The next really busy weekend will be the one that precedes the Thanksgiving weekend. (As of this writing, it appears that there should not be any serious conflicts between concert events and the “official” beginning of the Christmas shopping season.) The good news is that one of the major events will take place on each of the three days of the weekend. Nevertheless, the number of alternatives is rather imposing. As usual, they will be listed in order of start time:
Friday, November 22, 6 p.m., Community Music Center (CMC): The next Concert with Conversation offering, produced in partnership with San Francisco Performances (SFP), will present the four guitarists of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ): Scott Tennant, Matt Greif, John Dearman, and Bill Kanengiser. Once again, this will probably serve to preview the LAGQ performance, which will take place the following evening. LAGQ is particularly noted for the wide diversity of its repertoire, only a sample of which can be presented prior to questions from the audience.
The venue will be the CMC Concert Hall, which is located at 544 Capp Street, between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue and between 20th Street and 21st Street. There is no charge for admission, and the general public is invited. However, because these events tend to be very popular, early arrival is recommended.
Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 24, 2:30 p.m., ODC Theater: The event that will take place over the course of the entire weekend will be the latest production by Ars Minerva. Regular readers should know by now that Ars Minerva is a nonprofit organization, based in the Bay Area and devoted to resurrecting forgotten operas from the Italian Baroque. This season the opera will be Ermelinda, composed by Domenico Freschi.
The libretto follows the familiar star-crossed lovers narrative. That couple consists of Ermelinda (mezzo Nikola Printz) and Ormindo (contralto Sara Couden). Ermelinda’s father Aristeo (countertenor Justin Montigne) abducts her as far from Ormindo as he can manage; and most of the plot concerns how these two lovers find each other again.
The production will be staged by Ars Minerva’s Executive Artistic Director Céline Ricci. Jory Vinikour will lead a period instrument orchestra, conducting from the harpsichord. The other performers will be violinists Cynthia Black and Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, violist Aaron Westman, cellist Gretchen Claassen, and Adam Cockerham on theorbo.
The ODC Theater is located in the Mission at 3153 17th Street on the southwest corner of Shotwell Street. Ticket prices are the “Gold” rate of $92 and the “Silver” rate of $61. Students will be admitted for $26, and there is a special VIP rate of $250 that includes a post-performance reception with the artists and a tax-deductible contribution of $130. Tickets may be purchased through separate event pages for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances.
Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): This will be pianist Nicholas Phillips’ #45miniatures piano recital as previously announced.
Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m., Taube Atrium Theater: San Francisco Opera (SFO) will present its annual concert by the SFO Chorus led by Director Ian Robertson. The program will include both a cappella choral music and accompanied works with instrumental support from Associate Chorus Master Fabrizio Corona at the piano and members of the SFO Orchestra. Operatic selections will include choruses from Giuseppe Verdi’s Ernani, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Hector Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini. The program will also include Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 172 cantata, Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (ring out, you songs; sound, you strings), and many more selections.
The Taube Atrium Theater is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. All tickets will be sold for $35. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an SFO event page.
Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m., Zion Lutheran Church: The next performance to take place in the Benefit Concerts at Zion series will feature the members of the Earplay String Trio, violinist Terrie Baune, violist Ellen Ruth Rose, and cellist Thalia Moore. They will play a trio by Pablo Ortiz entitled “and all the phonies go mad with joy” and another trio not yet announced. In addition, they will be joined by pianist John Chernoff in a performance of Johannes Brahms’ Opus 60 piano quartet in C minor. Fully 100% of all donations will go directly to the International Rescue Committee’s Vision Project, which helps refugee girls in the Bay Area envision their future as women in America. Zion Lutheran Church is located at 495 9th Avenue near the northwest corner of Anza Street.
Saturday, November 23, 4 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: Readers may recall that, about a year ago, the New Esterházy Quartet (violinists Lisa Weiss and Kati Kyme, violist Anthony Martin, and cellist William Skeen) joined forces with baritone Paul Max Tipton and bassist Kristin Zoernig for a performance of Franz Schubert’s D. 911 song cycle Winterreise (winter’s journey). This year the same resources will return for the other Schubert cycle based on poems by Wilhelm Müller, Die schöne Müllerin (the lovely miller’s daughter). General admission is $30. Seniors, the disabled, and members of the San Francisco Early Music Society will be admitted for $25; and there is a $10 rate for students with valid identification. A Brown Paper Tickets event page has been set up for all online ticket purchases.
Saturday, November 23, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: This will be the aforementioned recital by LAGQ presented by SFP. The program will consist of both original compositions and arrangements. Many of the arrangements will be provided by LAGQ members Kanengiser and Greif. Taken as a whole, the program will run a broad gamut from traditional folk sources to the rebellious voices of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. This will be the third concert in the SFP Guitar Series, presented in association with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts.
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. Ticket prices will be $60 for premium seating, $50, and $45. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page.
Saturday, November 23, 7:30 p.m., War Memorial Opera House: This will be the fourth of the eight performances of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel by the San Francisco Opera, as has already been announced.
Saturday, November 23, 7:30 p.m., C4NM: This will be the FutureJazz concert previously announced.
Sunday, November 24, 2 p.m., Sunnyside Conservatory: The Nomad Session octet of wind and brass instruments will kick off its 2019–20 season with their first ever Black & Gold offering. This will be a fundraising event preceding a full concert with a pre-performance party serving unlimited cocktails and bites. The program will feature the wind octet premiere of Marc Mellits’ “Splinter.” The concert will open with the final (March) movement from Gustav Holst’s first suite (in E-flat major) for military band (Opus 28, Number 1), followed by selections from György Ligeti’s “Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet,” arrangements of six of the movements from his Musica ricercata for solo piano. The remaining selection on the program will be Eric Ewazen’s “Frost Fire.”
General admission to the concert will be $25. Tickets for the Black & Gold event preceding the performances will be $50 with an $80 price for a ticket for two. The Sunnyside Conservatory is located in Sunnyside at 236 Monterey Boulevard. Tickets to both the concert and the Black & Gold event may be purchased online from a single Eventbrite event page.
Program details for the remaining concerts of the season have also been announced. Dates and content (along with hyperlinks for tickets and/or reservations) are as follows:
- Saturday, February 15 8 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: Jonathan Russell: “Fanfare for Varese;” George Gershwin: “An American in Paris;” Aaron Copland: “Appalachian Spring.”
- Friday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music: Edvard Grieg: “Troldtog,” Percy Grainger: “Lincolnshire Posy,” Roger Zare: “Mare Tranquillitatis,” Mario Godoy: “Figure Eight”
- Sunday, March 29, 4 p.m., Old First Presbyterian Church: Johannes Brahms: “Hungarian Dance Number 5,” Emily Shisko: “Shedding Game,” Malcolm Arnold: “Four Scottish Dances,” Roger Zare: “Mare Tranquillitatis,” Nicolas Lell Benavides: “Ocho Bendicines.”
- Friday, May 22, 7:30 p.m., Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center: George Gershwin: “Three Preludes,” Gustav Holst: “First Suite for Military Band,” Edvard Grieg: “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” Marc Mellits: “Splinter.”
- Friday, May 29, 8 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: world premieres by Ryan Brown (not yet titled), Roger Zare (“Biomimicry”), and Jonathan Russell (“Nomad Concerto,” featuring Jeff Anderle on bass clarinet)
Sunday, November 24, 2 p.m., War Memorial Opera House: This will be the penultimate (and only Sunday afternoon) performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, as has already been announced.
Sunday, November 24, 3 p.m., C4NM: This will be the Resonating Bodies concert previously announced.
Sunday, November 24, 4 p.m, Church of the Advent of Christ the King: The San Francisco Early Music Society will bring together two new medieval ensembles, Tres Hermanicas and Aquila, for a program exploring the Christian and Sephardic cultures of early Spain. The Christian side of the program will involve selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, which will alternate with traditional Sephardic songs. The three “siblings” of Tres Hermanicas are Nell Snaidas, Shira Kammen, and Daphna Mor. Kammen is also a member of Aquila, joined by Phoebe Rosquist, Michele Kennedy, Pater Maund, and Gari Hegedus.
The Church of the Advent of Christ the King is located at 261 Fell Street, between Franklin Street and Gough Street. The entry is diagonally across the street from the SFJAZZ Center. General admission is $50, with special rates for seniors ($45), SFEMS member ($42.50), and students ($15). Tickets may be purchased (with seat selection) online through the event page for this concert. As has previously been announced, limited subscription options are still available.
Sunday, November 24, 5 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica: Cappella SF, led by Artistic Director Ragnar Bohlin, will launch its 2019–2020 season with a program entitled Voyage: Exploring the essence of France. The journey of this “voyage” will begin in the late Medieval period with the music of Guillaume de Machaut and unfold a path leading into the twentieth century. The journey will end with a performance of Francis Poulenc’s cantata Figure humaine (human figure), scored four double mixed choir of twelve voices.
Mission Dolores Basilica is located on the southwest corner of Dolores Street and 16th Street. For those planning to drive, free parking will be available in the schoolyard, whose entrance is off of Church Street. General admission will be $45 with a $20 rate for students with identification shown at the door. VIP seating will be available for $60. The student rate will be available only at the door. Other tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Eventbrite event page.
The remaining two concerts in the Cappella SF season will also take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoons at Mission Dolores Basilica. Dates a program titles are as follows:
- February 16: Norther Voices: Musical gems from the Nordic countries
- May 17: Revelations from the East: Russian choral treasures
Eventbrite event pages have not yet been created for these concerts, but ticket prices will be the same.