Regular readers probably know by now that the San Francisco Opera (SFO) Chorus, led by Chorus Director Ian Robertson, will be giving its Out of the Shadows choral concert this coming Saturday (November 19) at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera. Next month the SFO Orchestra will enjoy a similar opportunity with a concert that could have been called “Out of the Pit” but will, instead, be given the more dignified title San Francisco Opera Orchestra Up Close: The Strings. Playing a repertoire that will cover the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, the members of the string section will alternate in being led by their Concertmaster, Kay Stern, and by Resident Conductor Jordi Bernàcer.
While (as is always the case) the program is subject to change, the current plan is for an imaginative survey of music for string ensemble that will be presented in chronological order. The earliest work will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 136 divertimento in D major. This will be followed by Edvard Grieg’s Opus 40, his “Holberg” suite, which was originally composed as a solo piano composition and then arranged by Grieg himself for string orchestra. The next work on the program will be Ruth Crawford Seeger’s arrangement of the Andante movement from her 1931 string quartet. (Crawford married Charles Seeger in 1932, so the original source was written before her marriage.) This movement is sometimes called a “sound mass” composition, which basically involves a multi-instrument approach to the tightly packed intervals of the tone clusters explored by Henry Cowell. The program will then conclude with the “Concertino Pastorale,” which John Ireland composed in 1939.
Like Out of the Shadows, this concert will be presented in the new Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theatre on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. It will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 8; and the performance is expected to last about an hour. (There will be no intermission.) All tickets will be $30 for general admission, and the doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online through an event page on the SFO Web site. They are also being sold at the Box Office in the outer lobby of the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue, on the northwest corner of Grove Street.