Monday, November 19, 2018


Found in a NY Philharmonic press release:

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla To Make New York Philharmonic DebutDvořák’s Cello Concerto, with Gautier Capuçon
Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
Sibelius’s Lemminkainen and the Maidens of the Island
January 3–5, 2019

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will make her New York Philharmonic debut conducting Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, with Gautier Capuçon as soloist; Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2; and Sibelius’s Lemminkainen and the Maidens of the Island, Thursday, January 3, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 4 at 11:00 a.m.; and Saturday, January 5 at 8:00 p.m. 

That's a couple of weeks before the SFS engagement that MGT cancelled a few weeks back. I wonder which of the following is correct:

1. The NY Phil is about to be surprised.
2. The five-hour flight from Birmingham (or London, or wherever she lives in the UK) to NYC is less of a problem than the ten-hour flight to San Francisco.

It's undoubtedly the second: her calendar shows concerts this month and next with the CBSO, followed by the NY Phil programs, followed by a blank, followed by concerts at the Elbphilharmonie.

Le sigh.

Museum Mondays

Winged Victory of Samothrace
The Louvre, Paris, October, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

International Orange Chorale Concert

The International Orange Chorale has an interesting program coming up!

From their web site:
Save the date for our third Freshly Squeezed concert series! Freshly Squeezed is a regular feature of IOCSF's concert schedule in which our programs focus on newly written (world or area premiere) choral music from upcoming choral composers. This season's program will feature pieces by Stacy Garrop, Nathan Hall, Gordon Hamilton, Bo Holten, Frank LaRocca, Jonathan Posthuma, Mike Roberts, Mike Sheppard, Patricia Van Ness, and IOCSF's 2018 Composer-in-Residence, Mari Esabel Valverde.
I understand that one of these works is about the computer scientist Alan Turing!

Two dates and locations; both concerts are at 7:30 p.m.:

Saturday, Dec 8, 7:30pm
Christ Church, 2138 Cedar St, Berkeley

Saturday, Dec 15, 7:30pm
St. Mark's, 1111 O'Farrell St, SF

Free, but donations are appreciated.

Museum Mondays (Belatedly)

From the exhibit "The Birth of Gothic Sculpture"
Musee National du Moyen Age
Paris, October, 2018

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Daniels Out

Received from San Francisco Opera (as predicted), and put pretty bluntly to make it obvious what happened here:


SAN FRANCISCO (November 8, 2018)—San Francisco Opera today announced it is removing countertenor David Daniels from the role of Medoro in the Company’s June 2019 presentation of Handel’s Orlando. The decision to part ways with Mr. Daniels, for business and professional reasons, was reached after considerable deliberation given the serious allegations of sexual assault, an on-going police investigation and a lawsuit filed against the American opera singer. While these situations remain under investigation, San Francisco Opera is unable to present the artist on the War Memorial Opera House stage.

The Company will announce a replacement for the role of Medoro at a later date.

# # #

For further press information, visit sfopera.com/press.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Museum Monday: From Beginning to End

Whoever set up the Italian Renaissance paintings section of the Louvre has a sense of humor.

Detail, Madonna of the Rocks
John the Baptist as an infant,
with his mother, St. Elizabeth
Painting by Leonardo da Vinci
(Photo by me)

St. John the Baptist
This painting is to the left of the Madonna of the Rocks.
It's by Leonardo da Vinci also.
(Official Louvre Photo)

This painting is to the right of the Madonna of the Rocks.
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist
Painted by Bernardino Luini
(Photo by me)

Something you can also see from these photos: it's not hard to get up close and personal with the Leonardo paintings that are not the World's Most Famous European Painting, which you can't within about 12 feet of.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Accessible Programs

I go to a lot of concerts, and I see a lot of programs.

Most programs are utilitarian, which is fine by me: they use black type on white paper, and the type is a readable size (hint: 11 points or bigger). (Click the photos below to enlarge them.)

For example, Bayreuth Festival, 2015, from the Lohengrin program:

I don't much like the fact that the two sections have different ledding (the space between the lines), and I don't love the font, but it's readable.

Here's a photo of the program for San Francisco Opera's recent Cav and Pag:

Again, I don't love the font; there are better-looking sans serif fonts, and the point size could be a tiny bit bigger, but it's readable.

Sometimes SFO runs off the rails, however. This is the director's note to Roberto Devereux:

The body type is black, but it's printed against a beige background that is imposed over a photo of the set, so the effect is that it's black type over constantly shifting blocks of background color, and the blocks are often curved, so sentences are printed over two different colors.

This is really a pain to read.

And here is what Shotgun Players is giving audiences at Women Laughing Alone with Salad, which I was tweeting about three minutes later:

Yes, that is white type on an acid-green background. For the love of God, don't do this to your  audiences! The lack of contrast makes this very very difficult to read. I basically threw the program against the wall - well, returned it to the stack of programs, because the theater staff isn't responsible for this thing.

There are standards for accessible contrast; they are easy to find on line; program designers should keep in mind that audiences (meaning donors) are disproportionately older. Some of us, regardless of age, have lousy eyesight along one axis or another; some of us are legally blind. Please don't make it hard for us to read the programs. Use black type in a large-enough point size on a white background.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday Photo

At the graves of Hector Berlioz, Harriet Smithson, and Marie Recio

I got a smile when I told the florist that the single rose I'd bought was for Berlioz.

Soulève ta paupière close
Qu'effleure un songe virginal;
Je suis le spectre d'une rose
Que tu portais hier au bal.
Tu me pris, encore emperlée
Des pleurs d'argent, de l'arrosoir,
Et parmi la fête étoilée
Tu me promenas tout le soir.

O toi qui de ma mort fus cause,
Sans que tu puisses le chasser,
Toutes les nuits mon spectre rose
A ton chevet viendra danser.
Mais ne crains rien, je ne réclame
Ni messe ni De profundis:
Ce léger parfum est mon âme,
Et j'arrive du paradis.

Mon destin fut digne d'envie:
Et pour avoir un sort si beau,
Plus d'un aurait donné sa vie,
Car sur ton sein j'ai mon tombeau,
Et sur l'albâtre où je repose
Un poëte avec un baiser
Écrivit: Ci-git une rose,
Que tous les rois vont jalouser.

-- Theophile Gautier

Thursday, November 01, 2018

News from Merola

Weird, I don't seem to have a press release about this: Merola Opera has announced some additional details about their upcoming commission, the first in the program's history.

The new work will be by Jake Heggie, libretto by Gene Scheer (that's not new). New to me: the work will be called If I Were You, "loosely based" on the French novel Si j'etais vous.

Newly announced: Nicole Paiement will conduct!! She is a great conductor, the artistic director of Opera Parallele, and principal guest conductor of Dallas Opera. (I hope she'll conduct at San Francisco Opera one of these days.)