Wednesday, May 21, 2014

London Blogging Update

No postings because no keyboard: I cannot get the Chromebook recharged, for reasons unknown. Dual-voltage device? Check. Correct plug converter? Check. Working outlet? Check.

I am writing this on my tablet using the Blogger Android app. If it's not too painful, I will try to post reviews in the next couple of days.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 1: Travel

Up early on Thursday, 5/15, to finish packing and run errands, then take my mother to a birthday lunch. Left for the airport around 3:15 p.m., arrived by 4, checked in, and had a long wait. The flight was much faster than I expected, by maybe 45 minutes, but was also more jammed than I expected. I will be investigating options for more seat room for the return flight.

The flight attendant ran out of the beef stew dinner just as they as they got to me; the chicken teriyaki was pretty darned bland. The alleged breakfast served toward the end of the flight was inedibly awful; a granola bar, blueberry muffin, and orange juice. Thank goodness for the cashews!

Cleared customs, then bought a SIM for my phone and fumbled with it for a while, because the Vodaphone SIM is a nanoSIM with an adaptor for larger slots. Well, it works! And I will have to buy a pile of data, no surprise considering how much I'll be using the map functions.

Taking the Heathrow Express and a cab made luggage handling easier than taking the Tube but was a good deal more expensive, and the cab from Paddington to Liverpool St. Station (more or less) was slooooow.

The apartment is as advertised and very comfortable, except for the mattress, which is bad. Also, it's a non-smoking apartment, but there are tobacco smells here and there, perhaps creeping in from downstairs or outside?

Walked over to dinner with Zerbinetta and Finn (Where's Runnicles), then to Gawain.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Colorado Symphony's Cannabis Concerts

Ahaha: The Colorado Symphony is attempting to hold some bring-your-own-dope fund-raising concerts, which they are calling "Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series," which has evidently made them the butt of many jokes.

Okay, remember, with a series name like that, they want to be laughed at. And I did.

I also more or less rolled on the floor when I read an article called "Pass the Bong, and Tune Up the Berlioz" in the Times. H/T Will Robin for the link, on Twitter, where I couldn't see the article title; suffice it to say that Symphonie Fantastique was my first thought as well as that of NYPO Music Director Alan Gilbert.

But keep reading: it's local favorite John Coolidge Adams who put me on the floor. (Everybody has to start calling him that now, really, with John Luther Adams achieving well-earned fame.) @Helltweet rawks, is all I can say.

Jane Hirshfield Settings by Mark Winges, Peninsula Women's Chorus

 If you're on the Peninsula this weekend or next, the Peninsula Women's Chorus is performing "Heart-Spells," by composer Mark Winges to texts by poet Jane Hirshfield. I've known Jane for decades; I also know Mark and his music and was happy to hear of this collaboration.


 Saturday, May 10, 2014 4:00 p.m.
 Sunday, May 18, 2014 4:00 p.m.
 St Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto

 Info & tix:

Unto the Earth also features selections by American composers Stephen Paulus, Ron Jeffers, and Brian Holmes, as well as an original composition honoring the African American spiritual tradition.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Cal Bach & New Esterhazy Quartet

The New Esterhazy Quartet and the California Bach Society are performing this weekend, together and, for New Esterhazy, separately; a long weekend for the quartet! Here are the details, alas, later than I'd planned to post them.

Cal Bach and the New Esterhazy Quartet in 
Mozart and Haydn Rediscovered

Misericordias Domini, K. 222             Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart    (1756-1791)
Eripe me, Domine, MH 481                            Johann Michael Haydn           (1737-1806)
Christus factus est, MH 38                                                                             
Salve Regina, Hob. XXIIIb:2                           Franz Joseph Haydn               (1732-1809)
Ave, Regina coelorum, MH 140                      Johann Michael Haydn
String Quartet in Bb Major, Op. 2 No. 6         Franz Joseph Haydn
Missa Brevis in F, K. 192                               Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Part songs, Hob. XXVc                                   Franz Joseph Haydn
Die Harmonie in der Ehe
Der Greis 
Abendlied zu Gott
Der Augenblick
Die Beredsamkeit

Friday, May 2, 2014, 8pm, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell Street at Franklin, San Francisco
Friday only, complimentary for ticket holders:
Pre-concert talk at 7:25 pm, beer & wine tasting pre-concert and during intermission. Doors open at 7:15 for this. See page 2.
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 8pm, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church
555 Waverley Street at Hamilton, Palo Alto
Sunday, May 4, 2014, 4pm, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2300 Bancroft Way at Ellsworth, Berkeley
Doors open at 7.15 on Friday; at 7.30 on Saturday; at 3.30 on Sunday.
Tickets: $30 (discounts for advance purchase, seniors, students, and under 30)
(If this program looks at all familiar to you, well, check this out.)

New Esterhazy Quartet: Vienna in the 17th  and 18th Centuries
Works by Haydn, Bertali, Schmelzer, Fux, Ordoñez, Gassmann, and Albrechtsberger.
Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 4 pm, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church,
1111 O'Farrell Street (at Franklin), San Francisco, 94109
Sunday, May 4, 2014, at 7.30 pm, All Saints’ Episcopal Church,
555 Waverley Street (at Hamilton), Palo Alto, 94301
please note: this is an evening concert!
Tickets are $25 (discounts for seniors and students)
Divertimento in B-Flat Major Op. 2 No. 6      Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Ouverture in g minor K. 355                          Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741)
Sonata à 4 'Fechtschule'                                 Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (ca. 1620-1680)
Sonata in d à 4                                               Antonio Bertali (1605-1669)
Arie con la Mattacina                                       Schmelzer
String Quartet in e minor No. 3                       Florien Gassmann (1729-1774)
String Quartet in B-b Major Op. 1 No. 5        Karl von Ordóñez (1734-1786)
String Quartet in E-Flat Major Op. 9 No. 2    Joseph Haydn

Yoncheva Withdraws from San Francisco Traviata and Boheme

Breaking from San Francisco Opera:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 2, 2014)—San Francisco Opera today announced casting changes for upcoming presentations of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. Soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who was scheduled to appear as Violetta Valéry in six performances of La Traviata this summer and as Mimì in seven performances of La Bohème this fall, has withdrawn from the productions because she is expecting a baby. 

American soprano Nicole Cabell, a winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition who recently made her Company debut to great acclaim in I Capuleti e i  Montecchi, will replace Ms. Yoncheva as Violetta in the June 2014 performances of La Traviata opposite Saimir Pirgu and Stephen Costello (Alfredo Germont) and Vladimir Stoyanov (Giorgio Germont).  Greek soprano Alexia Voulgaridou will make her San Francisco Opera debut as Mimì in the November/December 2014 performances of La Bohème that were to have starred Yoncheva opposite Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo.

Sonya Yoncheva stated: “I am very sorry to be unable to participate in La Traviata with San Francisco Opera due to my pregnancy. My doctor has strictly forbidden me to travel on long-distance flights, and for this reason I feel obliged to withdraw from this production. I regret that my participation in the November/December 2014 production of La Bohème must also be cancelled, as I expect to deliver my baby in October. I wish all the best to my colleagues in San Francisco for these upcoming shows and hope to work together on a future project.”

Additional cast changes for this summer’s La Traviata and this fall’s La Bohème are also announced:  Tenor Daniel Montenegro replaces Pene Pati in the role of Gastone for all performances of La Traviata and baritone and current Adler Fellow Hadleigh Adams will sing the role of Schaunard, replacing Adler Fellow Philippe Sly, in all performances of La Bohème.
Best wishes to Ms. Yoncheva for a boringly normal pregnancy from here out, with a lovely healthy baby in her arms at the end of the process! 

Those little changes at the end: Daniel Montenegro for Pene Pati is to be expected, as Pati is off to be a star in New Zealand. I wonder what's up with Adams swapping in for Sly, though, since they are both Adler Fellows and both excellent singers.