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.

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