Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Photo




At the grave of Baudelaire
Cimetiere du Montparnasse
Paris, October, 2018


Thursday, November 29, 2018

San Francisco Symphony and Musicians Approve a New Contract

Good news: the SFS board and the musicians have approved a new contract. Here's the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, November 26, 2018 —The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) announced today that the Board of Governors and Musicians of the Orchestra have approved and ratified a new 4-year collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement runs through November 26, 2022 and was reached prior to the expiration of the existing contract. The agreement guarantees musicians annual increases to minimum weekly scale and pension benefits that maintain the San Francisco Symphony’s leadership position among American orchestras.
“This agreement is an investment by musicians, board and staff in the future of one San Francisco Symphony,” said SFS President Sakurako Fisher.  “It recognizes our musicians’ incredible artistry and vital contributions to our community while also supporting the long-range financial plans adopted by the Board of Governors.  As importantly, it allows the SF Symphony to plan for future dynamic growth and impact from a position of financial strength and optimism, which can only be done together, hand in hand.”
"The Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony are pleased to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement which reaffirms our place among the top orchestras of the world,” said David Gaudry, Chair of the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee. “The contract recognizes this stature and will allow our orchestra to achieve even greater artistic heights.  We express our deep appreciation to the Board and Administration for their positive and constructive dialogue at the negotiating table, and for their willingness to take creative steps that guarantee our ability to attract and retain the best musicians performing today. This agreement lays a strong foundation for growth and continued success, and we look forward to an extremely bright future of music making in San Francisco.”
“This new agreement represents a shared vision for the future of this Orchestra,” said SFS Chief Executive Officer Mark C. Hanson. “I want to express my deep gratitude to all those who worked to collectively reach an agreement that ensures our ability to be a vibrant, forward-looking, and financially stable organization for many years to come. Our negotiations were conducted in a spirit of collaboration, mutual respect, and with a shared approach to problem solving. I want to express my thanks to Dave Gaudry and the musicians on the Committee for their constructive and focused efforts, as well as the Board of Governors and our staff negotiating team for their contributions. This agreement sets the stage for a strong future of labor stability that allows the San Francisco Symphony to focus on what we do best—enriching and serving our community with musical performances of the highest quality, industry-leading initiatives, and meaningful opportunities for engagement.”
The Orchestra’s negotiating committee was chaired by violist David Gaudry and included percussionist Tom Hemphill, flutist Linda Lukas, timpanist Edward Stephan, and violist Matthew Young. Also participating was Kale Cumings, President of Musicians’ Union Local No. 6 of the American Federation of Musicians. Susan Martin of Martin and Bonnett acted as counsel to the musicians. Negotiating for the SFS administration were Chief Executive Officer Mark C. Hanson; Director of Orchestra, Education, and Strategic Initiatives Rebecca Blum; Human Resources Director Gordon Peterson, Chief Financial Officer James Kirk, Associate Director of Executive Operations Elizabeth Shribman, and attorney F. Curt Kirschner Jr. of Jones Day. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Musical Chairs Update

Here are the latest updates:
  • BBC Philharmonic. Omer Meir Wellber is Music Director Designate, replacing Juanjo Mena.
  • Washington National Opera. Evan Rogister named Principal Conductor in September, 2018, replacing Philippe Auguin.
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Maxim Emelyanychev replaces Robin Ticciati.
  • Winnipeg SO. Daniel Raiskin replaces Alexander Mickelthwate as of 2018-19.
  • Toronto SO has signed Gustavo Gimeno, who will start in 2020, following the 2018 departure of Peter Oundjian. Sir Andrew Davis is interim Artistic Director.
  • Antonio Pappano has extended his Royal Opera contract by two years, to 2022; RO removed from the open posts list.
And here's a correction, thanks to San Francisco Opera's communications department:
  • Nicola Luisotti is now Associate Director of the Teatro Real, Madrid, not "assistant music director". My bad.
Still open:

  • 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
  • Berkeley Symphony, when Joana Carneiro leaves at the end 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
  • 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 
  • 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
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra

Monday, November 26, 2018

Casting Update: Paris Opera Les Troyens

Brandon Jovanovich is now scheduled to sing Enée in the performances of January 25, 28, and 31 and February 3, with Bryan Hymel singing the remaining performances, on February 6, 9 and 12.

This must have happened very, very recently because Jovanovich's web site hasn't caught up with it yet.


Museum Mondays

























Annunciation Statues
Musee du Moyen Age
Paris, October, 2018

It's a little hard to tell from the photos, but there's some paint still visible on these statues. Click to enlarge and maybe the paint will be visible.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Women's History Month: Women in Classical Music

I am very, very belated posting news about podcasts I heard about some months ago.

Naomi Lewin, who writes, hosts, and produces podcasts called Classics for Kids, put together some podcasts on women in classical music for Women's History Month. Here's a list of them:

Worthwhile any time of year!

Friday, November 23, 2018

No Pole in the Pearl

Mariusz Kwicien is withdrawing from the rest of the run of The Pearl Fishers at the Met, after having made it through the first act of the most recent three. Says the press release:
Alexander Birch Elliott will sing Zurga in all remaining performances of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, replacing Mariusz Kwiecien, who has withdrawn due to illness.
American baritone Alexander Birch Elliott made his Met debut earlier this season, stepping in as Zurga for the second act of the performances on November 14, 17, and 20. Other recent performances include the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Anthony in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd at Portland Opera, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Silvio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Opera Omaha, and John Brooke in Mark Adamo’s Little Women at Annapolis Opera. This season, he will sing Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at Virginia Opera and Hannah Before in Laura Kaminsky’s As One at Portland Opera.
The cast for Les Pêcheurs de Perles includes Pretty Yende and Amanda Woodbury as Leïla, Javier Camarena as Nadir, and Nicolas Testé and Raymond Aceto as Nourabad. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.
Performances of Les Pêcheurs de Perles began on November 14, 2018 and continue through December 8, 2018.

Friday Photo



Door Hardware
Paris, October, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Brooklyn Rider

On my way to the Brooklyn Rider concert at Herbst last Friday, whom should I pass at Civic Center BART, long enough to say hi but not to see what he was reading, but Joshua Kosman, on his way to Oakland for the Oakland Symphony concert?

My review is here; briefly, I liked the first half of the program, consisting of short new works for string quartet, a lot better than the second half, which consisted entirely of a half-baked performance of Beethoven's great quartet op. 132. Kalimac was there as well and wrote about it on his blog; read the comments both there and at SFCV. 

Joshua's Oakland Symphony review is here, and it's a little hard to tell whether or not he had a better time than I did, although the German Requiem is always worth hearing when decently performed.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Trip to LA

I visited LA the other week, to see Sibelius's incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest at the LA Phil, and to see Philip Glass's Satyagraha at the LA Opera. I also ate a fair amount of excellent Korean food and saw friends, sometimes at the same time.

So, worst first: somebody made some bad decisions about The Tempest. I see what they had in mind, a theatrical and musical extravaganza, but they didn't get the best of either side of the production. The orchestra, led by the wonderful Susanna Mälkki, played the incidental music in its entirety, while a troupe of actors from San Diego's Old Globe Theater performed excerpts from the play.

Bad decision no. 1: amplifying the actors. There they were, in possibly the greatest concert hall in the country, where you can hear unamplified footsteps 50 yards away, as I recall from seeing Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing on Wing at WDCH in 2007, but nobody trusted that the actors would project enough to be heard. Therefore, the actors were amplified to the extent that if they were speaking when the orchestra was playing, the actors - or actor - were louder than the 70-piece orchestra behind them.

This not only completely distorted the balances, but it was mighty tiring for the listeners, who had to adjust their ears about every three minutes, depending on whether the music was allowed to come to the fore or not. It was just awful.

Bad decision no. 2: cutting the play to ribbons. I don't know this play well, although I have seen two operas based on it. I know, I should have read it before my trip! But I didn't. The play was trimmed badly enough that it was nearly impossible to follow; see, also, the difficult of seeing a play where the voices are too damn loud and the sound comes from speakers; this really kills the sense of live theater with actors moving on a stage.

Bad decision no. 3: doing this at all. Of the three friends I spoke to about the show, two were disappointed with the acting and one more or less liked it. I'm somewhere in between; I thought the acting pretty good and the production utterly misguided. Yeah, the visuals were...mostly pretty nice. One friend thought the conception and acting of Ariel the best he had seen.

All of us were unhappy about how the orchestra was pushed to the background. I think it would have been so much better if the incidental music had been the first half of a program whose second half was, I don't know, a Sibelius or Nielsen or Aho or Rautavaara symphony.

(Alex Ross mentions the production in his New Yorker article about the LA Phil at 100. He's more measured than I am.)

Meanwhile, there was splendor to burn across the street at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where the opera presented Phelim McDermott's ENO/Met production of Satyagraha. SF Opera performed the opera back in the 1989-90 season, during my operatic hiatus. However, back when I was on the Glass beat at SFCV, I picked up the original cast recording, which I liked a lot. So I was curious to see the piece live.

Satyagraha is an idiosyncratic work; its libretto is in Sanskrit, about 900 lines from the Bhagavad Gita, and it does not relate directly to the stage action. This production, which is quite beautiful (link is to a Google Image search), doesn't supertitle the entire text, either, just suggestive excerpts. I can't imagine how the singers learn the text -- wait, actually, I can, by rote -- and it must be disconcerting to sing in a language that, let me guess, they don't understand.

In the end, though, it doesn't matter. The music is gorgeous, perhaps my favorite Glass score; it's brilliant and exciting and energetic. And it got a really fine performance all around, though I had moments of wanting to goose conductor Grant Gershon a bit in Act I, which I thought moved a little slowly.

Perhaps that was deliberate, in keeping with the production. There isn't that much incident in the opera, and as is typical of Glass, there's a lot of repetition. The singers' movements tend to be slow and ritualistic. Occasionally, the production calls unnecessary attention to itself, as when giant bands of tape are stretched slowly across the stage....for no apparent reason, to be removed by five (!) extras and performers. Other than that, I can't fault much. The final image in the production is also marvelous and very moving, with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi facing each other.

The performers were all excellent, lead by a great performance from tenor Sean Panikkar as Gandhi. If you live in the Bay Area, you might remember him from the Adler program. Well, since then, his voice has gotten bigger, darker, and more burnished; a friend who'd seen him then and now said something about an "exponential" growth in size. Maybe! I certainly took notice when he opened his mouth the first time. (He has also been working out a lot. I doubt Gandhi had pecs like that.) He sang beautifully throughout, finishing with an astonishing string of repetitions of the same phrase. He earned that standing ovation.

The rest of the cast was excellent, including So Young Park as Miss Schlesen, Erica Petrocelli as Mrs. Naidoo, J'Nai Bridges as Kasturbai, Niru Liu as Mrs. Alexander, Theo Hoffman as Mr. Kallenbach, Patrick Blackwell as Krishna, and Morris Robinson as Parsi Rustomji. A special bow of respect to the LA Opera Chorus, which had some extremely difficult music to sing and was terrific. I'm just sorry that I couldn't time this trip to see Satyagraha twice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Ken-David Masur to Milwaukee

Ken-David Masur has been appointed music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, effective in the 2019-20 season. Details are here. From the press release:
MILWAUKEE – November 12, 2018 – Following a 36-month international search, Ken-David Masur has been named the seventh Music Director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Masur is currently the associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Munich Symphony. He will begin immediately as Music Director Designate and join the MSO as Music Director for the 2019.20 season as it builds towards the much anticipated grand opening of the Milwaukee Symphony Center in fall 2020. 
“Through a committee composed of board members, donors and orchestra musicians, the search for the MSO’s seventh Music Director was deliberate and diverse, encompassing candidates from around the globe,” said Doug Hagerman, chairman of the MSO’s Music Director Search Committee. “Ken-David is a once-in-a-generation musician, conductor and innovator who boasts an impressive resume of accomplishments, yet is friendly and approachable. He was unanimously voted to serve as the next Music Director given his artistic brilliance and genuine passion for how the arts can unify people and communities. We are thrilled to welcome Ken-David and his family to Milwaukee.”
...
Masur made his Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra debut on May 19, 2018, and was immediately invited back to open the MSO’s current season in September 2018.


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
  • 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:
  • Ken-David Masur becomes MD of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20, announced November, 2018.
  • Zurich Opera: Gianandrea Noseda becomes music director in 2021, following the departure of Fabio Luisi.
  • 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 became 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

Coming Up: Cal Bach's Christmas Program

From the press release for a great-looking program:

November 30 – December 2, 2018
BUON NATALE
500 years of Italian Christmas music

Friday, November 30, 8pm, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell at Franklin, San Francisco 94109

Saturday, December 1, 8pm, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church
555 Waverley at Hamilton, Palo Alto 94301

Sunday, December 2, 4pm, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
2300 Bancroft at Ellsworth, Berkeley 94704

Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance.
Tickets: $35 (discounts for advance purchase, seniors, students, and under 30)
650-485-1097  |  http://www.calbach.org  |  info@calbach.org

Artistic Director Paul Flight leads the award-winning California Bach Society in Italian music for Advent and Christmas: traditional holiday carols and glorious double choir motets by Giovanni Croce and Alessandro Scarlatti, plus Verdi’s chromatic Laudi alla Vergine Maria and Respighi’s beautiful pastoral Lauda per la Nativitá del Signore.  The 25-voice chorus is joined by soloists soprano Caroline Jou Armitage, mezzo Mindy Ella Chu, and tenor Mark Bonney.  We wish you Buon Natale!

Program:
Hodie Christus natus est                                                   Giovanni Palestrina (ca. 1525-1594)
Lux fulgebit hodie                                                                  Claudio Merulo (1533-1604)
Quaeramus cum pastoribus                                           Giovanni Croce (c. 1558-1609)
Magnificat primo tono                                                        Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
Laudi alla Vergine Maria                                                   Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Lauda per la Nativitá del Signore                                Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Hmmm.

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 OPERA REMOVES SINGER DAVID DANIELS
FROM JUNE 2019 PRESENTATION OF HANDEL’S ORLANDO


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.)