Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Last Weekend in October will be Another Busy One

Yesterday it was observed that making choices for the final weekend of this month will actually begin on the preceding Thursday. Indeed, that article even noted the first two options for both Friday and Saturday, those being the weekend performances by the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of visiting conductor Osmo Vänskä. However, those concerts will have a lot of competition, as will be seen from the following:

Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) will launch its Main Stage concert series for its 64th season with a program entitled Strings Attached. The entire program will be devoted to the SFCO string section conducted by Music Director Ben Simon. Concertmaster Robin Sharp will be the featured soloist in a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1042 violin concerto in E major, and the second half of the program will be devoted to Béla Bartók’s three-movement divertimento for strings. The program will open with Franz Schubert’s D. 703 in C minor. Generally known as the “Quartettsatz,” this is a single Allegro assai movement that demands both intense energy and meticulous precision from a string quartet. Achieving the same result from a string ensemble will be quite a challenge, but Simon seems to rise to the occasions for such challenges.

Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. As is always the case, there is no admission charge for all SFCO Main Stage concerts. The doors will open at 6:45 p.m. for general admission on a first-come-first-served basis. Supporting members will receive priority seating and priority entrance at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: This will be a two-set evening. The first set will be presented by the vocal duo Kilbanes, both of whose members also play an instrument. Kate Kilbane plays electric bass along with Dan Moses’ piano work. They will be previewing the forthcoming release of a recording of their rock opera Weightless, which will be their way of paving the way for Halloween.

The second set will be a performance by the Vox Angelica Trio, whose members are Jodi Hitzhusen, Meena Malik, and Aristides Rivas. Hitzhusen and Malik are the vocalists, and Rivas accompanies on cello. In addition all three members play percussion instruments. Their repertoire combines the Western classical traditions with a wide diversity of folk music from different cultural sources.

The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Because the Poppy is a small space, it is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Friday, October 27, 8 p.m., McKenna Theatre: The Morrison Artists Series, presented by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University (SFSU), will continue its 2017–2018 season with a concert by the Bay Area’s own Telegraph Quartet. The program will feature John Harbison’s sixth quartet, composed last year and co-commissioned by Telegraph. The second half will be devoted to Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 7, his first published string quartet written in 1905. The program will also include Hugo Wolf’s 1887 “Italian Serenade.”

The McKenna Theatre is in the Creative Arts Building at SFSU, a short walk from the SFSU Muni stop at the corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue. Tickets are free but advance registration is highly desirable. Reservations may be made through the event page for this concert. As usual, there will be a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., which will be a conversation between Harbison and Richard Festinger, Artistic Director of the concert series. Also as usual, the four members of the quartet will give a collective Master Class at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 20 (another event to take in consideration for this coming weekend). This two-hour session will take place in Knuth Hall, also in the Creative Arts Building, and will be open to the general public at no charge and with no requirements for tickets.

Friday, October 27, 8 p.m., Monument SF: Appropriate to the season, the One Found Sound chamber orchestra will open its fifth anniversary season with a program entitled Monster Masquerade. While SFCCO will be exploring the possibilities of the string section, One Found Sound will explore the “guises” afforded by a broader palette of instruments. Thus, the focus will be on the wind section (abetted by a bass) in a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 44 serenade. The program will conclude with Igor Stravinsky’s “Danses concertantes,” which was set to two different ballets by George Balanchine. The program will begin with the six-voice fugue from Bach’s BWV 1079, The Musical Offering, in an arrangement by Anton Webern, which experiments with assigning individual notes to different instruments.

Monument SF is located in SoMa at 140 Ninth Street. General admission will be $25 with a VIP rate of $45 for preferred seating. Tickets may be purchased through a window on the Concerts Web page of the One Found Sound Web site. This Web page also has a window for purchasing “Silver” tickets to all three concerts in the season. The remaining two concerts will also begin at 8 p.m. on December 8 and February 9, respectively. They will take place at Heron Arts, which is also in SoMa. Finally, those who follow this ensemble may wish to save the date for their annual gala, which will take place in the spring on April 27.

Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m., Taube Atrium Theater: Yes, you read the time correctly! San Francisco Opera (SFO) has organized a day-long multidisciplinary symposium by way of preparation for the world premiere of John Adams’ latest opera, Girls of the Golden West, which will take place on November 21. The event will be organized as three panel discussions and a vocal recital. The schedule for these four sessions will be as follows:
  1. 9:30–10:45, Girls of the Golden West, The Opera: SFO Dramaturg Kip Cranna will moderate a discussion with both Adams and Peter Sellars, who will direct the opera’s premiere performance and has also written the libretto.
  2. 11–12:15, Dame Shirley and Life during the California Gold Rush: One of Sellars’ primary sources is a collection of letters by Louise Clappe, whose husband was the doctor for one of the California mining camps during the Gold Rush. These letters were collected and published under the pen name “Dame Shirley.” The collection has been published at least three times, and their most recent editor, Marlene Smith-Baranzini will be on hand to discuss Clappe’s work. She will be joined by one of the chroniclers of Gold Rush history, Gary Kamiya. The discussion will again be moderated by Cranna.
  3. 1:30–3, Women, Culture and Politics in the Gold Fields: This discussion will explore the Gold Rush from a variety of perspectives, including the experiences of both women and immigrants; the discussants will be geographer and historian Mark McLaughlin, historian Christoper O’Sullivan, and writer Mary Volmer.
  4. 3:15–4, A Musical History of the Gold Rush: This will be a performance by Theatre Comique, whose co-directors are Corey Jamason and Eric Davis. Selections will be presented by tenor James Hogan and baritone Radames Gil. Jamason will accompany at the piano.
The Taube Atrium Theater is part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, which is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. General admission will be $45 for the entire day. Tickets may be purchased in advance through an event page on the SFO Web site. Because the seating area is steeply raked, those who purchase tickets online have the ability to request wheelchair accessibility.

Saturday, October 28, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: The Poppy will follow its “Halloween programming” with an evening recognizing the Day of the Dead. The program will be prepared by Bay Area rhythm all-star Javier Navarrette, who is calling the evening A Musical Tribute to the Ancestors. He will lead an all-percussion ensemble in an evening of personal songs and music originating from both Afro-Cuban and Afro-Mexicano traditions. The other members of the group are Sergio Duran, Jessie Webber, Alison Hammond, Monica Fimbrez, and Kevin Repp. Hammond will also dance, and Fimbrez plays string instruments. Everyone in the group will participate as a vocalist. Doors will again open at 7 p.m.; and early arrival is again encouraged. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Sunday, October 29, 2 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be the opening concert in the 2017–18 Davies Symphony Hall Chamber Music series, which features performances by members of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and their colleagues. The most ambitious selection will be “Black Angels,” a string quartet by George Crumb that requires all performers to do much more than play their instruments. Those performers will be violinists Sarn Oliver and Yun Chu, violist David Gaudry, and cellist David Goldblatt. A more conventional approach to music for strings will be found during the second half of the program with Dvořák’s Opus 87 piano quartet in E-flat major. Pianist Sayaka Tanikawa will join violinist Dan Carlson, violist Matthew Young, and cellist Amos Yang. The program will begin with Albert Roussel’s Opus 6 divertimento, composed for piano (Britton Day) and wind quintet (Tim Day on flute, Russ deLuna on oboe, Luis Baez on clarinet, and Rob Weir on bassoon, and Robert Ward on horn).

All tickets for this concert will be sold for $40. Tickets may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Box Office in Davies Symphony Hall, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will also open two hours before the performance begins. All six concerts in this series take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. For those wishing to save the dates in advance, the remaining five concerts will take place on February 4, February 25, April 18, May 6, and June 3.

Sunday, October 29, 4 p.m., de Young Museum: On Wednesday, October 25, Juilliard415, the period instrument ensemble whose members are in the Historical Performance graduate program at the Juilliard School, will perform at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Alice Tully Hall. Their conductor will be Nicholas McGegan; and, following that concert, he will bring those performers to San Francisco, where they will repeat the program in Koret Auditorium. The title of the program will be Le Monde Galant: Around the World in 80 Minutes; and it will feature music inspired by the cultures and peoples of France, Spain, Scotland, the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and China. The featured soloist will be Juilliard violinist Alana Youssefian playing the violin concerto by Antonio Vivaldi entitled “Il Grosso Mogul.” Other composers on the program will include Christoph Willibald Gluck, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Domenico Scarlatti.

The de Young Museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park. All tickets will be $25. Ticket holders may arrive early to enjoy free access to the dynamic exhibit in Wilsey Court, the Café and Terrace with its sculpture garden, and the Hamon Observation Tower. These tickets may be purchased in advance through a Philharmonia Baroque event page. Those wishing to see more of the museum will be able to purchase tickets on site.

Sunday, October 29, 5 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica: The title of Cappella SF’s fall concert will be Timeless: Music Through Ten Centuries. At one end of that spectrum will be the music of Hildegard of Bingen. At the other end will be a 2012 composition by Composer-in-Residence David Conte entitled “The Kingdom of God.” Conte composed this piece in memory of the school shootings that took place at Sandy Hook. For this performance Cappella SF will be joined by the members of the Young Women’s Choral Projects, whose Artistic and Executive Director is Susan McMane. The entire program will be conducted by Cappella SF Artistic Director Ragnar Bohlin.

Mission Dolores Basilica is located on the southwest corner of Dolores Street and 16th Street. For those planning to drive, free parking will be available in the schoolyard, whose entrance is off of Church Street. General admission will be $40 with an $20 rate for students with identification and all those aged fifteen and under. VIP seating will be available for $55. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Eventbrite event page.