, 2012. SFS/MTT, Christian Tetzlaff. Tetzlaff and a small ensemble in the Ligeti violin concerto. Good god, what a piece and what a performance.

January, 2012. SFS/MTT, Janacek Sinfonietta, Debussy, Le martyr de Saint Sebastien. A brilliant and unexpectedly wonderful pairing. I should have seen it again Saturday night rather than attending Susan Graham's recital.

March, 2012. Abel Gance's Napolean. I only saw the second half (I was feeling poorly in the morning) and wish I'd gone twice.

March, 2012. SFS/MTT, American Mavericks. The usual suspects, alas, but wonderfully played.

May, 2012. Matthias Goerge and Leif Ove Andsnes, Mahler and Shostakovich songs. Simply incredible singing.

June, 2012. Ojai North! Beautiful programming (and playing) by Leif Ove Andsnes, with colleagues including Marc-Andre Hamelin.

June, 2012. Duke Bluebeard's Castle, MTT/SFS; Michelle DeYoung, Alan Held. I'm told that DeYoung's Hungarian was a whole lot better than Held's; what really counts, though, was the top-notch singing, the sumptuous playing by SFS, and the unbelievable sound of the fifth door opening. Yes, I went twice.

June, 2012. Nixon in China, SF Opera. Finally, this masterpiece finds its way to the Bay Area.

July, 2012. King Roger, Santa Fe Opera. Finally, opera companies are recognizing that this rarity shouldn't be rare.

October, 2012. Einstein on the Beach, touring company. Finally! I was a little worried that it might be unbearable; it was, in fact, fascinating and delightful.

I'll give an honorable mention to West Edge Opera: I liked their charming Manga Flute a lot better than the SF Opera production, with its hideously tone-deaf "translation" by David Gockley. Lastly, I had a good year in blogging, as you can see from the post count.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Associate principal trumpet Glenn Fischthal and principal percussionist Jack van Geem both retired from San Francisco Symphony at the end of the 2011-12 season. The orchestra will be holding auditions in January for both positions.

At the beginning of December, the Chicago Symphony announced that David Herbert - our principal timpanist - has been appointed their principal timpanist, effective July 10, 2013.  Presumably we'll have auditions for that spot as well, at some point, though it is often the case that a departing principal player is considered on leave for the first year of a new job. And goodness knows, sometimes it has taken MTT a good long time to replace solo players.

Oh - read the fascinating comment thread to the Slipped Disk posting linked to above about David Herbert.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

More on "The Music They Made"

Alex Ross also had a few things to say about this. Take a look at his posting, and the ridiculous excuse from Hugo Lindgren. Hey, Ravi Shankar's ragas somehow managed to fit; if Beethoven had died, I bet it would be easy to fit him into a montage. And wait: did Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau not record enough 2 to 5 minute numbers in his career?

Alex mentions the death of Elliott Carter, a towering figure, and a native New Yorker, whom the Times couldn't be bothered to include in this feature.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time for a Letter to the Editor

The NY Times Magazine video feature "The Music They Made" is especially revealing this year. They've recognized one classical musician: Ravi Shankar, and you know he's there for his pop-music connections rather than his greatness as a performer of Indian classical music. Not only that, of the 29 individuals I count, five are women.

Just so we know who is important to the Times, it's male musicians, mostly in rock, pop, and blues.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Caveat Lector 2

Remember my posting about an incompetent on-line music review, evidence of the value of knowledgeable critics? Of course you do.

Here's a NY Times article about the trouble with Amazon book reviews and what Amazon is trying to do about them (delete lots of suspicious reviews). It comes down to credibility: reviews by your kids, your mother, social media followers who haven't read the book yet, and that woman in Atlanta who has published 28,366 Amazon reviews - I am not making that number up - are worthless.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

SFO Les Troyens: At Least We Don't Have to Worry About Giordani

A Met cast-change advisory tells me that Marcello Giordani, widely panned as Enee in their current revival of Les Troyens, has withdrawn from the remaining four performances and is retiring the role.

Brian Hymel, who saved the day at Covent Garden when Jonas Kaufmann couldn't sing, replaces Giordani for the balance of the run, including the HD broadcast on January 5.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Secret Garden Cast Announced

San Francisco Opera has announced the cast for the upcoming premiere of Nolan Gasser's The Secret Garden:
Mary Lennox                        Sarah Shafer*     
Colin Craven                        Michael Kepler Meo*                         
Archibald Craven                  Philippe Sly*†                                   
Dickon Sowerby                   Scott Joiner*                                       
Martha Sowerby                   Laura Krumm†                                  
Mrs. Medlock                       Erin Johnson*                                    
Ben Weatherstaff                 Ao Li†                                                    
Susan Sowerby                   Marina Harris*†                  
Conductor                            Sara Jobin
Director                               Jose Maria Condemi
Visual Designer                    Naomie Kremer*
Costume Designer                Kristi Johnson
Lighting Designer                 Christopher Maravich

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robert Bork

West façade of the Supreme Court Building. (Franz Jantzen)

The news comes that Robert Bork, a legal scholar best known for being denied a seat on the Supreme Court, has died at 85.

Reading the NY Times obit reminded me again of how loathsome his legal views were. He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying it was unconstitutional, but thought poll taxes were legal. Bork disliked the public accommodation requirements of the Civil Rights Act, as an unwarranted government intrusion on freedom. Okay, whites are free not to admit blacks into public accommodations, such as hotels and stores, but blacks don't get the freedom to use those hotels and stores, just to spell out what Bork supported.

He started out as a New Deal supporter, then became a libertarian, then became the kind of conservative who thinks Griswold v. Connecticut was an incorrect decision. That was the Supreme Court decision that keeps the state from prohibiting married couples from purchasing birth control.

Bork very likely first became known to the general public during the so-called Saturday night massacre. First, Elliott Richardson, the Attorney General, refused President Richard M. Nixon's order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, resigning instead. Richardson's deputy did the same. Bork, third in line at Justice, pulled the trigger, firing Cox.

Read the Times obit and Jeffrey Toobin's brief column in The New Yorker, then be thankful that this man never served on the Supreme Court.

Advice for Young Composers Everywhere

1. Let your music speak for itself.

2. Learn the purposes of a program note: to provide information that locates the work in history and illuminates its background; to provide musical guideposts for those who desire or need help in understand the music.

3. Remember that thanks to the magic of search engines, anything you say or write that makes it on to the Internet will be discoverable when you're old enough to embarrassed by what you said at 16, 20, or 23. Yes, I am grateful that my youthful follies are on paper only.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Because I Needed a Change, That's Why

The hot pink got too wearing. Still fiddling with fonts, etc. and thinking about getting a graphic into the header someplace.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Hate Phone Companies, Every Last One of Them

For the last four and a half years, I've been wandering around with two cell phones.

One is a now-six-year-old Sanyo Katana, which was a nice dumb phone back when I got it. On this phone is the eight-year-old Credo mobile number that lots of people and organizations have for me.

The other has been a series of Android smartphones, all of them given to me by my employer, which during that time has also provided me with a T-Mobile SIM, essentially in exchange for the phone acting as a test-and-data-collection device for the company. The current phone is a Galaxy Nexus, which is an especially nice phone. Google has now decided to cancel all the SIMs in that test program.

I make very few phone calls these days, but I use the smartphone heavily for email, Google Reader, internet browsing, and so on, including some work-related functions. My dojo's Google Voice number currently forward to the smartphone.

I would like to stop carrying two phones.

I could get an Android phone on Credo, but this has two drawbacks. One, I'd have to pay for a new phone; two, it would have a bunch of carrier-added junk on it. The Galaxy Nexus has what's called the pure Android experience on it; just the OS, no crap added by a carrier. I would like to continue using it, so I'm currently planning to port my Credo number to T-Mobile. (The Galaxy Nexus is a GSM phone but I cannot for the life of me remember whether it is unlocked or locked to T-Mobile.)

Picking a cell phone plan is pure hell. For one thing, it's difficult to pay for just what you want (smallish number of talk minutes, at least 2GB of data/month). For another, T-Mobile does things like set up two or three different pages of plans, while giving you no way to directly compare them. (See this page, this page, and this page, for example.) You're stuck making your own spreadsheet.

I only found one of the pages above because a T-Mobile rep sent it to me on a chat window. I asked whether T-Mobile provides any way to provide the various plans, and the rep apologetically said no. I replied that I'd either make up my own spreadsheet or stick with Credo - not that I can easily compare Credo's plans with T-Mobiles, of course.

Robert le Diable at the ROH

The Royal Opera House has revived Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, a work that hadn't been performed in that storied theater in 122 years. (The Met hasn't staged it since 1884!) Critical reaction has been mixed:
General background:
But why depend on critics? Judge for yourself, by listening to Robert on BBC 3. The recording is available for several more days.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Personnel Matters

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been famous for its brass section for a good long time. Now the CSO has a problem in that brass section, as a recently-published article in the Chicago Reader makes clear: Critics in Chicago and NY have noticed that principal horn Dale Clevenger's playing isn't what it used to be. John von Rhein, Lawrence Johnson, and Andrew Patner in Chicago, and Steve Smith in NY, have all remarked on this in published reviews. Andrew Patner is quoted extensively in the Reader article.

Clevenger is a legendary player who has held his position for 44 years; he is now 69 years old. If you click through and read the Reader article and the comments to the article, you'll see that the CSO has several problems on its hands.
  • Clevenger's playing
  • Clevenger's behavior toward women, if the allegations in the comments are true
  • Clevenger's unwillingness to step down
  • Muti's unwillingness to follow the contractually-mandated process for removing Clevenger from his position
This is a sad situation all around. Knowing when it's time to quit takes a particular kind of grace; a musician has to be attuned to his or her own weaknesses, has to have the humility to listen to others, and has to be willing to call it a day. There's an old saw about quitting before people are saying it's time, when they want you to hang around for a while longer.

In San Francisco, Glenn Fischthal stepped down voluntarily several years ago as principal trumpet, finishing his career at SFS as associate principal, because he felt his skills were not what they had been. He retired at the end of the 2011-12 season because he had developed aura migraines. Now, that's grace.

It seems Dale Clevenger thinks he can recover his former skill. Any professional musicians want to weigh in on the likelihood of this? I am doubtful, given Clevenger's age (69) and the exacting demands and known difficulties of the horn.

Further, if Clevenger is a serial harasser of women, he's creating what's known legally as a hostile working environment. Should women joining the orchestra or who are already members have to deal with this? It's the job of the CSO's management to make sure its employees behave themselves.

As for Muti and other conductors: if you're not willing to deal in a forthright manner with players' declining skills, perhaps permanent guest conductor is a better job for you than Music Director. It's tough, but that's what you get paid the big bucks for.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ravi Shankar

The great Indian musician, master of the sitar, has died at 92, in San Diego. He did an enormous amount to bring Indian classical music to Westerners.

Carter 104

Elliott Cook Carter, Jr., gone but not forgotten. He would have been 104 today.

Here's an excerpt from his gorgeous flute concerto, performed by Emmanuel Pahud and the Berlin Philharmonic:

Lisa della Casa

And Lisa della Casa, Swiss soprano and noted beauty, has died at 93. She is most closely associated with the works of Strauss and Mozart. Here she is with Wolfgang Windgassen in an uncharacteristic bit of repertory. She sounds utterly gorgeous, even in the wrong language.

Galina Vishnevskaya

The great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya has died, age 86. Here she is, nearly 60 years ago, in a Rachmaninov song ("Do not grieve").

Monday, December 10, 2012

Charles Rosen

Pianist and intellectual Charles Rosen died yesterday, age 85, at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. That's as it should be: he was the quintessential New Yorker, and died across Central Park from the Upper West Side apartment where he lived for most of his life. It was his parents' apartment before him, and presumably he inherited it from them.

I have a few Rosen anecdotes, but first, the important stuff. Rosen was an extremely smart man, learned in many fields. I assume he was best known to the general public as a pianist, where he had quite a pedigree, as a student of Moriz Rosenthal, himself a Liszt and Mikuli pupil. Rosen's Ph.D., though, was in French, and he taught university-level French at MIT and Harvard.

He was a fine pianist, recording a fair amount of the core classical-era repertory and known especially for his Beethoven. For me, his most significant work as a pianist was as a champion of the music of Elliott Carter and other modernist and 20th c. composers. Among other things, he was one of four co-commissioners of Carter's Night Fantasies, an exceptionally important work in Carter's oeuvre, which Rosen recorded.

Rosen also published a number of books about music, though he said many times - once within my hearing - that he never took music classes when he was in school. Some musical scholars looked on Rosen's books with suspicion, though I believe over time they came to be more accepted with the academy. He was a tireless writer of articles on a range of subjects, many of them published the New York Review of Books.

Rosen taught music at Stony Brook when I was a grad student. Enough of my contemporaries wanted to grow up to do criticism (as opposed to musicology - see the writings of Treitler and Kerman on this subject, from the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s) that I felt somewhat out of place in the student body, as someone who was interested in manuscript studies and transcriptions. I never did take a class with Rosen, and I can't remember anything about how others liked him as a teacher.

I encountered Rosen a couple of times in the last decade. There was a concert of the late Beethoven sonatas that had its good and bad points, complete with a polemical talk on a number of subject. (I think I might be closer to Rich Scheinin's views today.) There was his participation in Reactions to the Record 2 at Stanford in 2009. He performed the Brahms/Handel Variations there rather clangorously; one pianist friend simply left the hall before he played. It would be fair to say that toward the end of his life, his piano skills weren't what they had once been. And during one talk, he was rather contentious, to put it politely, in disagreeing with one prominent scholar, whom I'd swear knew more about the subject at hand then he did.

In retrospect, I'm rather pleased with my two direct interactions with him at that conference. Joe Horowitz played a spectacular-sounding, and spectacularly self-indugent, 1930s Stokowski recording of some Beethoven, and Rosen was visibly shocked when I said that yes, I did like the performance, though I wouldn't want my Beethoven like that every day. And I asked him to sign my copy of The Music of Elliott Carter, where it joined the signatures of Ursula Oppens and the Pacifica Quartet. He initially demurred, but I insisted, and as he signed, he looked happy to have been asked.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Zellberbach Hall

Photo: UC Berkeley Facilities

Okay, after two orchestral concerts at Zellerbach in the last few weeks, I'm convinced that it is the deadest, most acoustically dull space I have ever been in. The orchestras in question? Berkeley Symphony, sounding very, very good under Joana Carneiro, and the Philharmonia, under none other than Esa-Pekka Salonen.

It's as though the sound stops right at the edge of the proscenium. You can see the players moving, you can hear something, but the sound is flat; there's no reverberation, no feedback, nothing.

I don't love the sound at Davies, where a big orchestra sometimes makes the hall sound congested, but at least there's a physical sense of the sound coming at you and having impact. At Zellberbach? It's like the sound is hauling itself through a thick layer of cotton, or maybe mud.

I know that Zellerbach has a fancy Meyer sound system, and also that SFO is planning to use one in their planned 350-seat theater in the Veterans Building. I am extremely curious what Zellerbach sounds like without it.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Compare & Contrast 23: Pandora at SFS

Mark Volkert (Credit: SFS)

San Francisco Symphony performed a work by one of its own this week, Mark Volkert's Pandora, for string orchestra. I didn't get there - I would have been more motivated if I had given a damn about seeing Til Eulenspiegel or the "Emperor" Concerto - but almost everybody else did. Herewith links to various opinions:
  • Joshua Kosman, Chron ("wonderful new opus...boasts a wealth of ingenious surprises")
  • Richard Scheinin, Mercury-News (an extremely positive review, but difficult to excerpt)
  • Jeff Dunn, SFCV ("two ear-grabbing themes, energized passage work, and a satisfying, rock-solid structure")
  • John Marcher, A Beast in a Jungle ("engaging, accessible, yet challenging")
  • Kalimac ("shrieking and screeching;" "sounds like warmed-over modernist crap")
No link, but Janos Gereben told me in email that he was delighted by the piece, and mentioned Bartokian moments. A friend is making me a tape from the eventual broadcast, and I'm looking forward to hearing it. I do not expect to wind up in Kalimac's camp.

For the record, since two writers got this wrong, Mark Volkert is one of two Assistant Concertmasters of SFS; the other is Jeremy Constant. Nadya Tichman is the Associate Concertmaster (and was Acting Concertmaster for several years before Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik was hired). I have heard each of these violinists in the first chair and they are all terrific. You can read all about the first violin section on the SFS web site.

Melchior Talk: Sources & Playlist

I'm only about six weeks late in posting this: the record sources and playlist for my talk on Lauritz Melchior. They're after the jump.

Opening in April

Juan, an entertaining-looking film version of a possibly recognizable work, with an excellent cast. Check out the NSFW trailer.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tosca, SF Opera

Patricia Racette as Tosca (SF Opera Photo)

To Tosca last week, with Racette, Jagde, Delavan/Luisotti. I had a subscription ticket to see Gheorghiu,  and swapped for Racette even before the show opened. You can see why in one of the interviews I read with the two sopranos: Gheorghiu loves singing Tosca because the character is Gheroghiu. Racette loves singing Tosca because she is such a different personality to explore.

Well, Gheorghiu seems to do the diva thing, or her idea of the diva thing, even in concert, from what I hear. That's not so interesting.

The staging this time around, again by Jose Maria Condemi, was far better than last time. So was the conducting and so was the drama; Nicola Luisotti kept things moving along nicely, and while there were no revelations, I also didn't want to kick him. To the extent that there was any slumping, my sense was that he was being good to Brian Jagde, who needed some help, or he was keeping the volume down a bit.

Brian Jagde. SIGH. According to Racette, the late Salvatore Licitra was originally in the cast. He died in September, 2011, and Jagde must have been swapped in before the January, 2012 season announcement. Along the way, he also picked up some Cavaradossis in Santa Fe, after the tenor there dropped out.

He needs a lot more seasoning before he will be a good Mario. "Recondita Armonia" was square rather than liquid; he had power but no bloom at the top and went out of tune all too often. Ugh. He was better in the more conversational scenes, but "E lucevan le stelle," which got off to a nice introspective start, lay right on his vocal break. You could say that I'm sorry that he's in as Pinkerton in the summer, 2014, run of Butterfly, especially with an otherwise admirable cast headed by Patricia Racette, who is a great Cio-Cio-San. I know who I would have liked to have as Cavaradossi in this run, but unfortunately he was in Los Angeles singing Pinkerton.

Mark Delavan was a whole lot better than the last time I saw him, making an impressively slimey and sadistic Scarpia. I still think his voice is too soft-grained, without much squillo, but whatever. He was fine.

Racette is, indeed, a little underpowered for Tosca, but sounded really good 98% of the time. The other 2%, well, I worry about her: there is more flapping on sustained high forte notes than three years ago in Trittico. But otherwise all was well vocally, with beautiful tone and a fine Italianate line. Dramatically, she was a wonderful Tosca, tremendously appealing, human, complex, changeable, a delicious flirt, jealous but not too jealous, fiercely brave in her act II confrontation with Scarpia. Oh, and very sexy: she looks fantastic in a black wig, with her beautiful skin and the particular makeup she was wearing. She was certainly the most convincing Tosca I've seen; I can't help but think that all those other sopranos trying to put her across as a tigress are missing the boat: she comes across as a caricature, not a human.

On balance, then, a satisfying evening.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Jonathan Harvey

The English composer, whose work I have not heard before, died today at 73. Listening to some of his music on the web, I am tremendously sorry, and hope to hear some of these beautiful pieces in concert.

Dave Brubeck

The great pianist has died at 91. If you think you don't know his music, you're probably wrong:


Sacred & Profane 2012-13 Season

Sacred & Profane Chamber Chorus's season brochure arrived in the mail this week, and unlike last year's, which was printed in light red 8 point type on glossy paper, I can read this year's. (Note to S&P: if someone sends you email about an issue like this, you should answer it. People are more likely to come to your concerts if they can read the season brochure.)

It's a beautiful season with a ton of interesting and rarely-performed music, with an overall theme of Music of Transcendence. The first program focuses on music by Pärt, Tavener, and Górecki; the second on music from the Jewish Tradition; the third, on Scandinavian composers.

A huge draw, for me, is the Requiem of the Icelandic composer Jon Leifs.

Full season after the cut, copied and pasted from the chorus's web site. As for most small choruses, ticket prices are low; $22 at the door, $18 in advance; $15 for students.

I Suspect That a Marketing Person Wrote This.

Found on the Berkeley Symphony web site, in their description of tomorrow's program of Mattingly, Ligeti, and Schumann:
In contrast to the rhythmical Piano Concerto, Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 is both passionate and exuberant.
You don't say. Did you notice that "rhythmical" is a word that could be applied to almost every piece of music?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

SFO Season Announcement: Other Coverage

I'm not the only person with a few things to say about this:

Public Service Announcement

Don't leave purses and other objects on the floor where somebody might trip on them.

Monday, December 03, 2012

SF Opera 2013-14, or Wall-to-Wall Racette

Here's the story, in brief:
  • Mefistofele, Boito (Racette, Abdrazokov, Vargas/Luisotti)
  • Dolores Claiborne, Picker (Biller, Zajick, Futral/Monahan)
  • Falstaff, Verdi (Terfel, Arteta, Arwady, Demuro, Rapier, Stober, Capitanucci, Silvestrelli/Luisotti)
  • Flying Dutchman, Wagner (Grimsley, Schnitzer, Storey, Sigmundsson/Summers)
  • Barber of Seville, Rossini (Meacham/Iversen, Leonard/Mack, Camerena/Shrader, Corbelli/Muraro, Silvestrelli, Cook; Finzi)
  • Show Boat, Kern (Stober, Racette, Robinson, Gunn, Simpson/DeMain)
  • Madama Butterfly, Puccini (Racette, Jagde, DeShong, Mulligan/Luisotti)
  • La Traviata, Verdi (Yoncheva/Perez, Pirgu/Costello, Stoyanov/Kelsey, Luisotti/Finzi)
A few things that should jump out at you:
  • Patricia Racette in four roles in three operas
  • Heidi Stober in two substantial leads
  • Andrea Silvestrelli a bit underused as Don Basilio and Pistola
About Racette. As I said during the Q&A, I love Pat more than just about anyone not named Beth Clayton, but WTF? Okay, I didn't put it that way. It turns out that Butterfly was originally something else that turned out to be too expensive, so they swapped it out for Butterfly. I vaguely got the idea that having her sing Julie in Show Boat is....a bit of an aside for her? A sweetener for taking away [nameless postponed opera]? Mefistofele is certainly off the beaten track.

Someone else asked about Britten, and, yes, they did think about doing Britten during his centenary, but. I think this must have been another case of "we need to sell tickets, soooo...."

I also asked about the recent performances of arias from Il Corsaro, and David Gockley said that no, they're not planning Corsaro, but they are planning a different, rarely-done early Verdi opera for a future season.

During his introductory remarks, Gockley was explicit about this: that the need to keep the company on a decent financial footing has been paramount during the ongoing recession. His priority has been to keep quality high while sacrificing repertory. He said that he is leaving repertory holes, and he knows it, that he hopes will be filled by his white knight successor. During the chit chat after the press conference, I told him that this had pre-emptively answered my planned question about whether we'd be seeing From the House of the Dead and Die Frau ohne Schatten, because....both are very expensive to stage and risky as far as ticket sales go.

The Wilsey Center project next door is proceeding; this will given the company shop space nearby as well as a 350-seat theater for chamber opera and other productions suitable for a small theater. (See recent programs for lots of info about the Wilsey Center plans.) The Indiana St. property where shops are currently housed is in contract to be sold. The funds from that sale will pay back the endowment, from which money was borrowed to fund several years of planned deficits.

There's another commission in the works, to a favorite Italian composer of Luisotti's, Marco Tuttino. His opera will be based on Alberto Moravia's Two Women, which was made into a film by Carlo Ponti. Tuttino has already written around 15 stage works (operas or musicals).

Mefistofele will be the company's Robert Carsen production, which had been sold to Turin. We tracked it down and bought it back. We are collaborating with the Met to restore it; they will use it in a future production.

Show Boat will be done in grand opera style, with white and black choruses, white and black dancers, and so on. It cannot be done this way on Broadway because of the economics. I believe we were also promised that it would not be amplified ("not dependent on mikes stuck down their throats").

They're finishing up the process of getting all labor contracts aligned for media purposes; only the stagehands' contract needs to be negotiated before they can have regional & international cinema presentations, streaming media, DVDs, and other. The next ballpark simulcast will be during the summer of 2014.

Tobias Picker, J.D. McClatchy, Dolora Zajick, Elizabeth Futral, Susannah Biller, and James Robinson were all on hand for a nice discussion of Dolores Claiborne and performances of an aria and a trio. I rather liked the music and what they had to say; looking forward to the performances.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Reading Material

Alex Ross, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Ethan Iverson
Herbst Theater, San Francisco, April, 2010

Stuff you should read:

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Tax Subsidies to Business

The NY Times is starting what looks like a strong series of articles about tax incentives, subsidies, and rebates to private businesses, and the comparatively small payback in jobs and other public benefits. The next time you hear someone complaining about government social programs that directly benefit individual citizens who need help, show them this series about the high cost of corporate welfare.

Another Chance to See Melody Moore

If you're willing to stand, that is: I just heard that Angela Gheorghiu has withdrawn from tonight's performance on account of flu. The performance is sold out; there are tickets available for tomorrow's 2 p.m. matinee with Patricia Racette.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Balance Exercises Class

I'm teaching a simple balance exercises class next month and have two spaces open in it. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Studio 12 (next door to Berkeley Tool Lending Library)
Sawtooth Building
8th St. at Dwight Way
$20 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Let me know if you'd like to attend. No special equipment required.

Found in the Obits

In the obituary for guitarist Mickey Baker:

In the early 1960s, he moved to France, first to Paris and later to Toulouse, and he rarely returned to the United States.
He studied composition and theory with the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, among other teachers, and experimented on his own, playing and writing in a variety of forms, including classical music; he wrote a series of fugues and inventions for guitar and a concerto, “The Blues Suite,” for guitar and orchestra.
An opera buff, he built a personal collection of record albums that numbered more than 200,000, his daughter, Heath Kern Gibson, said.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maybe They'll Get It Right This Time

Third time's a charm (we hope): Avery Fisher Hall to get yet another makeover.

NYPO is already thinking about where they might perform during the two years the hall is unavailable. New York State Theater? Park Avenue Armory?

Carnegie Hall?

Some high school auditoriums?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grawemeyer to van der Aa

Michel van der Aa wins the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Musical Composition, for his Up-Close, which evidently hasn't been played in the US yet. Has it been recorded?

WQXR's Q2 branch sends a weekly newletter, and this week they say that van der Aa is the second consecutive Dutch composer to win this prize. Oh, people, please copy-edit and fact-check these statements a little more carefully. Here are the last three winners:

2013 - Michel van der Aa
2012 - Esa-Pekka Salonen
2011 - Louis Andriessen

I know why this happened; the Grawemeyer web page lists winners from 2011 backwards and apparently hasn't updated to include Salonen's prize. But that means Q2 didn't notice the gap from 2011 to 2013.

Update: Fixed typo in the 2011 winner's name; h/t Zwölftöner for catching the error. See the comments for other interesting remarks. Also, Q2's story has been corrected on line.

Social Media Stupidity

As I'm sure you have all noticed, not all organizations are clued in about how to use social media effectively. San Francisco Opera has an eye-roller today on its Facebook page: a photo of martial arts great Bruce Lee and the following text:
This day in 1940 Bruce Lee was born. We can't help considering the incomparable martial arts star as part of our opera family. He was born right here in San Francisco while his father--Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen--was on tour.
For heaven's sake. Could the connection be more tenuous? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tanglewood 2013

I have the BSO's press release for Tanglewood 2013 in hand. More details later this week, but here are a few items of interest.

  • Women don't conduct at Tanglewood.
  • Women don't appear as soloists, either. Oh wait, there's Anne Sophie von Otter, and there's BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe. And Christine Schaffer. And Erin Wall and Audra MacDonald. Okay, lots of stuff you can't do without women singing!
  • Women don't write music that's performed at Tanglewood. The contemporary music festival will focus on five composers, four of whom are living, one of whom is recently deceased, all of whom are male.
Honestly, the long parade of male names is pretty appalling. 

The King of Nerds

Nate Silver, the King of Nerds, came to Nerdistan today; he's signing copies of The Signal and the Noise in the photo above. I wish we'd had an even bigger tech talk room for him, because the room was completely filled and into videoconferencing overflow by 15 minutes before the talk. His book also sold out, though I think there is some way for me to order a discounted copy.

He didn't exactly give a talk; he answered questions from Googlers and from chief economist Hal Varian, who moderated. Nobody asked for Nate's hand in marriage, which surprised me a bit. He discussed bias in polls, and among other things said that Rasumussen's model for making money apparently includes being Republican leaning, while Gallup is just doing things wrong in various ways.  I hope this event will go up on YouTube (probably it will).

Here are a few choice quotations, as best I caught them:
It's an honor for me to be here, because you're just about the smartest company around as far as using data and statistics.
Five thirty eight is about making journalism smarter.
The food in the NY Times cafeteria is not as good as the food in the Google cafeterias.
There was a point where Gingrich looked pike he might be the candidate and that is where he became a pinata for the other candidates. Obama vs Gingrich would not have gotten a better outcome for the Republicans.
He also said at some point that it's problem for the Republicans that they are now the anti-empiricist party.

Rolling Jubilee

Want to help out Americans in need?

Rolling Jubilee buys up debt at debt-collector rates, five cents on the dollar....and then forgives the debt. Even $5 or $10 helps. Take a look and donate what you can.

Isaiah Sheffer

Isaiah Sheffer, founder and guiding light of Symphony Space, died earlier this month; his NY Times obit is here. There's a memorial on December 17, 5-7 p.m. at, yes, Symphony Space.

Symphony Space is home to all sorts of musical performances, and of course the annual reading of Ulysses. In the days before it became positively trendy to perform in unusual locations, Symphony Space must have looked like a huge gamble.

Rest in peace; Symphony Space lives on and prospers, the best possible memorial.

The Dialogue

You can see the responses to the save-classical-music Invitation to a Dialogue in the NY Times here. As I predicted, there is nothing new or unexpected in the responses. I wish that just one person had questioned the whole notion that classical music is dying. Yes, some institutions are in a bad way because of bad management and the recession, but remember: a few years ago, Alex Ross counted 50 new music ensembles in NYC, where in the 1970s there had been 2. 

To the guy who apparently stopped attending classical concerts because of one stupid question from a fellow audience member, come to San Francisco Symphony, where khakis and a polo shirt will make you more formally dressed than about half the audience. If you like the music, buy tickets, ignore the dopes, and enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Much to be Thankful For

For my excellent partner and our happy, peaceful, home; our creatures (as horrible as they sometimes are); for work I like and care about at an endlessly fascinating company; for Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu and my students, who are coming to class and don't seem to care that I'm short, fat, and creaky; for those of you who read me and those of you I read; for Patrick for our endlessly interesting and amusing correspondence; for MTT & SFS (and especially the incredibly centenary season); for SF Opera and the great singers who've appeared there; for John Adams and Mark Adamo; for GRRM, P.C. Hodgell, and Hilary Mantel; for Anthony Trollope and Robertson Davies; for Paul Krugman, Nate Silver, Barack Obama (and the team that got the president re-elected); for Janos Gereben and Joshua Kosman; for Carpana Antico, Hendricks, and the Balvanie; for so much more.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


H/T Intermezzo for the pointer to this possibly-recognizable tune:

Wouldn't you know? Marc-Andre Hamelin has also recorded Isoldina.


JDD in Concert and on Record

Joyce DiDonato is giving a concert tonight at Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, and how I wish I could be there, given her stellar performance in I Capuleti and her jaw-dropping virtuosity at the Flicka Gala a year ago.

If you can't be there, consider picking up a copy of Drama Queens, a juicy and satisfying CD of arias from sundry Baroque operas, some by composers you've never heard of. She is just wonderful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marianne Cherkasskaya

My icon here and there is a Russian soprano named Marianne Cherkasskaya. I got the image from eBay I don't know how many years ago.

Cherkasskaya made some recordings, I've found! Here they are. She's good.

From Ruslan:

 From Queen of Spades:

Invitation to a Dialogue?


The NY Times has a more or less weekly feature called Invitation to a Dialogue. They pick out a letter to the editor on some subject of interest and invite interested readers to respond; the original letter writer then gets to write a response to the responses.

This week, former Met Opera Orchestra violinist Les Dreyer, who gets letters published in the Times with remarkably frequency, has a letter discussing how to save classical music.

Well, it's not even clear to me that classical music needs saving. I won't say much about why, but I've written about the subject plenty over the years. Mr. Dreyer doesn't come close to defining all of the issues and problems facing classical music. After all, you could write a book about this - and indeed, a few people have or are trying to (hi, Greg!).

I can't imagine the resulting letters will saying anything that hasn't been said at great length and with more detail than we've already seen in the last few years.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Elections, Vote Suppression, and Vote "Fraud"

Some months ago, I asked a knowledgable friend about resources related to voting issues such as vote suppression and vote fraud. He suggested the following:
  • Rick Hasen, The Voting Wars
  • Andrew Gumbel, Steal This Vote
  • Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote
  • Joseph Harris, Election Administration in the United States, possibly available at the Federal Elections Commission's web site
  • Web search on the names John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, academic advocates for more restrictions on voting
Hoping to get to them by 2016.....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Carter Obituaries & Blog Postings

There'll be more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let Me Count the Ways 2

No, actually, the goofs are uncountable in this "review" of Philharmonia Baroque at the Mondavi Center in Davis. Megan Ihnen, whom I follow on Twitter, pointed us to it, terming it the worst review ever.

She might be right. The "reviewer" thinks you use sticks on a bassoon - maybe in some 20th c. piece, but not in Beethoven, you don't - confuses "base" with "bass," doesn't know what a fortepiano is (I bet the program notes said something about this...), and thinks Nic McGegan referred to Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto as a Baroque work. I, uh, can't imagine circumstances in which Nic would say such a thing.

If you ever find yourself wondering why it's important that music critics know something about music, just re-read this travesty.

You Be the Judge.

Hot and cold running Toscas, from San Francisco Opera:

I feel sure you can tell which is which, even with your eyes closed.

Anti-Abortion Laws Kill Adult Women

Terrifying and tragic story from Ireland: a woman in the midst of miscarriage, 17 weeks into her pregnancy, was denied a swift termination of the pregnancy and died several days later of septicemia.

That's right, she was miscarrying, but the doctors would not perform an abortion, which would have saved her life.

I'm linking above to a blog at the Irish Times. There've been protests and vigils both in and outside Ireland. The Indian ambassador to Ireland is going to pay a call on the Irish PM: this is turning into an international incident, because Savita Halappanavar was an Indian citizen.

It is a disgrace, a criminal act. When you hear the phrase "war on women," think of Savita Halappanavar's death.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Drama at the War Memorial

Act II of tonight's opening Tosca was delayed when Angela Gheorghiu was taken ill and went to the hospital. Melody Moore stepped in and, according to a tweet from Richard Scheinin, burned the house down in Act II.

Can't wait to see the reviews and am rather sorry I turned down a review opportunity!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Change of Name

The SF Opera Future Seasons page is a little more general now, given some interesting information found on Stefan Margita's web site.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Revenge of the Nerds

One thing about the election season just past: the nerds got it right. Andy Tanenbaum at, Nate Silver at the Times, Sam Wang at Princeton, and Scott Elliott at all the nailed or came close to nailing the electoral vote.

That's because these guys looked hard at the numbers and weren't swayed by ideology. Andy and Nate are left-leaning, Scott is right-leaning, don't know about Sam. But out there, as Frank Rich points out, most of the Republican party was living in Fantasyland, where the polls were all skewed and their feelings, or desire, that Romney would win were facts. No, they're not, and it turns out that the Romney campaign drank the Kool-Aid on this, unskewing public and their own polls to match "reality." They were surprised that Romney lost, despite months of polling data showing him behind Obama.

Next time around, I suggest paying attention to the facts, not your daydreams.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Early SF Opera Announcement

The season announcement for 2013-14 is scheduled for Monday, December 3. The last few years, it's always been in mid/late January. No idea why it's been pushed up. Also, there's a press conference. The last two or three years, we've gotten a press release, and that's it.

Here's what we know already, based on singer and conductor bios, blabbing, overheard in the house, etc:
  • Flying Dutchman; Patrick Summers conducts, Greer Grimsley in the title role.
  • Falstaff, Bryn Terfel in the title role. Assume Luisotti is conducting.
  • Dolores Claibourne by Tobias Picker; announced by the company for the fall.
  • Show Boat
If it's an eight or nine opera season, I wonder what else is on the schedule. They've cycled through most of the major Mozart operas in the last few years and just about all of the Puccini. Something unusual in the way of Verdi? What about Corsaro?

Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking

The inevitable "how did Romney and the Republicans lose" articles are being published, and there's lots of speculation about it. Here's what I think.

  • Romney blew off half the electorate as unimportant mooches.
  • Ryan wants to privatize Medicare and Social Security. These are unpopular views with people over the age of 65, many of whom are deeply dependent on those programs.
  • Romney's tax returns. Yep, I'd love to know what's in them.
  • Romney had no plan.
  • Aiken, Mourdock, and other Republicans pooh-poohing rape in various ways pissed off an awful lot of women.
  • Perhaps people are coming to realize that cutting taxes doesn't do much for the economy.
  • Yeah, pissing off a growing demographic such as Latinos isn't a good idea either.
  • Mitt Romney is a tough guy to get enthused about.
  • Urbanized liberals will continue being able to outvote rural conservatives. There are more of us.
I love that some analysts are saying the Republicans need to be even more conservative. Nope. Not gonna work.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Now That THAT'S Over....!

It's not much of a surprise to me that and (a right-leaning poll analysis site) went down for the count early on. Andy Tannenbaum had posted that was getting a thousand queries per second and he was trying to keep the servers up, but....The bigger surprise is that the NY Times's servers fell over a couple of times during the evening. I would have thought 1) that they would have done accurate projections of demand and 2) lined up enough server capacity.

Apparently not. I wasn't the only person I know who lost touch with the Times occasionally.

If I were trying to keep a site up during brief periods of extremely high demand, I'd go with a provider that could rapidly release capacity to me. Practically speaking, I think that probably means Amazon's web/cloud services or Google Cloud Services or maybe MSFT Azure. I've heard that it's not hard to get applications running on App Engine. And goodness knows - we have, uh, CAPACITY.

Hitting Refresh

It's that time of the decade, and one can only hope that the election will be decided tonight, and not in a recount or the courts. It was all over by 8:30 in 2008, of course.

I'll be in jujitsu class from 8 to 9:30 tonight, which will be good for me, unless my students don't show up. In the meantime, here are the sites I'm watching.

  •, but it has not refreshed in the last 10 minutes, and I'm thinking Andy Tannenbaum may have underestimated how much additional server capacity he would need tonight. He reported 1,000 QPS an hour ago, after all. Update: He is reporting that the servers are totally overloaded. "I am not giving up, but I'm not hopeful."
  • NY Times live update page, where they've already called Indiana and Kentucky for Romney (duh) and Vermont for Obama
  • Google Election Results page
Don't worry too much about the early returns from Florida. It's a big state and has a history of messy elections.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Yep, go vote tomorrow, if you haven't already!

And if you are of my political persuasion, note the following:


You can't live forever, but I thought Elliott Carter just might. Alas, bowing to the inevitable, the great composer died today at 103, just a few weeks short of his 104rd birthday.

In recent years, I was lucky enough to hear the Pacifica Quartet play all of his string quartets in one astounding program, Ursula Oppens play (almost) the complete piano music the next day, Elizabeth Rowe and the BSO in his gorgeous Flute Concerto, and the premier of a wind piece in NYC. Mr. Carter, frail but still lively - and still composing - was at that program.

Mr. Carter may be gone, but there's more of his music to come: his page at Boosey & Hawkes mentions a premier at the Seattle Symphony in 2013.

There's a ton of Carter on YouTube; listen to Night Fantasies or the Piano Sonata or the Flute Concerto or anything else, and hoist a drink to a life well lived.

Chora Nova Fall Concert: Handel and Hummel

Chora Nova, with which I sang for several years between 2006 and 2011, has a great program coming up. A Hummel mass?? When did you last see one of those programmed? Of interest to all lovers of choral music and the transition from the classical to romantic periods.

Handel and Hummel

  • Handel:
    • Choruses from Solomon:
      • "Your harps and cymbals sound"
      • May no rash intruder disturb their soft hours"
      • "From the censer curling rise"
    • Te Deum for Queen Caroline
    • Zadok the Priest
  • Hummel:
    • Mass in D Minor


  • Jennifer Paulino, soprano
  • Christina Santschi, mezzo-soprano
  • Danielle Reutter-Harrah, alto
  • Mark Bonney, tenor
  • Paul Murray, bass

Details (NOTE 7 p.m. start time):

7PM Saturday, November 17, 2012

First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley

Corner of Dana & Channing

First Presbyterian is diagonally across Dana & Channing from First Congo.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

San Francisco Opera Open House, November 10, 2012

Here's an event that looks like great fun. I would go if it weren't for The Tempest in the morning and Wozzeck in the evening:

With Music Director Nicola Luisotti, soprano Melody Moore, tenor Brian Jagde and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Saturday, November 10, 10:30am–2:30pm
War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Avenue

JUST ANNOUNCED: Register today and be entered in a drawing to win complimentary tickets to the production of your choice! Choose between:
Join us for this unique experience to view onstage technical and musical demonstrations, participate in fun family activities and a screening of Carmen for Families—The Movie! and explore the historic War Memorial Opera House. Additionally, at the Open House, attendees can enter to win an exclusive same-day backstage tour! 

"As we celebrate San Francisco Opera's 90th Season, we invite everyone to the historic War Memorial Opera House for our free Community Open House. This anniversary is a testament to the extraordinary talents of all of the artists and individuals onstage and behind the scenes who have contributed to this Company's storied history, as well as a testament to this community's passion and support for the operatic art form. Please join us as we showcase the many facets of this great opera company and this beautiful opera house."

–General Director David Gockley

For more information and an activity schedule, please visit our Community Open House webpage. 

Melchior in Context

As Axel Feldheim discusses, I gave a talk to the Wagner Society of Northern California yesterday. Big thanks to Terri Stuart and the Society for their gracious welcome and for having me as a speaker; the talk was great fun to research and give. I'll get my playlist and sources posted later today. Suffice it to say, I came with about two hours of music in a giant playlist and we didn't get through it all. If I were doing it over, I might have fewer tenors in the first couple of numbers. In general, I'd go for more variety.

I can't post the whole talk because, while I had several pages written out, I also inserted a long section on the question of how Wagner should be sung right at the beginning, and that was delivered extemporaneously, based on some rough notes from my research.

I learned a few interesting things while putting the talk together, one of which I only realized fully in the middle of the talk itself.

I discussed something close to a dozen singers, all of whom were retired from staged opera by 1950 at the latest. Melchior's last stage performance was a Lohengrin in 1950 at the Met; Rudolf Bing gave him and Helen Traubel the boot that year. The circumstances remain, to me, a bit murky, and could have included a general house-cleaning, Bing's dislike of Wagner, Melchior's dislike of rehearsal, Melchior's age (he was 60 and not exactly a dashing figure at that point), and various other issues. In any event, Melchior concertized through the 50s and perhaps into the 60s; Traubel didn't sing much opera after that, as far as I know. The Corsican Cesar Vezzani retired as a result of ill health in 1948 and lived a few more years.

A few things really struck me.

Several of these tenors came from poor or working-class families and didn't have much formal education. Walter Widdop, the fine English tenor, left school at 12 to work in the mills, and didn't become a professional singer until age 30. Paul Franz and one of the other singers were railroad workers. Franz was also a late starter, again at age 30. Wealthy patrons played a role in the careers of several of the singers. So becoming an opera singer provided some economic and social mobility for these tenors.

Could that possibly happen today? We do not abound in wealthy people looking for poor singers to sponsor; since the 19th c. opera has been reframed, especially in the US, as an elite or aspirational art form, rather than an everyday form of entertainment. Youth who are thinking about music are far more likely to buy a guitar, which you can learn on your own, than to think about opera singing.

I was also struck by the trajectory of some of these careers. While Miguel Fleta burned out early and died young, and Isidoro Fagoaga fled the opera world under odd circumstances, the balance of the singers had long and distinguished careers of 25 to 40 years. That does not seem to be the norm these days, when 20 to 30 years is more typical. And these were singers in the most strenuous and difficult tenor repertory.

I was surprised by the fact that several made their debuts after just a couple of years of study, and several made their debuts at 25 or younger as Lohengrin. Few professional singers get on stage these days with so little formal study or in a helden role.

Also interesting: except for Melchior, who after a certain point sang Wagner 95% of the time, all of these singers sang a wide variety of German, French, and Italian music. The French tenors and the Russian Ivan Ershov had particularly wide repertories.

I had to wonder about at least one of the tracks I played. The Slezak recording of "Nothung! Nothung! Neidlisches Schwert!" has two serious flaws: significant blasting and distortion, and Slezak sings some obviously wrong notes. He was an enormously prolific recording artist. Why did this ever get released???

Lastly, Cesar Vezzani sang all over the French-speaking countries and North Africa, it seems, from the liner notes to the Marston sets, in houses I've never heard of. I would love to know if these houses had full opera seasons (like the Paris Opera or Opera Comique or Met) or whether he was singing at the equivalent of West Bay Opera and Festival Opera. Or was there just a much larger operatic ecology than now?

Friday, November 02, 2012

This Weekend and Next

There's a lot going, and what on earth will I get to?

November 2-4, Cal Performances and Other Minds put on Nancarrow at 100, three days of performances and talks about Conlon Nancarrow. You'll get to hear some of his famous player piano works, and more. Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Pacific Film Archive are the venues.

November 2 and 4, Euouae sings Ockeghem. Tickets in advance required. The Requiem of Johannes Ockeghem (15th c.), the oldest surviving musical setting of the Mass for the Dead, will be presented by the six voice Medieval vocal ensemble Euouae (Sven Edward Olbash, director) in a special All Souls Day performance on Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at The National Shrine of St. Francis and in an intimate candlelight concert at San Francisco's Swedenborgian Church on Sunday, November 4th, 2012 at 7:00 pm (note early start time).  Advance tickets required, available from  For more information, visit


Ockeghem: Requiem
Brumel: Lux aeterna
Du Caurroy: Psaumes
Josquin: Nymphes des bois
Chant from the Laon manuscript 


Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 8:00 pm
National Shrine of St Francis
610 Vallejo
San Francisco

Sunday, November 4th, 2012 at 7:00 pm (note early start time)
Swedenborgian Church
2107 Lyon
San Francisco
November 9-11, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Three concerts: Salonen, Berlioz, Beethoven; Berg's Wozzeck; Mahler's 9th. All at Zellerbach, plus there's a composer portrait discussion of E-PS. Goldstar has tickets to these programs for $20.