The “other” Jupiter Quartet

Russian program at Berkeley’s Christian Science Hall The Berkeley Art Center, long a gathering spot for local creativity, hosts concerts and readings along with its varied and sometimes provocative art shows. Marvin Sanders, flutist and director of Live Oak Concerts, runs...

Continue reading

foolsFURY Factory Festival

Physical theater and performance The room we are milling around in is a small black box. On three walls are projected newsreel footage from World War II. Nazis march in lines, Churchill stands before an assembly, J. Robert...

Continue reading

‘La Traviata’ at San Francisco Opera

Demimondaine to flapper The current production of La Traviata at the San Francisco Opera was developed for the Los Angeles Opera, and it bears all the qualities of that company’s artistic style: it is elegant and spacious, with lighting and set designs that are dramatic yet spare and that project profound wealth through a sure physical allure. The production is directed by Marta Domingo. Married to Plácido, she is yet another member of that outrageously talented...

Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony’s ‘Iolanthe’

Tripping hither, tripping thither ...  When the San Francisco Symphony’s chorus members enter the stage at Davies Hall, they are all in formal black. The women, though, are sporting huge, dressy hats, shaped in brightly colored semi-transparent netting. One woman seems to have a swan perched on her head. It’s all perfectly in keeping with the bright pink patterned sections where they are sitting—the women on one side, the men on the other—divided by a bright...

Continue reading

New York Philharmonic—Two requiems and the end of an era

Lorin Maazel, whose 65-plus-year career spanned from child prodigy to conductor of the New York Philharmonic, is retiring from that organization at the end of this season. His seven years with them oversaw a host of radio broadcasts, the advent of web video and a commission for the events of 9/11—John Adam’s On the Transmigration of Souls. In addition, he brought a deep musicality and helped develop a signature sound, earning the love of his musicians. Oh, and he even brought them...

Continue reading

San Francisco Opera’s ‘Porgy and Bess’

Sing the luxurious voice It’s a little known but not secret fact that bass-baritone Eric Owens is a killer Ping-Pong player. All those years backstage—waiting for technical crews, directors, costumers, repetitions of songs and scene changes,...

Continue reading