As was the case with this month, next month will begin with another “busy weekend.” The Summer Season of the San Francisco Opera (SFO) will be getting under way with opening night performances of two of the three operas planned for the month. Furthermore, Friday will again mark the beginning of the next month’s round of programming in the Old First Concerts (O1C) series, which will also be summarized. Specifics are as follows:
Friday, June 2, 7 p.m., Old First Presbyterian Church: This past Sunday the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) celebrated Mother’s Day with a performance for Noe Music. O1C will begin its programs for next month with SFGC Level IV presenting its final concert of the season. They will be led by their Director Monica Baruch. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by not only César Cancino at the piano but also Stefan Cwik on guitar, Heidi Modr on violin, and Jard Pabilona on bass. Texts will be in English, Latin, Polynesian, and Czech (if not more). There will be arrangements by Aaron Copland of the revivalist song “Zion’s Walls” and by Stephen Hatfield of Liliʻuokalani’s “Ahe Lau Makani” (the soft gentle breeze). Other contributing composers will be Otmar Mácha, Sarah Quartel, György Orbán, Ernani Aguiar, Felix Mendelssohn, and Felix Mendelssohn.
O1C events will continue to be “hybrid,” allowing both live streaming and seating in the Old First Presbyterian Church at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue. Seating will remain limited to 100 tickets, all being sold for $25 (no reduced rate for seniors or students). Tickets may be purchased through this concert’s event page. The remaining events of the month will be as follows with hyperlinks attached to the date and time of each the performances:
- Friday, June 9, 8 p.m.: Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel was a founding member of the Cypress String Quartet and is now Professor of Cello at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She will return to San Francisco to give a duo recital with pianist Allegra Chapman (who is based in San Francisco). The program will feature the world premiere of a duo sonata by Richard Aldag. The program will be framed by two major sonatas in the cello repertoire. The opening selection will be the second, in the key of D major, of the two Opus 102 sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven (and the last of the composer’s five cello sonatas). (Last year AVIE Records released a three-CD album of Kloetzel playing Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano accompanied by Robert Koenig.) The program will conclude with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s only cello sonata, his Opus 19 in G minor. The other composers to be included on the program will be Frank Bridge and Libby Larsen.
- Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m.: NACUSA was originally founded as the National Association of Composers and Conductors by Henry Hadley in 1933. It has had a San Francisco Bay Area Chapter for over twenty years, producing four to six concerts a year to showcase the work of its current membership of 45 composers. Works by these composers will be performed by Serenade, a chamber choir of 26 singers. Program details have not yet been finalized. [added 6/8. 3:05 p.m.: This concert has been postponed until Friday, September 8:
- Friday, June 23, 8 p.m.: Some readers may recall that Italian-Egyptian pianist Francesca Khalifa had to cancel her Sunset Music and Arts recital, which was scheduled for this past February. The program she has prepared for O1C is entirely different in content. She will begin with the first book in Claude Debussy’s Images collection. This will be followed by Three Passions for Our Troubled Planet by Brian T. Field, Béla Bartók’s Opus 14 suite, the third prelude-étude coupling by Gabriela Ortiz, and Miguel del Aguila’s “Conga.”] [added 5/25, 3:15 p.m.:
- Sunday, June 25, 4 p.m.: Pianist and harpsichordist Hilda Huang has been performing the cycle of the six keyboard partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach in a series of performances in the Bay Area. She will complete that cycle with performances of BWV 826 in C minor and BWV 829 in G major. Each of these selections will be coupled with a nineteenth-century selection. BWV 826 will be followed by one of the Two Legends of Franz Liszt, “The Sermon of St. Francis to the Birds.” BWV 829 will be followed by the eighth (and last) of the pieces in Robert Schumann's Opus 21 Noveletten.] [added 5/19, 2:25 p.m.:
Friday, June 2, 7 p.m., Bayview Opera House: 26 Ways of Looking at a Black Man, composed by B.E. (Brittney Elizabeth) Boykin and commissioned by the Merola Opera Program, will be given its world premiere, performed by Merola alumnus baritone Sidney Outlaw. He will be accompanied at the piano by Warren Jones. The program will also include works by Gabriel Fauré, Johannes Brahms, and William Grant Still. The performance will conclude with Deep Rivers by Mohammed Fairouz. This was scored for wind Quintet and baritone voice setting the poetry of Langston Hughes, the “Black Civil War Soldier's Chant,” and the traditional American spiritual “Deep River” with a new melody by Fairouz. Deep Rivers was premiered in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. Members of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with Outlaw for the Fairouz work. The full recital will run approximately 90 minutes with intermission. Tickets will be offered at a discounted price to community members and free to students. The Bayview Opera House is located at 4705 3rd St. and may be reached by the 3rd Street trolley.]
Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, 2 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: Opera Parallèle’s second contemporary opera production for this year will be the West Coast premiere of a new production and orchestration of Paul Moravec’s opera The Shining, setting a libretto by Mark Campbell based on the novel by Stephen King. The leading role of Jack Torrance (performed by Jack Nicholson in the movie) will be performed by baritone Kevin Deas. The other participating vocalists will be Edward Parks, Kearstin Piper Brown, David Walton, Nathan Granner, Timothy Murray, Eugene Brancoveanu, Christabel Nunoo, and Molly Mahoney. Once again, the production will be staged by Brian Staufenbiel, and Nicole Paiement will conduct. The performance will take place in the Blue Shield of California Theater. The duration will be two hours and twenty minutes, including one intermission. Ticket prices range between $40 and $180. Students may purchase tickets for $20. City Box Office has created a Web page with hyperlinks for purchasing tickets for all three performances.
Saturday, June 3, 7:30 p.m., War Memorial Opera House: SFO will begin the remainder of its season with a new staging of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, co-produced with the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation, Semperoper Dresden, and The Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen. The production was conceived by Amon Miyamoto and will be staged in San Francisco by Miroku Shimada, both making their respective SFO debuts. Music Director Eun Sun Kim will conduct and the Chorus Director will be John Keene. Also making her SFO debut will be soprano Karah Son in the “title” role of Cio-Cio-San. The role of B.F. Pinkerton will be sung by tenor Michael Fabiano in all but the final performance, where he will be replaced by Moisés Salazar. Mezzo Hyona Kim will take the role of Suzuki, and Adler alumnus baritone Lucas Meachem will portray Sharpless.
This production will be given eight performances at 7:30 p.m. on June 3, 6, 9, 21, 24, and 27, and July 1 and at 2 p.m. on June 18. Ticket prices range from $26 to $408; and, depending on location, there is a facility fee of either $2 or $3 per ticket. All tickets may be purchased in the outer lobby of the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue or by calling the Box Office at 415-864-3330. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. There is also a Web page with hyperlinks for purchasing tickets for all eight of the performances. In addition, there will be a livestream beginning at 7:30 p.m. on June 9. The charge will be $27.50, and it may be purchased through a separate Web page.
Saturday, June 3, 7:30 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: The contemporary chamber music group Ensemble for These Times will conclude its 2022–2023 season with a program entitled Crystal: 15th Anniversary Celebration. The program will feature the world premieres of two commissioned works: “Sparkle” by Vivian Fung and “Igbo Landing” by Marcus Norris. In addition the composer Sam Krahn will represent the 56x54 Call for Scores series with two selections from his composition entitled Missed Connections. Also there will be selected works by seven women and LGBTQIA composers:
- Vivian Fung
- Missy Mazzoli
- Melanie Mitrano
- Claudia Montero
- Gabriela Ortiz
- Elena Ruehr
- Brennan Stokes
The Noe Valley Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street. Tickets will be $30 for general admission, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. There will also be a free live-stream, as well as an option for donations. Tickets at all price levels (including free) are currently available for sale online through an Eventbrite Web page.
Sunday, June 4, 2 p.m., War Memorial Opera House: The second SFO production to be given its first performance will be Richard Strauss’ Opus 65, Die Frau ohne Schatten (the woman without a shadow). This is probably Strauss’ most enigmatic opera, even if its Wikipedia page describes it as “a fairy tale on the theme of love blessed through the birth of children.” The narrative is structured around four characters. The first of these, known only as “The Empress” (high dramatic soprano Camilla Nylund) has been unable to bear children. Her husband is The Emperor (tenor David Butt Philip, making his SFO debut). Distant from the remote world of royalty is Barak (bass-baritone John Reuter, also making his SFO debut), a dyer. His wife has given him three sons, the first with only one eye (high bass Philip Skinner), the second with only one arm (bass Wayne Tigges), and the third a hunchback (high tenor Zhengyi Bai). (All three of the vocalists will be performing their respective roles for the first time.) Roy Rallo originally staged this production for the Los Angeles Opera. The conductor will be Donald Runnicles and Keene will again direct the Chorus.
The first performance will be the only one to take place on a Sunday afternoon. There will be four performances at 7 p.m. on June 10, 20, 23, and 28. (Note the early start time. The approximate running time is three hours and 47 minutes, including two intermissions.) Ticket prices range from $26 to $464; and, depending on location, there is a facility fee of either $2 or $3 per ticket. All tickets may be purchased in the outer lobby of the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue or by calling the Box Office at 415-864-3330. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. There is also a Web page with hyperlinks for purchasing tickets for all five of the performances. In addition, there will be a livestream beginning at 7:30 p.m. on June 20. The charge will be $27.50, and it may be purchased through a separate Web page.
Sunday, June 4, 4 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: San Francisco Choral Artists will conclude its 2022–23 season with a program entitled Shakespeare & Friends. As usual, there will be world premieres by the Composer-in-Residence (José Daniel Vargas) and Composer-Not-in-Residence (Caroline Malionee). In addition, actor Kina Kantor will provide recitations to complement the music being performed.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission at the door will be $35 with a $30 rate for seniors and $15 for those under the age of 30. However, SFCA has created a Web page that will enable advance reservation on a pay-what-you-will basis.