Those who were following me on Examiner.com know that I had begun to write preview articles about the different concert series offered by San Francisco Performances (SFP) for the 2016–2017 season. Unfortunately, those articles are no longer accessible. For the benefit of those wanting to know what they missed (or are missing), I shall provide hyperlinks for the Heartfelt Gala event planned to honor SFP founder and outgoing President Ruth Felt, the Chamber Series, and Jonathan Biss’ Late Style project. This article will now turn attention to the Virtuosi Series, which has built up a strong reputation for providing San Francisco audiences with some of the most impressive visiting artists currently performing. As in the past, there will be four concerts in this series, all to be held in Herbst Theatre and all beginning at 7:30 p.m. Details are as follows:
Tuesday, November 15: This will be the San Francisco debut of Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta, who will be accompanied by Italian pianist Alessio Bax. The program will be structured around two complementary sonatas, one each from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The nineteenth-century selection will be the first of Johannes Brahms’ two cello sonatas, Opus 38 in E minor. The twentieth-century composition will be Sergei Prokofiev’s Opus 119 sonata in C major, which he wrote for Mstislav Rostropovich after hearing him give a recital performance of Nikolai Miaskovsky’s Opus 81 sonata in A major. Prokofiev will also be represented by an arrangement of an Adagio movement from his score for the ballet Cinderella, which he originally composed as his Opus 97 set of ten excerpts from the ballet scored for solo piano. Gabetta will begin her recital with Robert Schumann’s Opus 73 set of three Fantasy Pieces (Fantasiestücke), which he originally wrote for clarinet but indicated that the clarinet part could also be performed on viola or cello.
Monday, April 3: Violinist Alina Ibragimova will return to SFP, once again with pianist Cédric Tiberghien as her accompanist. The program has been arranged in such a way that both Ibragimova and Tiberghien will each give a solo performance. In the first half Tiberghien will perform Alban Berg’s Opus 1 sonata, and Ibragimova will begin the second half of the program with the fifth (in G major) of Eugène Ysaÿe’s Opus 27 set of six solo violin sonatas. The duo sonatas Ibragimova and Tiberghien have prepared for the program will be by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 1017 in C minor), Brahms (Opus 100 in A major), and Schumann (Opus 121 in D minor).
Tuesday, April 11: Virtuoso trumpet master Håkan Hardenberger will also be returning to SFP with pianist Roland Pöntinen as his accompanist; program details have not yet been announced.
Thursday, April 27: The final recital will feature the return of cellist Steven Isserlis. Pianist Connie Shih will be his accompanist. The program will feature “Lieux retrouvés” (reencountered places), a tour-de-force work written for Isserlis by Thomas Adès. The sonata selections will be by Claude Debussy, Frédéric Chopin (Opus 65 in G minor), and Gabriel Fauré (Opus 117, the second of the two that Fauré wrote). The program will also present a pair of improvisations on Irish airs composed by Reynaldo Hahn.
Subscriptions are now on sale for $240 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $200 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $140 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325. Single tickets will not go on sale until the beginning of next week on August 1. In addition the SFP home page has hyperlinks for PDF files of the Season Brochure, the Season Calendar, and a ticket order form.