After focusing on Bach for its 80th anniversary season, the San Francisco Bach Choir (SFBC) will take a much broader approach to repertoire over the course of its 2016–2017 season. This is clearly evident from the title of the opening concert of the season, which is Intrigue! Love! Murder! Passion! Opera! Since Johann Sebastian Bach never composed an opera, it should be no surprise that he will be entirely absent from this program. Nevertheless, SFBC has assembled a program of selections from operas composed between the 17th and 21st centuries.
The earliest opera excerpts on the program will be from Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the most recent offering will be from Kirke Mechem’s John Brown, first performed by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in 2009. Giuseppe Verdi will represented by several operas, including Rigoletto (the famous quartet), Nabucco (the equally well-known chorus “Va, pensiero”), and La Traviata. There will also be interpretations of the Faust legend by both Charles Gounod and Arrigo Boito. Other composers to be included on the program will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner, Leonard Bernstein, and David Conte. Featured soloists will be soprano Jessica Siena, mezzo Lisa van der Ploeg, tenor Jaeho Lee, and baritone Matthew Hanscom. Accompaniment will be provided by the piano duo of Steven Bailey and Mai-Linh Pham.
This concert will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday October 23. The venue will be Calvary Presbyterian Church at 2515 Fillmore Street on the northwest corner of Jackson Street. There will also be a pre-concert talk by Alexandra Amati-Camperi, free for all ticket-holders and beginning at 3 p.m.
Tickets will be available until October 15 at a special Early Bird discount. This will be $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors aged 62 or older, and $10 for young adults under 30 and students with identification. All those under nineteen are admitted without charge. Tickets may be purchased in advance from a Brown Paper Tickets event page or by calling 855-4SF-BACH (855-473-2224).
Dates have also been set for the remainder of the season, but full program details have not yet been announced. However, Brown Paper Tickets has already set up the event pages for advance purchase of tickets. There are two remaining concerts, both of which will be given two performances, on a Friday at 7:30 p.m. and on the following Sunday at 4 p.m. Currently available information is as follows:
Christmas by Candlelight: This is an annual SFBC tradition. This year the choir will be joined by The Whole Noyse, performing on a selection of Renaissance instruments. The program will again cover a broad landscape of music history, with plainchant at one end and new works at the other. Separate event pages have been created for the performances on Friday, December 2, and Sunday, December 4. Performances will again take place at Calvary Presbyterian Church.
Hidden Classical Jewels: This program will provide two major works from the Viennese Classical tradition. The program will begin with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 86 setting of the Mass text. This composition’s place in history was established, at least in part, by the inclusion of its “Gloria” section at the famous “musical Akademie” marathon concert that Beethoven organized at the Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808. The Beethoven selection will be followed by Mozart’s K. 339 setting of music for the vespers service. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by the Jubilate Orchestra performing on historical instruments. Separate event pages have been created for the performances on Friday, May 5, and Sunday, May 7. These performances will take place at the First Unitarian Universalist Church at 1187 Franklin Street, on the southwest corner of Geary Boulevard.
In addition, based on last year’s success, SFBC will host another Bay Area Choral Festival. Entitled Many Voices, One Art, this will be an all-day celebration of the rich diversity of choral singing in the Bay Area. It will take place at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 4, running from 10 a.m. through to 4 p.m. All this will be held free of charge, but advance registration will be recommended. This will be processed through the event page for the festival on the SFBC Web site, but details have not yet been posted.