Hard choices usually only arise on the weekends, which tend to be the favored days of the week for concert producers. However, this month a choice will have to be made among multiple offerings on the Thursday prior to the final weekend. Fortunately, one of the three alternatives will be given three more performances through that weekend; but a choice will still have to be made on Thursday, even if it is between only two options. Here is the full scope of the options for Thursday, April 27:
7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: San Francisco Performances (SFP) will conclude its 2016–2017 Virtuosi Series with a recital by cellist British cellist Steven Isserlis. This will be his ninth SFP appearance; and those who follow him assiduously will know that he also makes regular visits to San Francisco courtesy of Philharmonia Baroque. His accompanist for his SFP recital will be pianist Connie Shih, who will be making her SFP debut.
Isserlis has prepared a “Sonatas++” program for this occasion. The first half of the program will be devoted to sonatas by Claude Debussy (his only cello sonata, written in the key of D minor) and Frédéric Chopin (Opus 65 in G minor). During the second half of the program, Isserlis will play Gabriel Fauré’s Opus 117 (second) cello sonata, which is also in G minor. However, for those whose taste for Thomas Adès was whetted by the recent visit by the Calder Quartet, Isserlis will follow his Fauré selection with music by that contemporary British composer, who gave the piece a French title. This is Adès’ Opus 26 four-movement suite, which he entitled Lieux retrouvés (places “re-found”). Isserlis will also precede the Fauré sonata with two improvisations on Irish songs by another French composer, Reynaldo Hahn.
The entrance to Herbst Theatre is located on the ground floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Tickets are being sold for $40 in the balcony, $55 for most of the Dress Circle, and $65 for premium seating. They may be purchased in advance through a City Box Office event page, which shows the Herbst floor plan and which prices apply to which sections. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 415-392-2545, as well as at the Herbst Box Office on the evening of the performance.
8 p.m., Taube Atrium Theater: The second season of SF Opera Lab will conclude with the next (and only, at least for this season) installment in the ChamberWORKS series. These concerts were conceived to provide better acquaintance with members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Five members of the string section will be featured, violinists Heidi Wilcox and Maki Ishii, violist Natalia Vershilova, and cellists Victoria Ehrlich and Ruth Lane. As a quintet they will perform Luigi Boccherini’s D major quintet, which is best known for the Fandango in the concluding movement. There will also be a performance of Anton Arensky’s Opus 35 string quartet in A minor and John Mackey’s string trio, entitled “Wrong Mountain Stomp.” The other participating musician will be tuba player Zachariah Spellman, who will contribute to the performance of seven duets for violin and tuba composed by William Presser.
The venue is part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building. In other words the street address is also 401 Van Ness Avenue! General admission will be $25. Tickets may be purchased in advance on the event page for this production. Note that, because audience seating is steeply raked, it is possible to indicate the need for wheelchair-accessible seating.
8 p.m., ODC Theater: Finally, at the same time as the ChamberWORKS concert, Touch Bass will begin its run of four performances. This will be an evening-length work involving a collaboration between choreographer Risa Jaroslaw and Bay Area bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa. The stage will be shared by three of the dancers in Risa Jaroslaw + Dancers, Scott Marlowe, Tara McArthur, and Lauren Simpson, and three acoustic bass players, Mezzacappa, along with Eric Perney and Matt Small.
The ODC Theater is located in the Mission at 3153 17th Street on the southwest corner of Shotwell Street. Tickets for priority seating are $45. General admission will be $35, $25 for seniors, and $20 for students. Tickets will be available at the box office before the performance. There will also be performances at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, as well as at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. Tickets for all four performances may be purchased in advance through hyperlinks on the event page for this show or by calling 415-863-9834.