Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Another Big Sigh: SFS Cancels Remainder of Season

Davies Symphony Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

San Francisco Symphony canceled all concerts scheduled for this season, going all the way out to August 31. This includes whatever the summer concerts would have been in July and August. So, no Flying Dutchman, no Mahler 8, no hours of applause for MTT, who is retiring as music director as of the end of the season. (I note that 2020-21 is starting on the late side this year, and that now looks prescient. I bet that CEO Mark Hanson and MDD Esa-Pekka Salonen are breathing huge sighs of relief just now.)

A short-ish email went to patrons; the press release is extremely informative about how all interested parties (orchestra, paid chorus, stagehands, administration, music director) decided on budgetary savings, that is, salary cuts. I continue to be positively impressed by how Hanson is doing his job.

Note the section about the matching ticket donations by board members and other donors up to $1 million: this is why the LA Phil's request for a measly $50,000 looked so very odd to me.

Full press release after the cut.

A Curious Item

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Received yesterday: a begging letter from, wait for this, the LA Philharmonic.

Asking me to donate toward their $50,000* goal.

Yes, that's right. The LA Phil, which is the wealthiest**, biggest-budget*** orchestra in the United States, is asking their donors to give them money toward a very tiny goal. Here's the text:
#GivingTuesdayNow, taking place on May 5 is a global day of giving and unity organized in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. #GivingTuesdayNow will harness the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to drive a spike of generosity and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.
The LA Phil is asking for your support. In times of strain, we turn to the arts – the power of music to uplift us remains constant. For over 100 years, the music of the LA Phil has inspired, taught, united and comforted our community. Your generosity during #GivingTuesdayNow will ensure that we emerge stronger, more vibrant, and more creative than ever.
Join us for #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5 and help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 for the future of the LA Phil. In this time of uncertainty, there’s a fundamental truth that gives us hope – together we can accomplish the extraordinary.

I am perplexed. That could be less than what the orchestra pays Chad Smith's executive assistant. The board members collectively can likely find $50K in the cushions of their sofas. The future of the orchestra in no way depends on raising $50,000 right now.

So what is this about? Just to keep the orchestra in the forefront of people's minds? So they can participate in #GivingTuesdayNow and it would look unseemly to ask for a million when they have so much? Because they actually need the $50K for some immediate need??

* That's the entire annual budget for a small community chorus.

** Because of the giant income stream from the Hollywood Bowl and their $280 million endowment, which is about the same as the Met and San Francisco Opera.

*** Around $120 million/year.

UPDATE: A look at the orchestra's most recent 990 shows that in the two years whose income/expense figures are visible, the LA Phil had the following:

Income, fiscal 2017: $203 million
Expenses, fiscal 2017: $142.5 million
Net income: $60.7 million

Income, fiscal 2018: $190.8 million
Expenses: fiscal 2018: $159 million
Net income: $31.7 million

Again, WTF with the $50,000?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Santa Fe Opera: Season Decision by May 12

Santa Fe Opera House, seen from parking lot
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Received from Santa Fe Opera just now:
Dear Friends, 
I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and keeping in good spirits. In line with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent extension of the stay-at-home instruction through May 15, the Santa Fe Opera staff, like many of you, continues to work from home.  
Over the course of the last six weeks, the Santa Fe Opera Leadership Team and Board of Directors have been working tirelessly to evaluate all possible scenarios for the future of our 2020 Season. Working in close communication with the Office of the Governor, we continue to keep the health and safety of our artists, staff and patrons as the primary factor in all deliberations.  
I want to assure you that the Santa Fe Opera is doing everything in our power to do right by our community. We are committed to making the best decision for everyone whose life is touched by the opera and the business it brings to northern New Mexico. We expect to have that announcement by May 12. 
In the meantime, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your patience and continued support. 
With deepest gratitude,Robert K. MeyaGeneral Director
This is the second email from them, and I certainly appreciate their keeping the audience informed of their decision-making process. I would definitely like to see both Rusalka and Tristan und Isolde this season, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunday, April 26, 2020

American Composers Orchestra Concert Series

Gah, I should have reported on this a week ago. The American Composers Orchestra is doing something very cool. They commissioned composers to write new solo works that will be premiered on Zoom, with the performances starting last week.

Here's a complete list and a link:

Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 5pm EST: Ethan Iverson & Miranda Cuckson, violin (info)

Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 5pm EST: Shara Nova & Ahya Simone, harp (info)

Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 5pm EST: Vicente Hansen Atria & Jay Campbell, cello (info)

Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 5pm EST: Sakari Dixon Vanderveer & Derek Bermel, clarinet (info)

Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 5pm EST: Gity Razaz & Jennifer Koh, violin (info)

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 5pm EST: Yuan-Chen Li & Jeffrey Zeigler, cello (info)

Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 5pm EST: Carlos Simon & Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor and Brooklyn Youth Chorus (info)

Ticket proceeds fund the artists in the project, and you can obtain a fee waiver in two ways:

1. Fill out an anonymous form at or 

2. Email Aiden Feltkamp at to request a fee waiver.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Symphony Orchestras and "Heroic Frontline Workers"

I've gotten two emails today from orchestras that are celebrating "heroes" in different ways.

From San Francisco Symphony:

On behalf of San Francisco Mayor London Breed and jazz legend Tony Bennett, the San Francisco Symphony invites you, your friends, and family to take to your balconies, windows, or backyards to join us in a worldwide live sing-along of Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” Saturday, April 25 at Noon PDT. This collective sing-along will be a joyous way for us to thank and celebrate our tireless frontline workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants are encouraged to live-stream and record their performances of Bennett’s classic ballad via their online social channel of choice (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube). Don't forget to hashtag #SingOutSF to join in on the fun!  
“By taking a moment to join together in song to celebrate our frontline health workers and everyone working to make a difference during this pandemic,” Mayor Breed says, “we can recognize how connected we are to one another―not just here in San Francisco, but all over the world.” 
We look forward to hearing voices ring out across our city and the world in this morale-boosting musical message of love and support!

From the Boston Symphony, whose press release is very revealing; see that last block of text:




Each concert will be posted at for 45 days after each Sunday video stream
Heroic Performances is the BSO’s contribution to the Boston Globe’s "ArtsAlive" series, whereby will offer a preview tomorrow (Friday, April 24) and subsequently on Thursdays beginning April 30 of the coming week’s Heroic Performances concert.
Heroic Performances, the latest musical offering by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is part of its ongoing and popular "BSO at Home" series, which is bridging the gap for classical music fans worldwide during the COVID—19 crisis; the special offering at features archival BSO performances and engaging home videos, which are intended to bring comfort during these uncertain times.
Visits to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s website,, are up nearly 90% since the program launched; the audio content has 134,000 listens and video views are at 112,000 and climbing. Social media impressions have surpassed 2.6 million and engagement has more than doubled since the launch of BSO at Home.

And honestly, SFS and BSO, would you both stop and just do what you're doing for the sake of music and your organization? All the sing-alongs and concerts are fine, but please explain to me, in small words, how this helps frontline workers? What they really need:

  • Decent pay (home health aids, grocery store workers, etc., who are all underpaid)
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Proper funding for their institutions (because the US has insufficient hospital capacity and equipment shortages because of capitalism)
  • Paid time off
  • Paid sick leave
  • Health care

Friday Photo

30 St. Mary Axe, London
Seen from Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 40th Floor
(AKA Swiss Re Tower, The Gherkin)
London, May, 2014

Monday, April 20, 2020

Museum Mondays

Detail, Tomb Effigy of a Woman
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
November, 2019

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Good News from Ars Minerva: Their Next Opera!

Ars Minerva has put on a series of outstanding presentations of 17th and 18th c. opera over the last several years. I'm so happy to see the announcement of their planned fall, 2020 production Doesn't this look like fun??


An opera composed by Carlo Pallavicino in 1679 - Libretto by Francesco Maria Piccioli

A sex farce with teeth. Clever, lecherous Messalina turns the tables several times on the gullible Emperor Claudius, who is hardly innocent himself. Meanwhile two other couples suffer their own romantic vicissitudes. Furtive assignations, frustrated trysts, kidnappings, betrayals, sudden recognitions, a heroine and a hero both in drag, and a plot as convoluted as only 17th-century Venetian opera can put together, all lead to a reconciliation that will last only as long as Messalina can keep pulling the wool over Claudius’ eyes. 
October/November 2020
3153 17 St, San Francisco.

In the event of a longer worldwide health crisis, the performances will be postponed. We are also working on eventual live stream performances.
Carlo Pallavicino (1630-1688): Italian composer Carlo Pallavicino wrote more than 20 operas, which premiered in the cities where he worked during his life: Venice, Italy and Dresden, Germany. He also wrote oratorios and sacred works. Pallavicino began his musical career as a church organist in 1665-66 in Padua, Italy. His first operas were staged in Venice, Italy in 1666. He moved on to the Dresden, Germany court in 1667, where he was a choirmaster for a few years. After that period, he returned to his organist position in Venice. He became the musical director of a Venice conservatory that provided musical training for orphaned children. Then, in 1685, he resumed his post in Dresden and then became director of chamber and theater music in 1687. Two of his operas were staged in Dresden, but he continued to compose mainly for Venice. Of Pallavicino’s operas, Vespasiano (staged in 1678 in Venice) was his most popular.
Dear Friend of Ars Minerva,
Ars Minerva is a unique and young performing arts organization. On a shoestring budget we have presented 5 annual modern world premieres of lost operas that no one else presents, producing them for Bay Area audiences since 2015, and collaborated with San Francisco Bay local artists. Messalina cast calls for 8 vocalists and 6 instrumentalists, a creative team and a technical team. Our artists, except one, will be residents of the San Francisco Bay Area and are actively contributing to the local and vital arts scene. Please consider supporting us during this difficult time.

CSO Boasts About Its Music Director's Disinterest in 20th c. and Contemporary Music

Speaking of messages from orchestras, the Chicago Symphony's latest promotional email includes this gem:

(Text in screenshot reads: Riccardo Muti, Champion of Italian Repertoire. View: One of the great benefits of having an Italian music director is that he is no more than one or two degrees of separation from great Italian composers himself. A living disciple of Arturo Toscanini through his own teacher, Antonino Votto, Riccardo Muti has conducted the CSO in many symphonic and operatic works by Italian composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Cherubini, Rossini, Verdi, Boito, Catalani, Martucci, Puccini, Mascagni, Giordano, Respighi and others.)

Wow, what a list: while Mascagni and Giordano lived into the 1940s, that's about as conservative list of Italian composers as I can think of. They're all popular opera composers, and sure, Muti is great in that repertory (although amazingly rigid about 19th c. practices such as ornamentation), but it's as though his aesthetic interest barely exists past about 1924.

What about Nono, Dallapiccola, Berio, Scelsi, Donatoni, Sciarrino, Scodanibbio, and many others?? Well - the CSO has had some of the most boring and conservative programming of any major US orchestra over the last few years, so....

NY Phil's Mahler's NY Digital Festival

Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

I've got a promotional email from the NY Philharmonic about their Digital Festival Mahler's NY, which runs April 16-30. Oh, boy, does it look to me like a missed opportunity.

It's not that there's anything wrong with what the Phil is going to make available, which includes performances of Kindertotenlieder, at least some of the symphonies, Lenny B. discussing Mahler, and, on the fun side, a digital walking tour of New York City in 1911 and 1911 recipes.

It's what doesn't seem to be included, but maybe I'm premature:

  • A look at other classical composers then active in NYC, especially American composers. 
  • A look at composers in other styles, especially ragtime, early jazz, Tin Pan Alley.
  • A look at the popular music of the era.
  • A look at the music of NY's many immigrant populations.
It's not as though we're lacking in performances of Mahler's works, whether live or studio, or knowledge about him. It would be great if the NY Philharmonic got its nose outside Avery Fi er David Geffen Hall and looked around a bit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

More SFS and Davies Cancellations

Received this morning:

March 27: An Evening with Bernadette Peters
April 5: BEETHOVEN250: Piano Recital with Yefim Bronfman
April 16–18: Tchaik 5 & Mason Bates’ Philharmonia Fantastique
April 24–25: SOUNDBOX: Lineage
April 26: Chamber Music Series: Murder & Myths—Dvořák’s Piano Trio in E minor, Dumky
April 28: Gautier Capuçon & Yuja Wang in Recital
May 3: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

Those who have already purchased tickets to rescheduled concerts will be contacted directly when a new performance date is determined. We are asking ticket holders to hold their tickets until future dates can be confirmed.

March 8: Michael Barenboim & the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble
March 12–14: MTT & Gautier Capuçon
March 15: San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Plays Britten
March 17: Flute Recital with Sir James Galway
March 22: Buster Keaton’s The General—Silent Film with Organist Cameron Carpenter
March 22: Piano Recital with Hélène Grimaud
April 4: Music for Families: Meet the Orchestra, featuring the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra
April 4: San Francisco Symphony Chorus: J.S. Bach’s Magnificat
April 11: Pure Yanni
April 19: Chineke! Orchestra with Stewart Goodyear
April 23–25: BEETHOVEN250: Beethoven 5 & Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3
April 30: Open Rehearsal: Morgan Conducts Price & Brahms
April 30–May 2: Morgan Conducts Price & Brahms
May 7: Open Rehearsal: Gaffigan Leads Marsalis & Dvořák’s New World
May 7–9: Gaffigan Leads Marsalis & Dvořák’s New World
May 10: San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Plays Brahms Symphony No. 2

San Francisco Symphony has more latitude about cancellations than San Francisco Opera, because (mostly) they don't need to build sets and need only a week or so to rehearse for most programs. But the risk of large gatherings will be with us for a while, and I expect that SFS will ultimately cancel everything through the end of June.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Sigh: Sad News from San Francisco Opera

As I've been half-expecting and mostly dreading, here's the press release from San Francisco Opera cancelling the June season (Verdi, Ernani; Handel, Partenope; Bates, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs):


Opera is ON Launched to Inspire Connection and Community
During Time of Social Distancing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 14, 2020) — San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock announced today that the Company’s 2020 Summer Season, scheduled to take place June 7–July 3 at the War Memorial Opera House, has been canceled. Ongoing developments in the global effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including orders by the City of San Francisco to shelter in place through at least May 3, as well as other state and federal travel restrictions and safety measures, prohibit the Company’s ability to prepare, build, rehearse and perform this summer.

“Today I am announcing the heartbreaking decision to cancel our 2020 Summer Season due to the current pandemic. The safety and health of our audiences, artists and employees must come first, and it is imperative that we continue to do our part in the critical effort to contain COVID-19,” said Shilvock. “I am profoundly grateful to all who have invested so deeply of themselves in planning and preparing for our summer season, and I grieve that so much creative energy will sadly not find expression on our stage this summer. This Company has faced many challenges in its nearly 100 years—our very theater was built from the determination of San Franciscans to bring music back after the devastation of the 1906 earthquake. We have survived the Great Depression, a World War, the Loma Prieta earthquake, the dot-com bust, September 11 and the 2008 recession. I know San Francisco Opera will emerge from this doing what we do best: bringing works of soaring beauty to life and sharing them with our extraordinary community.”

The decision to cancel the summer season was made in close consultation with San Francisco Opera Board Chairman John Gunn, San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin and the Company’s board of directors, who held a special meeting on April 10 to review and approve the action. The board has met regularly with management since the initial shelter-in-place order was issued by San Francisco Mayor London Breed on March 16 and remains deeply committed to the present and future success of the Company.

San Francisco Opera estimates financial losses of $8 million due to the cancellation of the summer season. The Company will continue to pay full compensation and benefits for employees through the current May 3 shelter-in-place period. “We are in conversation with all eight of our union partners to determine how we can best support our employees during this unprecedented situation,” Shilvock stated. “At this time, we are focused on mitigating the devastating impact that cancellations could have on the lives of the artists, musicians, crew members and staff who are the heart of this Company, while also maintaining a strong organization when we return to the stage. I am very grateful to all of our unions for their partnership in working through this very difficult time.”

“Arts and culture have the unique ability to provide solace, healing, connection and joy—things we need now more than ever. While we are devastated to cancel the summer season, we remain deeply committed to sharing the cathartic power of opera through our new digital initiativeOpera is ON,” Shilvock continued. “The entire Company joins me in expressing profound appreciation to all of the essential and front-line workers who are saving lives, ensuring the safety of our cities and keeping our communities running. We wish everyone health, safety and an optimistic hope for the future as, together, we navigate this crisis.”

The 2020 Summer Season was scheduled to include 18 performances of three operas: Verdi’s Ernani conducted by Caroline H. Hume Music Director Designate Eun Sun Kim, Handel’s Partenope with multiple artists making American debuts and the Bay Area premiere of Mason Bates and Mark Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Ancillary activities relating to the mainstage presentations are also canceled, including Bay Area Opera Previews, pre-opera talks and Pride Night at the Opera.

Summer Season ticketholders may contact the San Francisco Opera Box Office to contribute the value of their tickets as a tax-deductible donation, exchange for a currently scheduled future mainstage performance, place the ticket value on account for future mainstage purchases or obtain a full refund. Donations are particularly helpful to San Francisco Opera during this difficult time. The Company extends its gratitude to all its patrons for their understanding and ongoing support. San Francisco Opera’s Box Office windows located at 301 Van Ness Avenue remain closed in accordance with the current shelter-in-place order through at least May 3, but the Box Office team is available to assist patrons by phone at (415) 864-3330, Monday 10 am–5 pm and Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–6 pm. Ticket holders may also visit to select their preferred ticketed option.

While the War Memorial Opera House, Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera and Burlingame Scene Shop have remained closed to San Francisco Opera operations since March 17, Company employees continue to work remotely wherever possible. The San Francisco Opera Chorus is continuing their preparations for the upcoming year through online rehearsals with Chorus Director Ian Robertson, and the resident artists, the Adler Fellows, have been in regular coachings with Music Director Designate Eun Sun Kim through video conferencing.


In order to remain connected with the San Francisco Opera community and provide comfort, beauty and joy during the COVID-19 crisis, the Company has launched Opera is ON ( This online initiative features new and archival content for the public to explore and engage with opera during the shelter in place. While features will be added in the days and weeks ahead, current Opera is ON highlights include:


I am concerned about this:
The Company will continue to pay full compensation and benefits for employees through the current May 3 shelter-in-place period. 
The company should pay them for the planned summer season, as well. See below about wealthy donors and board members for the why.

Why I'm not surprised: Rehearsals would have to start by mid-May at the latest for Ernani's June 7 opening; a similar time, maybe a couple of days later, for Partenope on June 12; and late May for Steve Jobs on June 20. Maybe the rehearsal start date for Steve Jobs could be further delayed, give that the conductor, production, and most of the cast were all in the Santa Fe Opera premiere in 2017.

Considering that Bay Area shelter-in-place orders are currently through May 4, with no clues as to whether they might be lifted in time to start rehearsals, well...prudence dictates the cancellations, as economically devastating as that is and as disappointing as it is to everyone planning to attend the opera in June.

I had some hopes that the company would opt to postpone everything by a month, since San Francisco Ballet doesn't use the Opera House during the summer, and the company would only risk running into its own fall season.

Previously, the company published a blog post and Backstage with Matthew email by Matthew Shilvock, Weathering the Crisis, anticipating this possibility:
The decision to cancel the summer season would be an incredibly devastating one with losses initially predicted in the $9–10M range, and so it is a decision we will make only if we absolutely have to. I commit to staying in touch with you as we determine what is happening with the summer season. If you have tickets to the summer operas, please know that it is very important to us that we give you as much flexibility as possible. Should we have to cancel the summer season, we will offer you the options of exchanging into the 2020–21 Season, donating your tickets back to the Opera, or receiving a refund.
Let me urge you to donate back your tickets if you can afford to.  I understand that many SFO ticket holders are now unemployed or otherwise under financial stress, and if that's your situation, request a refund. SFO has many very wealthy donors and board members, and this would be an appropriate time for one or more of them to step up and help out in proportion to their wealth, rather than the company having to rely on more average-income subscribers.

Elsewhere in the press:
  • Joshua Kosman, Chron, whose story has two informative quotations from Matthew Shilvock: “We can’t get into our wig shop or costume shop. There’s a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for people arriving here, which means we can’t get artists here and into rehearsal. In the end, between health issues and logistics, we really had no choice.” Also: “I truly hope we’ll be back in the hall for our scheduled opening, but it’s too early to know what form that will take. If we can’t get into the scene shop in June, then we may have to rethink our production of ‘Fidelio’ — but it wouldn’t necessarily mean we won’t do ‘Fidelio’ at all.”
  • Janos Gereben, SFCV

Not Hyperbole

War Memorial Opera House
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

The banner on the San Francisco Opera web site looks like something Matthew Shilvock wrote (he loves the word "incredible," which I say with affection):

However, in the case of the SFO Box Office, I will say that their staff is fabulous. They are patient, professional, helpful, accommodating, and all-around great. I think that pretty much everyone who has ever swapped a ticket or had a complicated subscription request is likely to agree with me.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Museum Mondays

Detail of sarcophagus of St. Justina
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
November, 2019

Saturday, April 11, 2020

LA Opera Cancels

I haven't gotten email from them about this yet, but LA Opera has cancelled upcoming performances of Pelleas et Melisande, Rodelina, and Angel's Bone, which isn't at all surprising. These would have run through May. Note that on April 8, they posted a video of James Conlon talking about Wagner and Debussy.

No word about June's scheduled Figaro, but....

Monday, April 06, 2020

Cancellations Creeping into the Summer

The Berkeley Festival and Exhibition [of Early Music], which was to have run from June 7 to 14, has now been canceled. From the press release:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 3, 2020 —The San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS) and its Board of Directors today announced that it will cancel the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition which was scheduled to take place in June because of concerns over the coronavirus. Since its inauguration in 1990, the Festival has been recognized as one of the foremost events of its kind, bringing together early music performers and enthusiasts for a week of concerts, lectures, master classes, film screenings and more in Berkeley, California. In association with Early Music America, this year’s Festival was to be the first to expand to San Francisco.
“Because the health of our artists, production team, patrons and wider community comes first, we will be cancelling the 16th biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition,” said Derek Tam, executive director of SFEMS and artistic director of the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition. “We did not come to this decision lightly. Each Festival represents the culmination of two years of planning and preparation, of anticipation transformed into joy. But even as we dismantle the sprawling structure of the Festival, our attention must turn to the immense task of stewarding SFEMS through this unprecedented crisis, while fulfilling our mission to promote the early music which sustains our souls.”
Patrons who have already purchased tickets for the Festival may ask for a full refund, or they may choose to give their tickets back to the Festival as a tax-deductible donation. All donations help to cover the significant costs SFEMS has already incurred, and may potentially also help to provide honoraria for the Festival’s participating artists.
The Berkeley Festival & Exhibition is produced by the San Francisco Early Music Society, and was conceived of and founded by Robert Cole, then director of Cal Performances, and the late Joseph Spencer, then SFEMS president. Over the years, the Festival has presented many memorable events: Mark Morris Dance Group’s interpretation of Rameau’s PlatéeLe Carousel du Roi, featuring dressage horses and riders executing elaborate ballets from 17th-century France accompanied by shawms and sackbuts; and the North American premiere of a long-lost Mass by Alessandro Striggio for 40 and 60 voices.
I'm expecting a couple more shoes to drop for June, alas.

Museum Mondays

Two views of a chair
California Midcentury Design
LACMA, March, 2012

Friday, April 03, 2020

Friday Photo

At the grave of Vaslav Nijinsky
Cimitière de Montmartre, Paris, France
October, 2018

I assume that my music- and ballet-loving friends can identify the role, though this sculpture is amateurish compared to the photos of the dancer in this role, which capture Nijinsky's intensity and total identification with the role. It's one of the great mysteries of the 20th century that there's no known film of Nijinsky dancing - I just find it so hard to believe that it never occurred to anyone to point a camera at him. Perhaps there's footage waiting to be found in a Russian archive, or attic.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Three (Four?) Things We Need Immediately, Economically Speaking

We really need these, to prevent an economic collapse:

  • $2,000/month payment for each adult
  • Moratorium on mortgage payments for...I dunno, six months?
  • Moratorium on rent payments for the same amount of time
People can opt out if they don't need or want this. (I'm working, and I have a good income plus savings and would refuse all of the above.)

I would add universal health care, but that's such an enormous issue...however, it's obscene that Trump refused to re-open the ACA exchanges so that people whose health insurance depends on their jobs can get insurance easily. I mean, 10 million people filed for unemployment in the last two weeks.