Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Choices for December 1–3, 2017

December will begin with the first weekend with options for all three days in this new format for enumerating choices. There is a generous amount of diversity here, which may serve an incentive for some to plan their Christmas shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend. Here are the specifics, including one “forward pass” for the rest of the month:

Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 3, 2 p.m., Cowell Theater: Opera Parallèle will begin its 2017–2018 season with a fresh new addition to the holiday entertainment calendar. This will be Rachel Portman’s two-act opera The Little Prince, based on the book of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This opera was first seen in the Bay Area in 2008, when Zellerbach Hall (on the Berkeley campus of the University of California) hosted a joint production by the San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances, presenting the staging created for the world premiere given by the Houston Grand Opera in May of 2003. Opera Parallèle will present an entirely new production conceived by Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel with illustrations by Matt Kish, media design by David Murakami, and costumes by Christine Crook. Artistic Director Nicole Paiement will conduct; and the choral resources, which personify both stars and birds, will be provided by members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

Cowell Theater is located at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. Ticket prices for all performances will be $55 and $75. Tickets may be purchased in advance online from an event page maintained by the Fort Mason Center. This page has a pull-down menu for selecting the specific date. Once the date has been specified, there will be a floor-plan diagram showing which seats have been sold, which are available, and which are wheelchair-accessible. Readers are advised that much of the house has already been sold for all three performances. Those wishing to attend should probably visit this site sooner, rather than later.

[added 11/15, 8:25 a.m.:

Due to popular demand, Opera Parallèle has added a second 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, December 2; tickets will be available online through the same event page.

Friday, December 1, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): The New Music Ensemble will be led by guest conductor Christopher Rountree, founder, conductor, and Creative Director of wild Up, a chamber orchestra based in Los Angeles. The program will feature a performance of “De Staat” (the Republic). The title refers to the dialogue by Plato of the same name and may be the only oratorio that requires its four vocalists to sing excerpts from Plato in Ancient Greek (from a score in which the text has been transliterated into phonetics in the Latin alphabet). The program will also include Tina Tallon’s “Sear,” Andrew Tholl’s “Corpus Callosum,” and Pauline Oliveros’ “Tuning Meditation.”

SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, halfway between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. It is a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. The performance will take place in the Concert Hall. There will be no charge for admission, and neither tickets nor reservations will be required.

Friday, December 1, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: This will be the next guitar recital presented jointly by the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts and San Francisco Performances (SFP). The soloist will be Uruguayan virtuoso Alvaro Pierri. The major work on the program will be a complete performance of the twelve études that Heitor Villa-Lobos composed in 1929 (with subsequent revisions in 1948 and 1953). Pierri will also play sonatas by Joaquín Rodrigo and Alberto Ginastera, as well as a sonatina by Dušan Bogdanović and shorter pieces by Agustín Barrios (Mangoré).

The entrance to Herbst is the main entrance to the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. The venue is excellent for public transportation, since that corner has Muni bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. Tickets prices are $55 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $45 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $35 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page.

Friday, December 1, 8 p.m., St. Matthews Lutheran Church: Clerestory will present a program entitled Night of Snow: Christmas Music from Portugal, Spain, and France. This will be their annual holiday program with a variety of arrangements of folk sources from those geographical regions. Composers to be included on the program will be Tomás Luis de Victoria, Juan de Triana,  and Francis Poulenc, as well as David Conte’s setting of the “Patapan” carol.

The church is located in the Mission at 3281 16th Street. Tickets will be $25 for general admission, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance online from an Eventbrite event page.

Friday, December 1, 8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The California Bach Society and its Artistic Director Paul Flight have prepared a program entitled Christmas in Poland and the Baltics. This will offer a wide diversity of pieces by composers likely to be unknown to most of the audience working in periods from the Renaissance to the immediate present. (The one composer likely to be know to most will be Arvo Pärt.)

St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets will be $35 with discounts available for advance purchase, seniors, students, and those under the age of 30. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through the event page for this program on the California Bach Society Web site. Those wishing further information may call 650-485-1097.

[added 11/13, 1:45 p.m.:

Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, 4 p.m., Calvary Presbyterian Church: The San Francisco Bach Choir (SFBC) will kick off the holiday season with its annual traditional candlelight concert. The program will be a diverse assortment of Christmas music reaching back to the fifteenth century and forward to the immediate present. The latter will be represented with the world premiere of SFBC's first commission, “And Then I Took a Walk,” by Oakland-based composer Ted Allen. As in the past instrumental music will be provided by The Whole Noyse joined by percussionist Peter Maund.

Calvary Presbyterian Church is located at 2515 Fillmore Street, on the northwest corner of Jackson Street. General admission at the door is $40 with a $35 rate for seniors aged 62 and older. Patrons under the age of 30 and students with valid identification will be admitted for $10, and those under the age of nineteen are admitted at no charge. General admission and senior tickets purchased online in advance through Brown Paper Tickets will receive $5 savings. There is also an Older Adult Choir Donation option through which $25 buys a seat for a singing senior, as well as an option for adding a donation of any amount. Separate event pages have been created for the Saturday and Sunday concerts.]

Saturday, December 2, 8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: Voices of Music will begin its 2017–2018 concert series with its annual Virtuoso Holiday Celebration program. This year will be distinguished by the Bay Area premiere performance of the recorder concerto in D minor by Domenico Natale Sarro. Johann Sebastian Bach will be represented by the sixth of his “Brandenburg” concertos (BWV 1051 in B-flat major), composed for two violas, two gambas, cello, violone, and harpsichord continuo. The program will also include virtuoso concertos by Francesco Geminiani and Antonio Vivaldi.

General admission will be $45 with at $40 rate for seniors and members of several of the local early music organizations. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Arts People event page. In addition, because this is the first concert of the season, full-season subscriptions are still on sale. Prices are $110 and $95. Subscriptions may be purchased online through another Arts People Web page. In addition, the Box Office may be reached by telephone at 415-260-4687.

[added 11/13, 9:10 a.m.:

Saturday, December 2, 8 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): Matt Ingalls will return as the curator of the sfSoundSalonSeries to present a program of performances by the members of the sfSoundGroup. The program will include the very first performances of excerpts from a new work by Sarah Stiles, as well as two short pieces composed for the sfSound “small packages” commissioning project by Bay Area composers Hyo-shin Na (an Andante movement scored for clarinet, piano, and violin) and Erik Ulman (“Fragment for Jules Olitski,” scored for oboe, clarinet, piano, and violin). The program will also include chamber music by Nomi Epstein (“Combine, Juxtapose, Delayed Overlap”), Vinko Globakar (“Correspondences”), and Klaus Huber (“Schattenblätter”). As is usually the case at these concerts, the program will conclude with improvisations by the entire group consisting of Ingalls (clarinet and bass clarinet), Monica Scott (cello), Kjell Nordeson (percussion), Julie Michael (viola), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass), Hadley McCarroll (piano), Benjamin Kreith (violin), Tom Dambly (trumpet), and Kyle Bruckmann (cor anglais).

C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, half a block north of the Golden Gate Theatre, where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members and the underemployed. Tickets will be available at the door but may also be purchased in advance online through a Vendini event page.]

Saturday, December 2, 9 p.m., The Lab: Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke will present selections from their recent album Perseverantia. The album was recorded in the Mojave Desert. Most of the selections will be instrumental, but some include spoken-word lyrics by de Picciotto.

The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street. This is particularly good for those using public transportation, since that corner provides bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel as well as a BART station.

Admission will be $20, and members of The Lab will be admitted for $12. Advance registration is strongly advised. Separate Web pages have been created for members and the general public. Doors will open at 8:30 p.m., half an hour before the performance is scheduled to begin. Events at The Lab tend to attract a large turnout, so early arrival is almost always highly recommended.

Sunday, December 3, 2 p.m., SFCM: Corey Jamason, Co-Director of Historical Performance, will lead the SFCM Baroque Orchestra in the ensemble’s Fall Concert. The “seasonal” portion of the program will be the eighth concerto grosso in Arcangelo Corelli’s Opus 6 collection, given the title “Fatto per la notte di Natale” (made for Christmas Eve) and best known simply as the “Christmas Concerto.” The program will also include Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Wq. 182/2 symphony in B-flat major, as well as Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s “programmatic” depiction of a military battle. This concert will take place in the Concert Hall and will not require either tickets or reservations.

Because of the holidays, the remainder of the December schedule is relatively sparse. So this is as good a time as any to provide save-the-date information. Only two more events will take place this month:
  1. Friday December 8, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday December 10, 2 p.m., Concert Hall: The full-length opera for the fall semester will be Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. The staging will be by Heather Mathews, and the conductor will be Curt Pajer. Both performances will be free, but reservations will be required. Separate Google Forms Web pages have been created for registering for the Friday and Sunday performances.
  2. Saturday, December 9, 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall: The Telegraph Quartet, currently the SFCM Quartet-in-Residence, will be performing in Carnegie Hall on February 6. Eric Chin and Joseph Maile (violins), Pei-Ling Lin (viola), and Jeremiah Shaw (cello) will present a program for the SFCM community in advance of their landmark trip to New York. Details have not yet been finalized; but it is likely that one of the major selections they have planned for Carnegie, Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 7 (first) string quartet in D minor, will be included in the program. This performance will be free and will not require either tickets or reservations.

Sunday, December 3, 3 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 visit from the Verona Quartet, currently the quartet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music. The highlight of the program will be the Bay Area premiere of two of the twelve independent pieces that Sebastian Currier collected under the title Etudes and Lullabies, published in 2016. They will play the second of the etudes and the first of the lullabies. They will begin the program with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/72 quartet in C major, the first of the set of three published as Opus 74 in 1793. The program will conclude with the second (in A minor) of the two quartets that Johannes Brahms published as his Opus 51 in 1873.

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 but only beginning on November 12. As usual, there will be a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m., which will be given by Kai Christiansen. Also as usual, the four members of the quartet will give a collective Master Class at noon on Monday, December 4. 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.

Sunday, December 3, 7 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The new SFP Hear Now and Then Series will continue with a holiday-themed performance by New York Polyphony. The group is an a cappella vocal quartet, whose members are countertenor Geoffrey Williams, tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson, baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert, and bass Craig Phillips. Their program will be based on their 2014 BIS album, Sing Thee Nowell, which spans seven centuries of Christmas. At one end of the timeline, there will be works by composers such as Philippe Verdelot and Tomás Luis de Victoria, while the other end will be represented by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Alexander Craig (the latter being the name used by Phillips when he is composing and/or arranging).

Ticket prices will be $55 for Orchestra level and $30 for the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page. Those wishing further information may call 415-392-2545.

Sunday, December 3, 8:30 p.m., The Lab: This will be a performance by a jazz trio based in Vienna (Austria). The members are Martin Brandmayr (drums and electronics), Martin Siewert (guitars and electronics), and John Norman (bass). Since the turn of the century, Vienna has cultivated a vivid electronica scene, which has had a strong influence on the group, as have the art and theory of Ad Reinhardt. Reinhardt was the inspiring force behind the groups most recent album, On Dark Silent Off.

Admission will be $15, and members of The Lab will be admitted for free. Advance registration is strongly advised. Separate Web pages have been created for members and the general public. Doors will open at 8 p.m., half an hour before the performance is scheduled to begin. Events at The Lab tend to attract a large turnout, so early arrival is almost always highly recommended.

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