Thursday, May 25, 2023

Museo Italo Americano to Host Two Concerts

One of the displays at the Museo Italo Americano (photograph by Ando Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography, courtesy of SFO)

The Museo Italo Americano, which is located in Landmark Building C at the Fort Mason Center, has mounted a new exhibition to celebrate the Centennial Season of the San Francisco Opera (SFO). This is the first museum in the United States devoted exclusively to Italian and Italian-American art and culture. The title of the exhibition will be, appropriately enough, BRAVO—Celebrating San Francisco Opera, Its Italian Roots and Legacy. It was prepared by Museo in partnership with both SFO and the Museum of Performance + Design, and it will run through this coming October 22.

The content of the exhibition will trace the history of Italian opera in the city of San Francisco, which was founded on June 29, 1776, from the Gold Rush years through the establishment of SFO in 1923 and up to the present. It will provide a rare opportunity to view silent film footage from the Thirties, including scenes with founder Gaetano Merola. The exhibits will include costumes, headpieces, programs, and historic photographs. There will also be QR codes for listening to musical excerpts.

As might be anticipated, the museum will also host a concert entitled Arias and Instrumentals. Mezzo Laura Krumm will be accompanied by the EOS Ensemble, a string quartet directed by violinist Craig Reiss, consisting entirely of members of the SFO Orchestra. The other members of the quartet are violinist Maya Cohon, violist Joy Fellows, and cellist Thalia Moore.

All five musicians will join forces for a performances of Ottorino Respighi’s “Il Tramonto” (the sunset), setting a text by Percy Bysshe Shelley. (The work can also be performed by mezzo and string orchestra.) The quartet will also perform Giacomo Puccini’s “I Crisantemi” (the chrysanthemums) and the second (Andantino) movement from Giuseppe Verdi’s 1873 string quartet (also performed by string orchestra in an arrangement by Arturo Toscanini). The other instrumental selections will be arrangements of the overtures to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 492 opera The Marriage of Figaro and Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, along with the Intermezzo from Pietro Mascagni’s one-act “Cavalleria rusticana.”

Krumm will sing two arias from George Frideric Handel’s HWV 40 opera Serse (Xerxes). Her other two selections will draw upon the first two of the three Figaro plays by Pierre Beaumarchais. She will begin the program with “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro. She will subsequently conclude the program with “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville.

This program will be given two performances, the first at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, and the second at 1  p.m. on Saturday, June 3. (The second program will include a musical show-and-tell, so families with children will be welcome.) The venue will be the BATS Improv Bayfront Theatre, which is also in the Fort Mason Center in Landmark Building B. Admission will be $50 for the general public. Museo members will be admitted for $40, and there will be no charge for children under the age of sixteen. Museo has created a Web page with hyperlinks for purchasing tickets online for both of the performance dates.

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