Saturday, August 31, 2019

Philharmonia Baroque & Nic McGegan's Final Season There

Famed conductor Nic McGegan's last season conducting Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is coming up, and it is a fine one, including a production at Versailles! I heard about this in advance of the announcement, when I visited Versailles in February, but there was an embargo on the information at the time.

Anyway, here is the season; note that Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus includes many of the same people involved with Le Temple de la Gloire and also the great Veronique Gens.

A Cosmic Notion
October 17–20, 2019
SHAW The Listeners
HANDEL Eternal Source of Light Divine

Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Arwen Myers, soprano
Avery Amereau, contralto
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director
Thursday October 17 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Friday October 18 @ 7:30 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Saturday October 19 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday October 20 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Mozart’s Musings
November 13–17, 2019
MOZART Overture to La finta semplice, K. 51
GRÉTRY Orchestral suite from Zémire et Azor
MOZART Concerto for Oboe in C major, K. 314
MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550
Jeannette Sorrell, conductor
Gonzalo X. Ruiz, oboe
Wednesday November 13 @ 7:30 pm | Bing Concert Hall, Stanford
Friday November 15 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday November 15 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday November 17 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus
December 5–8, 2019
HANDEL Judas Maccabaeus
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Robin Johannsen, soprano (Israelitish Woman)
Sara Couden, mezzo-soprano (Israelitish Man)
Nicholas Phan, tenor (Judas Maccabaeus)
Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director
Thursday December 5 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Friday December 6 @ 7:30 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Saturday December 7 @ 7 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday December 8 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
January 22–February 1, 2020
HANDEL Acis, Galatea e Polifemo
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Lauren Snouffer, soprano (Aci)
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor (Galatea)
Davóne Tines, bass-baritone (Polifemo)
Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players
Christopher Alden, stage direction
Mark Grey, sound & video design
JAX Messenger, lighting design
Terese Wadden, costume design
Paul Tate dePoo III, set design
Wednesday, January 22 @ 8 pm | Diane Wilsey Center for Opera, San Francisco
Friday January 24 @ 8 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
Saturday January 25 @ 8 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
Sunday January 26 @ 3 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
Wednesday January 29 @ 8 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
Friday January 31 @ 8 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
Saturday February 1 @ 8 pm | ODC Theater, San Francisco
These performances are not part of the regular subscription season and must be purchased separately.

The Well-Caffeinated Clavier
February 7–12, 2020
BACH Harpsichord Concerto No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058
BACH Cantata No. 211, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211, “Coffee Cantata”
BACH Harpsichord Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052
BACH Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
Richard Egarr, conductor & harpsichord
Nola Richardson, soprano
James Reese, tenor
Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone

Romantic Reflections
March 11–15, 2020
CHERUBINI Overture to Démophoon
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, “The Great”
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Alana Youssefian, violin
Wednesday March 11 @ 7:30 pm | Bing Concert Hall, Palo Alto
Friday March 13 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday March 14 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday March 15 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus
April 15–19, 2020
LECLAIR Scylla et Glaucus
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Chantal Santon, soprano (Scylla)
Aaron Sheehan, haute-contre (Glaucus)
Véronique Gens, soprano (Circé)
Judith van Wanroij, soprano (Vénus, Témire, Dorine)
Douglas Williams, baritone (Licas)
New York Baroque Dance Company
Les Chantres de la Maîtrise du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles
Catherine Turocy, stage direction & choreography
Marie Anne Chiment, costume design
Pierre Dupouey, lighting & set design
A co-production of Centre de musique baroque de Versailles and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Wednesday April 15 @ 7 pm | Herst Theatre, San Francisco
Friday April 17 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday April 18 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Sunday April 19 @ 3 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Friday, August 30, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Mario Davidovsky

Composer Mario Davidovsky has died at 85. Here are the two English-language obituaries that I have seen.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Thirteenth Child, Santa Fe Opera

My review of Poul Ruders's new opera, The Thirteen Child, is now posted at SFCV. As you will see, I found it unimpressive, with a weak libretto, unmemorable music, and mediocre conducting.

Some reviewers felt similarly:
  • Heidi Waleson, WSJ (She mentions the falsetto business, which I didn't bother with, and she's right about how unconvincing it is. There's an explanation in Zachary Woolfe's review.)
  • Zachary Woolfe, NY Times
  • Maria Nockin, Broadway World
  • William, Opera Warhorses

In addition:

I'd heard a while back that The Handmaid's Tale is coming to SF Opera; the program's bio for Ruders gives the year (2020) and the new Opera Magazine gives away that Sasha Cooke is cast as Offred. This opera has gotten strong reviews elsewhere, so I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Museum Mondays

Roman brickwork
Musée national du moyen age
(Musée de Cluny)
Paris, October, 2018

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Coming Soon to an Opera House Near Me

I'm in Santa Fe for Poul Ruders' new opera, The Thirteenth Child, and Janacek's Jenufa (expect an SFCV review in the next few days). Ruders' bio in the program gives away that a new production of his most famous opera, The Handmaid's Tale, is coming to San Francisco Opera, in 2020 if I'm reading the sentence right.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Apropos of Abuse

Sexual assault and sexual harassment aren't the only ways that people are abused. There are other crappy behaviors:
  • Sexist or racist remarks
  • Taking credit for work another person did
  • Bullying, in or out of the classroom
  • Retaliation for being reported for bad behavior
I'm hoping that journalists will begin to investigate situations such as the above, which are also enormously destructive and hurt individuals, their studies, their careers. From reading Twitter, let's just say that I'm convinced that this garbage behavior is shamefully common.

If anything like the above has happened to you, you could start by directly contacting reporters who've done some work already in these areas (Peggy McGlone and Anne Midgette at the Washington Post, for example) or by making a confidential report to the NY Times.

#MeToo Updates

Well, I was planning an update on what's been happening the last few months even before the big story this week. So you get two articles, I hope.

Updates on previous issues:
  • Metropolitan Opera vs. James Levine: In March, the judge in the case dismissed most of Levine's defamation claims against the Met. At the beginning of this month, the parties settled. The terms are confidential; we don't know whether money changed hands or what was agreed to. Too damn bad, because I wanted to see Levine on the stand and any evidence anyone has. We will also never know what bodies might be buried where; what the Met knew and when; etc.
  • David Daniels. New filings indicate that U. Mich. received more complaints against the countertenor than were previously disclosed. 
  • Back in February, Bozeman Symphony music director Matthew Savery resigned over harassment and terrible behavior of all sorts. As quoted by Drew McManus at Adaptistration, at letter to the orchestra's board included this: "Of paramount concern is the bullying, harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior we have experienced, seen and heard from the current Music Director, Matthew Savery, toward our local and guest musicians, BSO administrative staff, and donors."
The second-biggest #MeToo story in the last few weeks has been about violinist Lara St. John. When she was a student at the Curtis Institute in the mid-1980s, she was assaulted by Jascha Brodsky, a famous violin teacher. She told friends about it, among them Bay Area pianist Eric Zivian, and she also went directly to Curtis's administration....which did absolutely nothing.

After the Philadelphia Inquirer published the store I linked to above, Curtis proceeded to offer a non-apology apology - more than one, in fact - and, unbelievably, sent email to alumni asking them not to comment on the story, talk to the press, etc. not a good look for an educational institution. It is also amazing from a public relations standpoint. Doesn't Curtis have competent publicists working for them??

The St. John story is worth noting not only for the violinist's follow-up in the decades since Brodsky assaulted her, but for the fact that she went directly to Curtis, which took no useful action. Any time you hear someone asking "but why didn't she complain?", you should cite what happened with St. John. And tell people what happens to lots of whistle-blowers: retaliation from employers, difficulty getting hired elsewhere (because you're known to be honest and willing to tell the truth publicly), loss of income, etc.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Museum Mondays

La France Impériale protégeant l'Agriculture et les Sciences
(but I think the cherub in the second photo down is from Enfants porteurs de palms, same artist)
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Musée d'Orsay
Paris, 2018

Friday, August 02, 2019

A Fit of Pique

This is the kind of thing that should not happen: depending on when you log in to the SF Opera web site to buy tickets to either If I Were You or the Merola Finale, you could wind up paying quite different prices.

When I logged in after selecting a seat, I would have been charged a total of $37 ($25 seat, $12 "Merola fee"). Click the screen shot to enlarge it to something readable.

When I logged in before selecting a seat, I would have been charged a total of $25 ($25 seat):

I have two problems with this:

  • The order in which you select a seat and log in should not result in a price change. I believe that SFO is aware of this, from a brief conversation with the box office.
  • What the fuck is a "Merola fee" and why is anyone being charged this? No ticket price should be increased by 50% (or 25% if you're buying a $50 seat) over some extra fee. 
And it's why I'm not attending either If I Were You or the Finale. This just pisses me off too much.

Friday Photo

Stones of Stennis
June, 1982
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

I have the negative and should get a new print made. You can just see the Arctic skua flying off the top of the standing stone.