Saturday, June 01, 2013
June Music Highlights
June this year is filled to the brim with interesting music and dance concerts, so for your possible viewing pleasure, here is a shorthand guide to the next three weeks. This Monday, June 3rd at 8PM in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble is worshiping the cello in general and cellists Leighton Fong and Tanya Tomkins in particular. (Click here for details.)
In the same hall the following evening, Tuesday the 4th, clarinetist Brendan Guy (above left, with conductor Alisdair Neale) is presenting an all Benjamin Britten concert in his Curious Flights chamber music series. (Click here for more details.)
A highlight will be the West Coast premiere of Colin Matthew's reconstruction/invention of a clarinet concerto that Britten started writing for Benny Goodman when the composer was in his American exile during World War Two. (Click here for a post by Molly Colin at SFCV about the genesis of the piece.) I stopped by for a rehearsal last week and was amazed to find a large orchestra playing music that sounded like it was from the opera Peter Grimes.
Also at the Conservatory on Friday the 7th at 7PM, Opera Parallele will be presenting a free workshop (first-come, first-served) of a new "graphic novel" opera by Dante De Silva about the murdering composer Gesualdo, Prince of Madness. (Click here for details.)
The San Francisco Opera opens its three-opera summer season on Wednesday, June 5th with Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman in a new production by Laurent Pelly who created the imaginative 2009 production of the The Daughter of the Regiment. This was initially being sold as a diva showcase for Natalie Dessay in all four female roles, but Ms. Dessay is now only singing the role of Antonia and the other parts have been divvied up, most notably the demon doll Olympia being sung by last summer's Madame Mao herself, Hye Jung Lee.
Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte is returning for seven performances in the very good John Cox production set in Monte Carlo during World War One. Finally, there is the world premiere of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene on June 19th, where the Jesus story is told through MM's point of view. The composer has written his own libretto, and I wonder if Jesus and Mary will get married and have babies like they did in The Da Vinci Code. The cast assembled for the premiere is extraordinary, including Sasha Cooke, William Burden, Maria Kanyova, and Nathan Gunn. (Click here for more details.)
On Friday, June 7th at noon, there is a free opening dance concert in San Francisco City Hall by the Ethnic Dance Festival. This will be followed by a Sunday concert at the Legion of Honor museum, and then three ensuing weekends of overflowing dance programs at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. (Click here for more details.)
The San Francisco Symphony is currently presenting an Eastern European program of Dvorak, Kodaly and Bartok that is smashing. I heard the concert last night with Juraj Valcuha conducting and Gautier Capucon as cello soloist in the Dvorak, and you can hear it yourself this Sunday afternoon the 2nd. Next week there is an interesting sounding program conducted by Kirill Karabits of Britten's Double Concerto and Sibelius' Second Symphony. On June 19th through June 22nd, Tilson Thomas and the orchestra will be playing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, alternating between the same composer's Violin Concerto with soloist Gil Shaham, and Stravinsky vocal music including Les Noces with the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble. (Click here for more details.)
Also tackling The Rite of Spring is choreographer Mark Morris, starting on June 12th. Morris is in charge of the Southern California music festival in Ojai this year, and the festival is essentially being repeated the following week on the campus at UC Berkeley. The programs sound fabulous, with a heavy emphasis on the great, underplayed West Coast composers Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison. As part of the festival, there are two free outdoor concerts of "environmental" music by John Luther Adams. His percussion piece Iniksuit above during last year's Ojai North! festival was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced.