Because of a combination of factors, especially including my Sunday afternoon jujitsu classes, my concert attendance was spotty this year. I missed many programs I would have liked to see, especially of choral music and at Cal Performances. If only I could drag myself to SF on more Friday nights!
Still, I saw more than a few highly memorable programs and performances. In no particular order:
- Pacifica Quartet with Marc-Andre Hamelin, in Shostakovich, Ornstein, Dvorak
- Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Metropolitan Opera
- Christine Goerke's Dyer's Wife in Frau. OMGoerke! as Steve Smith put it.
- Charles Dutoit's Poulenc/Berlioz program at SFS
- Les Noces, with the amazing Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble, MTT conducting, at SFS
- Semyon Bychkov's War Requiem at SFS
- Alexander Quartet's Britten
- Pablo Heras-Casado leading excerpts from Thomas Ades's The Tempest, at SFS
- David Robertson's Carter/Ravel/Gershwin program at SFS, with the mighty Marc-Andre Hamelin in two, two, two piano concertos. Or one-and-a-half, depending on how you count the Ravel Piano Concerto for Left Hand.
- Dolores Claiborne at San Francisco Opera; a gripping work, not to mention...
- ...Patricia Racette saved the day and entered operatic history by learning the difficult title role of Dolores in three weeks.
Then there were the musical lowlights:
- Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, about which plenty of ink has been spilled
- Nicola Luisotti's dreadful conducting in Cosi fan tutte
- The demise of New York City Opera, following years of terrible decisions by its board of directors
- The ongoing destruction of the Minnesota Orchestra by its management and board
Just plain sad:
- The death of Bill Bennett, SFS's principal oboist, who collapsed on stage while performing the Strauss oboe concert and died several days later
- And the loss of many others over the course of the year