Elektra

Elektra

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

O heilige Götter!


Closing scene of Die Walküre
Greer Grimsley (Wotan), Iréne Theorin (Brünnhilde)
Photo: Corey Weaver / San Francisco Opera


My review of San Francisco Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen is now posted at San Francisco Classical Voice. I haven't re-read it yet; I did some editing this morning around 6 a.m. and, as always, I have doubts.

Covering four operas in one review is tough. I took a tack I usually don't, with some comparisons to the 2011 bring up. I think this is reasonable, especially since, overall, the company fielded a much better cast than in 2011. Still, I had to omit so much detail!

In addition, I have some thoughts that really aren't appropriate for a review, though they're fine for a blog post. For this cycle, I decided to sit in my subscription seats up the in Dress Circle, rather than in the Orchestra with the rest of the press corps. This had the advantage of giving me a great view of the stage and better sound than you get from the usual seats, where you can hear the echo off the audience-left wall and from which it is difficult to judge orchestral balances and orchestra/singer balances.

Those were the gains. The loss was in being pretty far from the action versus sitting in the orchestra. Even with binoculars, I felt somewhat removed from the drama, especially since the last time I saw the Ring, I was in about row 6 of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. That was intimate, and, yeah, I missed that.

That said, I'm pretty darned happy with what I saw and heard in the opera house. Donald Runnicles has the orchestra playing fabulously well, and there's a lot of terrific singing. I should really have managed an "Iréne Theorin saves the day" statement someplace in my review. It's amazing to me that she could come into this production on a month's notice, arriving after that, and learn the staging so fast, then give such a wonderful performance. San Francisco Opera is very, very lucky that she was available and willing to step in.

It's not too late to get tickets, although they will probably be expensive tickets; the less-expensive seats undoubtedly sold out a while ago. This is a good production, and it would be hard to assemble a better cast and conductor.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Museum Mondays


Sound and Light Artwork
Museum of Art & Design
NYC, February 2018

I kind of hated this exhibit, which seemed like it was mostly a bunch of visual artists figuring out what musicians know 50 years ago. It was sonically really unpleasant (LOUD) and probably seemed way better to visual artists than to musicians and composers.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Concert Dress Rears Its Ugly Head Again

This time, it's not even about what female recitalist should wear. Instead, it's about an issue I would have thought was settled long ago: what female orchestral players wear.

In today's NY Times, Michael Cooper reports that NY Philharmonic's female players, who make up nearly 50% of the orchestra, must wear long dresses. They can't wear pants. Here's what Cooper writes, putting this in perspective:
And they’re required to: The Philharmonic, alone among the nations’s 20 largest orchestras, does not allow women to wear pants for formal evening concerts.
That's right: women at every other big orchestra in the country have more attire flexibility than those at the NYPO. There are discussions currently going on between the orchestra members and the administrators.

It's honestly amazing that the Phil is so far behind the times. On the one hand, they'd like to appeal to new, younger audience members. On the other, Deborah Borda says this:
But [Borda] noted that it could be difficult to find a broadly acceptable solution, agreeing on clothes that are comfortable but still dressy enough to give a sense of occasion; pleasing longtime patrons, who tend to be conservative in their tastes and have indicated in research surveys that they like things as they are; and finding new outfits that can stand the test of time. 
GIVE ME A BREAK. How many "longtime patrons" would even notice if women were wearing long black pants instead of long black dresses or skirts???

I'm also marveling that the LAPhil only caught up on this issue in their last contract.

The most comfortable musicians in the world are those in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus pit: when they came out for a curtain call at a performance I saw in 2015, they were all wearing short sleeved button-down shirts or t-shirts and whatever comfortable pants they wanted to wear. They can do this because you never see them during the performance, owing to the cowl over the pit and the placement of the pit under the stage.

Of course, no one thinks professional orchestra should play concerts in t-shirts and jeans, and I don't even think many people feel that uniform dress is necessary for women. I did once see a professional, but visible, pit orchestra play in black pants and black turtlenecks, a variant of the Steve Jobs  uniform that managed to look very nice.

I suggest that the NYPO have a nice talk with any orchestra that allows women to wear pans to see whether this has been at all disruptive, or resulted in a loss of ticket sales and donations. I bet I know what the answers will be. I also think that maybe Deborah Borda should wear a long black dress or skirt to work on every day the orchestra performs. That'll give her a sense of why this should change.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Dream Cast

I was thinking the other day about the known fact that Donald Runnicles is under contract to conduct something at San Francisco Opera in the next couple of years, on beyond this month's Ring performances. (Matthew Shilvock said this in public! He's a good source.)

Whatever could it be?

Well, it's Runnicles, so very likely it's something large scale and German. We are not going to have a Troyens revival in the near future.

Big German operas we haven't had for a while: Tristan und Isolde (12 years), Parsifal (18 years), Die Frau ohne Schatten (29 years!). Rosenkavalier also, but....

I got to thinking about my Parsifal dream-cast-of-the-moment:

Gurnemanz - Stephen Milling
Parsifal - Stuart Skelton
Amfortas - Peter Mattei
Kundry - Christine Goerke
Klingsor - Brian Mulligan, or maybe Richard Paul Fink

Hmm. You could create good Tristan and Frau casts from the above, too.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Luisi to Dallas

Fabio Luisi
Barbara Luisi Photograph


Fabio Luisi will succeed Jaap van Zweden as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony. Luisi is best-known in the US as Principal Conductor of the Met, a position he assumed when James Levine's health kept him off the podium for an extended period of time. (You would have thought this would put him in first place to succeed Levine, but no.) He is Music Director Designate for 2018-19 and become MD in 2019-20.

And, from the press release, here is something I dislike intensely:
Best known to American audiences for his acclaimed work as Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera and guest engagements with leading U.S. orchestras, Fabio Luisi currently holds three key European positions: Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, General Music Director of the Zurich Opera, and Music Director of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. His previous orchestral posts include tenures as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, and Musical Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He is also Music Director of the summer “Festival della Valle d’Itria” in Italy’s Martina Franca.
It'll be interesting to see whether he resigns from any of his current jobs, which include two festivals, an orchestra, and an opera company. I repeat what I have said before: this kind of multiple appointment situation basically suppresses a lot of talented people and keeps them out of good jobs.

Updated list of openings, etc.:
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: currently looking owing to departure of Charles Dutoit
  • Orchestre National de Lyon: open now, with Leonard Slatkin's departure
  • Opera North: open now, with Aleksandr Markovic's departure
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis: 2017 is Stephen Lord's final season as MD
  • Teatro Regio Turin: Open now with departure of Gianandrea Noseda 
  • Minnesota Opera: Michael Christie leaves this year 
  • Sao Paulo Symphony: Marin Alsop leaves at some point
  • BBC Philharmonic when Juanjo Mena leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Berkeley Symphony, when Joana Carneiro leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Washington National Opera, departure of Philippe Auguin at conclusion of 2017-18 
  • San Francisco Opera, departure of Nicola Luisotti at conclusion of 2017-18
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which Leonard Slatkin leaves at the close of the 2017-18 season.
  • MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony: 2018 departure for Kristian Jarvi
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra: 2018 departure for Robin Ticciati
  • Toronto SO: 2018 departure for Peter Oundjian
  • Winnipeg SO: 2018 departure for Alexander Mickelthwate
  • Orchestre de Paris, when Daniel Harding leaves at the end of 2018-19
  • Sarasota Orchestra after Anu Tali  leaves at the end of 2018-2019
  • Melbourne Symphony: Sir Andrew Davis leaves at the end of 2019 
  • Ulster Orchestra: Rafael Payare leaves in 2019
  • Richmond Symphony: Steven Smith leaves in 2019 
  • Singapore Symphony: 2019 departure for Lan Shui
  • Dresden Philharmonic: 2019 departure for Michael Sanderling
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra: David Robertson will be leaving the SSO at the end of 2019. So he really will be without an orchestral home as of 1/1/2020.
  • San Francisco Symphony! when MTT leaves at the end of 2019-20
  • Montreal Symphony Orchestra: Kent Nagano is leaving the OSM after 2019-2020. 
  • Fort Worth Symphony: Miguel Harth-Bedoya leaves in 2020 
  • Royal Opera, when Antonio Pappano leaves in 2020
  • Opera de Paris, when Philippe Jordan leaves in 2020
  • Atlanta Symphony, when Robert Spano leaves in 2020
  • Virginia Symphony: JoAnn Falletta leaves in 2020
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales when Thomas Søndergård leaves for his new job
  • Milwaukee Symphony
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
Conductors looking for jobs (that is, as of the near future, or now, they do not have a posting):
  • Lionel Bringuier
  • Robert Spano
  • Juanjo Mena
  • Antonio Pappano
  • Ludovic Morlot
  • Sian Edwards
  • Jun Markl
  • Ingo Metzmacher
  • Jac van Steen
  • Mark Wigglesworth
  • Simone Young 
  • David Robertson
  • Peter Oundjian as of the end of 2017-18
  • Philippe Auguin
  • Kwame Ryan
  • Ilan Volkov
  • Aleksandr Markovic
  • Lothar Koenigs
  • Henrik Nanasi
And closed:
  • Dallas Symphony: Fabio Luisi assumes the position of Music Director in 2019-20. He has an initial five-year contract.
  • Orchestra of St. Luke's: Bernard Labadie starts with the 2018-2019 season 
  • Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra: Thomas Zehetmair starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • BBC Concert Orchestra: Bramwell Tovey started in 2018 
  • Toledo Symphony: Alain Trudel starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich: Paavo Jarvi starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Netherlands Radio Philharmonic: Karina Canellakis starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Sylvain Cambreling has replaced the late Sir Jeffrey Tate at the Hamburg Symphony
  • San Diego Symphony: Rafael Payare starts in 2019 
  • Yomiuri Nippon Symphony: Sebastian Weigle starts in April 2019
  • Vienna RSO: Marin Alsop starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Elim Chan becomes chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony in 2019-20
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Jaime Martin starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège: Gergely Madaras starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Kent Nagano is now the Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper in Hamburg
  • WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne: Cristian Măcelaru starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Israel Philharmonic: Lahav Shani starts with the 2020-2021 season 
  • Bayerische Staatsoper when Vladimir Jurowski joins in 2021.
  • Vienna Symphony: Andrés Orozco-Estrada starts with the 2021-2022 season
  • Clarinetist Martin Frøst becomes chief conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in 2019 when Thomas Dausgaard leaves for Seattle.Thomas Zehetmair is going to the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 2019
  • Matthias Bamert is going to the Sapporo Symphony in 2018 
  • Lorenzo Viotti was named music director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, as of 2018
  • Joana Mallwitz appointed GMD in Nuremberg, effective 2018
  • Philippe Jordan to the Vienna Staatsoper / VPO (Dominique Meyer not planning to appoint a WSO MD; his contract expires in 2020.)
  • Semyon! Bychkov! fills the vacancy at the Czech Philharmonic, following the death of Jiří Bělohlávek
  • Dennis Russell Davies becomes music director of the Brno Philharmonic, which had been open since 2015, as of the 2018-19 season.
  • Nicola Luisotti becoming an assistant music director at the Teatro Real, Madrid, 2018.
  • Seattle Symphony, where Thomas Dausgaard will succeed Ludovic Morlot in 2018-19; announced early October, 2016
  • Vancouver Symphony; Otto Tausk comes on in 2018

Museum Mondays


Assyrian sculpture detail
Metropolitan Museum of Art
March, 2018

Friday, June 01, 2018

No Yuja

I did not report about this at the time, but a few months ago, Yuja Wang cancelled several west coast recitals. Her plans then were to reschedule the recitals, but now comes the announcement that she is unable to do so. The two press releases I have so quote her as follows:
I have been working hard to find a date in the next few months to play my postponed recitals in Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Costa Mesa but I’m sorry to tell my fans that it is simply impossible. I have been given strict instructions by my doctors that I’m trying very hard to follow to ensure that I remain healthy. I thank you all for your support and kindness and I am already working on returning to you all with a recital program as soon as I am able.
I've heard from SF and LA; I'm not on the press mailing lists for the other venues.

SF Symphony (Great Performers) is offering the following options to ticketholders:
The following options are available for those who purchased tickets to the May 6 recital:
·         Exchange your tickets for any remaining San Francisco Symphony concert in the 2018-19 Season; for any 2018 Summer with the Symphony performance; or for MTT Conducts Pianist Yuja Wang and Appalachian Spring September 13-16, 2018.·         Exchange your tickets for a gift certificate, which can be used at any time.·         Donate your tickets, and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value.·         Receive a refund for the value of the ticket.For assistance, please contact the San Francisco Symphony Box Office by phone at 415-864-6000, email at patronservices@sfsymphony.org, or in person at the Box Office located at 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA.
The LA Phil is offering refunds only.

Wishing the best of health to Ms. Wang, of course.

Friday Photo


Blossoms
Laurel District
March, 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dry Land at Shotgun Players


Martha Brigham (Amy) and Grace Ng (Ester)
Shotgun Players Dry Land
Photography by Ben Krantz Studio


My partner and I have been enthusiastic subscribers to Shotgun Players for the last several years, ever since their remarkable traversal of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of plays about mid-19th c. Russian revolutionaries. This week, we saw their current production, Ruby Rae Spiegel's Dry Land. It's a gripping play, featuring two young women swimmers on the verge of adulthood, about to graduate from high school and go on to....what?

Spiegel was just 21 when she wrote Dry Land, and she has a superb ear for dialog; her young women -- and their friends -- are very real, as is the predicament that one of them is in. Martha Brigham, as Amy, and Grace Ng, as Ester, give remarkable performances, as does Don Wood, in a role where he has almost nothing to say.

I highly recommend this play and, really, everything Shotgun is doing (so far, this year has been excellent). You can read about Dry Land and buy tickets here; you can use the code tellafriend to get a two-for-one discount on tickets, too.

Diane Zola Joins the Met

Diane Zola, who is currently at the Houston Grand Opera, succeeds Robert Trattray, who died a couple of months ago, as Metropolitan Opera assistant general manager for artistic operations. She will be in charge of planning, scheduling, and casting, from what I read. 

No press release in my inbox or on the Met web site, so expect more details.


Interim Leadership at Cal Performances

Matias Tarnopolsky is departing soon for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and today Cal Performances announced interim leadership. There's nothing in the press release about a search committee (but there has to be one) or the timeline for finding a successor to Tarnopolsky. The 2018-19 season has already been announced, and it's a safe bet that much of the planning for 2019-20 is already done.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ today announced the appointment of S. Shariq Yosufzai, a vice chair of Cal Performances’ Board of Trustees, as interim executive director of Cal Performances, effective June 15. Reporting to the Chancellor, Mr. Yosufzai assumes the leadership of Cal Performances from Matías Tarnopolsky, who departs this summer after a distinguished nine-year tenure, to serve as president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rob Bailis, Cal Performances associate director, will serve as interim artistic director, and will be a senior member of Mr. Yosufzai’s team. The Chancellor will lead the search for the next permanent director of Cal Performances in collaboration with Cal Performances Board of Trustees co-chairs Susan L. Graham and Helen Meyer. 
The balance of the press release is after the cut.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

About that Sunday, June 24, SF Opera Götterdämmerung Performance

I'm looking at SFO's Ring Festival Guide, a handy brochure that's packed full of practical information about attending operas at the War Memorial Opera House.

The last two pages are taken up with "Getting to the Opera House," definitely useful if you're an out-of-towner. There is a tiny, tiny note as follows at the bottom of page 8:
Shuttle is not available for the Cycle 2 Götterdämmerung on Sunday, June 24.
Oh, dear.

The shuttle in question is the Chariot shuttle that does pickup at Civic Center BART and dropoff at the Opera House before performances, reversing that after performances.

The note is...incomplete. The reason the shuttle won't be available is that Civic Center Plaza and a couple of blocks around its circumference will be completely impassable on Sunday afternoon, June 24, because about a half-million people will be crammed in there celebrating GLBTIA Pride Day.

Everybody at SFO, gay or straight, is aware of this, because there is always a performance on Pride Sunday. Perhaps the mob scene should be discreetly noted on this page in the brochure? If you're on foot, you need to allow 20 extra minutes, maybe more, to get to the opera house.

It is true that SFO does send out email a couple of days before Pride Sunday to known ticketholders, so that'll help, but I'm in favor of heavy documentation, so I'd put it in the brochure....and in the Siegfried program, as an insert. Yeah, half the audience will faint because they're worried that Irene Theorin or Daniel Brenna is sick, but they'll recover.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Joana Carneiro Announces Departure From Berkeley Symphony

"Intention to step down" means "stepping down," more or less now. Here's what I have of the press release, care of a friend, because I haven't received it yet:
*Joana Carneiro announces her intent to step down as Music Director of Berkeley Symphony after nine seasons.*
Joana Carneiro, whose adventurous artistic vision and leadership has garnered both critical acclaim and audience praise, has announced that she will step down as Berkeley Symphony’s music director as of the end of the 2017-2018 season and after nine seasons at its artistic helm. Carneiro will stay on as Music Director Emerita. 
A committee has been formed to seek the next Music Director and to determine the best approach for the future of Berkeley Symphony. 
Guest conductors Ming Luke, Jonathon Heyward, Christopher Rountree, and Christian Reif have been scheduled to conduct the four symphonic concerts planned for the 2018-2019 season. Full 2018-2019 season details will be forthcoming.
Between living in Portugal and her family responsibilities (birth of triplets plus a fourth baby this year), she has been absent a lot the last couple of years. Wishing her the best, of course.

When Kent Nagano stepped down, the search process took two years and eight conductors were among the finalists. I'm in favor of bringing back William Eddins, whose program was fantastic and who had the orchestra sounding the best I have ever heard it.


Current list of known openings, which I have attempted to put in chronological order. Some of these posts must have been filled, and I will research that this weekend.
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: currently looking owing to departure of Charles Dutoit
  • Orchestre National de Lyon: open now, with Leonard Slatkin's departure
  • Opera North: open now, with Aleksandr Markovic's departure
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis: 2017 is Stephen Lord's final season as MD
  • Teatro Regio Turin: Open now with departure of Gianandrea Noseda 
  • Minnesota Opera: Michael Christie leaves this year 
  • Sao Paulo Symphony: Marin Alsop leaves at some point
  • BBC Philharmonic when Juanjo Mena leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Berkeley Symphony, when Joana Carneiro leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Washington National Opera, departure of Philippe Auguin at conclusion of 2017-18 
  • San Francisco Opera, departure of Nicola Luisotti at conclusion of 2017-18
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which Leonard Slatkin leaves at the close of the 2017-18 season.
  • MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony: 2018 departure for Kristian Jarvi
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra: 2018 departure for Robin Ticciati
  • Toronto SO: 2018 departure for Peter Oundjian
  • Winnipeg SO: 2018 departure for Alexander Mickelthwate
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra (when Jaap van Zweden takes up his new post at the NYPO). Rumor heard that James Gaffigan is under consideration for this post.
  • Orchestre de Paris, when Daniel Harding leaves at the end of 2018-19
  • Sarasota Orchestra after Anu Tali  leaves at the end of 2018-2019
  • Melbourne Symphony: Sir Andrew Davis leaves at the end of 2019 
  • Ulster Orchestra: Rafael Payare leaves in 2019
  • Richmond Symphony: Steven Smith leaves in 2019 
  • Singapore Symphony: 2019 departure for Lan Shui
  • Dresden Philharmonic: 2019 departure for Michael Sanderling
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra: David Robertson will be leaving the SSO at the end of 2019. So he really will be without an orchestral home as of 1/1/2020.
  • San Francisco Symphony! when MTT leaves at the end of 2019-20
  • Montreal Symphony Orchestra: Kent Nagano is leaving the OSM after 2019-2020. 
  • Fort Worth Symphony: Miguel Harth-Bedoya leaves in 2020 
  • Royal Opera, when Antonio Pappano leaves in 2020
  • Opera de Paris, when Philippe Jordan leaves in 2020
  • Atlanta Symphony, when Robert Spano leaves in 2020
  • Virginia Symphony: JoAnn Falletta leaves in 2020
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales when Thomas Søndergård leaves for his new job
  • Milwaukee Symphony
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
Conductors looking for jobs (that is, as of the near future, or now, they do not have a posting):
  • Lionel Bringuier
  • Robert Spano
  • Juanjo Mena
  • Antonio Pappano
  • Ludovic Morlot
  • Sian Edwards
  • Jun Markl
  • Ingo Metzmacher
  • Jac van Steen
  • Mark Wigglesworth
  • Simone Young 
  • David Robertson
  • Peter Oundjian as of the end of 2017-18
  • Philippe Auguin
  • Kwame Ryan
  • Ilan Volkov
  • Aleksandr Markovic
  • Lothar Koenigs
  • Henrik Nanasi
  • Kent Nagano
  • Leonard Slatkin (73 and done with being an MD)
And closed:
  • Orchestra of St. Luke's: Bernard Labadie starts with the 2018-2019 season 
  • Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra: Thomas Zehetmair starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • BBC Concert Orchestra: Bramwell Tovey started in 2018 
  • Toledo Symphony: Alain Trudel starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich: Paavo Jarvi starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Netherlands Radio Philharmonic: Karina Canellakis starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Sylvain Cambreling has replaced the late Sir Jeffrey Tate at the Hamburg Symphony
  • San Diego Symphony: Rafael Payare starts in 2019 
  • Yomiuri Nippon Symphony: Sebastian Weigle starts in April 2019
  • Vienna RSO: Marin Alsop starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Elim Chan becomes chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony in 2019-20
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Jaime Martin starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège: Gergely Madaras starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Kent Nagano is now the Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper in Hamburg
  • WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne: Cristian Măcelaru starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Israel Philharmonic: Lahav Shani starts with the 2020-2021 season 
  • Bayerische Staatsoper when Vladimir Jurowski joins in 2021.
  • Vienna Symphony: Andrés Orozco-Estrada starts with the 2021-2022 season
  • Clarinetist Martin Frøst becomes chief conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in 2019 when Thomas Dausgaard leaves for Seattle.Thomas Zehetmair is going to the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 2019
  • Matthias Bamert is going to the Sapporo Symphony in 2018 
  • Lorenzo Viotti was named music director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, as of 2018
  • Joana Mallwitz appointed GMD in Nuremberg, effective 2018
  • Philippe Jordan to the Vienna Staatsoper / VPO (Dominique Meyer not planning to appoint a WSO MD; his contract expires in 2020.)
  • Semyon! Bychkov! fills the vacancy at the Czech Philharmonic, following the death of Jiří Bělohlávek
  • Dennis Russell Davies becomes music director of the Brno Philharmonic, which had been open since 2015, as of the 2018-19 season.
  • Nicola Luisotti becoming an assistant music director at the Teatro Real, Madrid, 2018.
  • Seattle Symphony, where Thomas Dausgaard will succeed Ludovic Morlot in 2018-19; announced early October, 2016
  • Vancouver Symphony; Otto Tausk comes on in 2018


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Giovanni Porta's Ifigenia in Aulide at Ars Minerva

Ars Minerva's next Baroque revival will be Giovanni Porta's Ifigenia in Aulide, which they'll perform on November 30 and December 1 at 7:30 at ODC Theater and in an abridged concert version on November 9th at 8 p.m. at First Congregational Church on Channing Way in Berkeley.

Tomato Tuesday 1

Intermittently tracking the progress of my tomatoes.

I'm growing tomatoes again this year. The first year I lived in this house, I dug out a big plot and grew ten plants of tomatoes, meaning I was pretty overloaded and gave away a lot. I grew tomatoes often in the 90s, but not much this century. Two years ago, I had four pots of tomatoes, all of which caught some kind of fungus or blight, barely produced, and died prematurely.

This year, I've got four pots again, and I'll see how they do. There's more sunlight where I stuck the pots - I think.


Tiny Tim
Will be very small. It's a red cherry tomato.
Mid-season, 60 days.


Defiant
Supposed to be disease-resistant.
Mid-season, 70 days.


Taxi
Early season, 65 days.
Yellow fruit.


Gold Nugget
Early season, 55 days.
Yellow cherry tomato




Monday, May 21, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Event Miscellany, Bay Area & NYC Edition

Upcoming!

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Left Coast closes the season with a program that includes the rarely-performed Schoenberg Serenade for baritone and seven players, Jemnitz's Trio for Violin, Viola, and Guitar, and Benavides's
Rinconcito for Small Ensemble (world premiere). The first performance was last night, but you can catch the second at the SF Conservatory of Music on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.

San Francisco Renaissance Voices

Their program is called "To Henry with Love From Venice," Renaissance motets and madrigals. Times & locations, in Berkeley & SF:

Sunday, May 20 - 4:00 pm - St. Clement's Episcopal, 2837 Claremont Blvd, Berkeley
CLICK HERE to buy tickets
Saturday, May 26 - 7:30 pm - Church of the Incarnation, 1750 - 29th Ave, San Francisco
CLICK HERE to buy tickets

New York City Opera Festival

I managed to MISS posting about the first half of this exciting festival of works old and new, but here's what they have coming up in the next several weeks, with links:
 
May 25Center for Contemporary Opera presents Backwards from Winter
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, Upper Level, New York, NY 10025

May 27SIGN & SING and American Opera Projects premiere five short operas based on The Dinner Party 
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

May TBD: Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Paradigm Shifts Music and Film Festival
Location TBA

June TBA: the little OPERA theatre of ny presents the New York Premiere of This Little Light of Mine: the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price
Location TBA
 
June 1Christman Opera Company presents a double bill of Adriana McMannes with the World Premiere of A Metamorphosis
National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10001
 
June 1Opera on Tap presents New Brew Series: OOTmeal
Barbès, 376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
 
June 2New Amsterdam Opera presents La Favorita
The Center at West Park, 165 West 86th St, New York, NY 10024

June 13 and/or 14: Opera on Tap presents Hansel and Gretel: The Playground Opera
The playground at Public School 129, 425 West 130th St, New York, NY 10027
 
June 15Experiments in Opera releases Jason Cady’s Buick City, 1:00 AM
Podcast episodes available online at iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast sites
 
June 22 – 24Opera Upper West presents The Impresario
Location revealed upon ticket purchase
 
June 23 & 24The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island presents Patience
The Jeanne Rimsky Theatre at The Landmark, 232 Main St, Port Washington, NY 11050
 
June 30The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Islandpresents Patience
The Theatre at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Berkeley (Early Music) Festival & Exhibition (June 3 to 10)

I have never understood why this event omits the critical phrase "Early Music" from its name, so I have inserted it above for clarity.

As usual, the alternate-years festival has a ton of interesting concerts and master classes coming up. Not so much as usual, they're in conflict with the San Francisco Silent Movie Festival, and I will have to make DECISIONS. The Main Stage events include California Bach Society in choral works of Marc-Antoine Charpentier; soprano Christine Brandes and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock in a program called Nasty Women; the ensemble Juilliard415 (what it sounds like); Dark Horse Consort; Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensemble (folks, isn't that a little early to be specializing?); Voices of Music; Sequentia; and many other groups.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Museum Mondays


St. Sebastian


Torturer with Crossbow


Torturer with Long Bow

Bavarian National Museum, Munich
August, 2015


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jenufa, Then and Now

I'll have a full post up about Santa Fe Opera's 2019 season eventually, but one of the two most interesting-to-me productions is David Alden's Jenufa, originally done at the ENO. I don't know most of the singers, but Patricia Racette as Kostelnicka Buryjovka would be enough to get me to Santa Fe next year, and the wonderful Susanne Mentzer is Grandmother Buryjovka.

I have fond memories of Racette's San Francisco Jenufa in 2001, and earlier this week, I took a look back and found that Joshua Kosman also liked it. (SFCV's review seems to have vanished into thin air, alas.) Here's Tim Page reviewing Racette as Jenufa in the David Alden production that Santa Fe will bring up; the great Jiri Belohlavek, may he rest in piece, conducted.

My second Jenufa, after Racette's, was that of Karita Mattila, in LA in 2007, in the Olivier Tambosi production we had in SF two years ago. I didn't like Mattila nearly as much as Racette; I could not see past her glamorous and womanly presence to the young and somewhat naive Janufa. Racette's vulnerability and the sweetness she brought to the role worked beautifully and she was heartbreaking. I also liked Malin Bystrom's steel-spined and fairly bleak Jenufa, which came at the role in another possible way.

Mattila, though, was an absolutely towering Kostelnicka in SF. I'm looking forward to what Racette does with the role. It will be different in interesting and thoughtful ways, I know.

For a look back at a great Kostelnicka of the past, take a look at this hair-raising excerpt with the great Astrid Varnay; I am linking to it rather than embedding it for possible spoilage. The entire performance, from 1970 and conducted by Rafael Kublek, is also on YouTube.

The Opera Hour

Several years ago, David Gockley, former general manager of San Francisco Opera, succeeded in negotiating the return of opera to the airwaves of San Francisco. We had a few telecasts and some years of monthly radio broadcasts on KDFC of SFO productions, mostly from the previous season but with occasional blasts from the past.

Alas, this seems to be coming to an end. We will now get a monthly one-hour show with Matthew Shilvock and Bill Leuth, call The Opera Hour. At least for now, the opera broadcasts are "on hold," according to San Francisco Opera; according to KDFFC, The Opera Hour "replaces" the monthly broadcasts.

I missed the first installment, which was last Sunday, Maybe 8, at 8 p.m. - if you heard it, I'm curious to hear what it was like. It remains to be seen what shape, exactly, this show will take; previews of upcoming works on the season? Anna Netrebko and Renee Fleming's greatest hits? A little Caruso for fun?

I am not particularly a fan of KDFC or Bill Leuth; even since the station's acquisition, the programming is of the Mozart in the Morning / one movement of a symphony / lightweight variety, with barely a nod to new or very old music, and little vocal music. I can imagine that the Sunday evening opera broadcasts weren't getting much in the way of an audience, because the time was bad and during much of the year they were competing with the Met's Saturday morning (local time) broadcasts).

I'm sure Matthew Shilvock will be an engaging host, because he is unfailingly enthusiastic, knowledgable, and good in front of an audience. Bill Leuth, despite his music degrees, is a radio announcer who has to push KDFC's particular brand.

I'm also still waiting to hear whether the show takes requests....in which case, I'll be asking for some Birtwistle.

SF Opera press release after the cut.


New George Benjamin Opera on Medici.TV

I hardly ever watch opera on DVD or TV or the computer, but on Saturday, May 26, Medici TV will be streaming George Benjamin's new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence, starring Barbara Hannigan (should be enough to get you to watch!), Stephane Degout, and Gyula Orendt. The opera is based on the events in the life of King Edward II of England, his wife Isabel, and his favorite (love?) Gaveston.

It's gotten great reviews, and everyone I know who has seen Benjamin's Written on Skin thought it a great work. I am breaking my usual rules to see this.

For more information, see Medici's page about the broadcast. It's at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time, 2:30 Eastern Time.