Oakland Opera Presents Ellington’s ‘Queenie Pie’

  With a creamy smooth trumpet rising over the exotic beat and slightly moody sound, giving over to the close couple dance of flute and bass and followed by an ultra-cool sax solo, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra swung into the big band sound of Duke Ellington in the Oakland Opera Theater’s ebullient production of Queenie Pie, the jazz master’s only opera. ...

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’The Little Prince’ at Cal Performances

High flying with Saint-Exupéry A scrim of aerogrammes falling from the sky shades the middle of an enormous round portal like the window of an old fashioned ship, which in turn frames the front of the stage. A man enters dressed as an aviator from between the World Wars. He is followed and surrounded by children in striped pajamas and nightgowns, slippers on their feet. Addressing them, he begins his story of how when he was a child the pictures he drew were never...

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Bryn Terfel, Silver Tongued, at Cal Performances

“You’re a fabulous audience,” commented bass-baritone Bryn Terfel midway through the first half of his Thursday night recital at Cal Performances. Don’t they all say that? But walking forward to the edge of the stage, he added, “You can breathe, you know.” The audience laughed, and took a breath. That Terfel, a man born to perform, could so clearly feel the rapt attention of his audience and then mirror it back in a humorous and...

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‘Carmen’ at the Met

The Forces of Nature and Sexy Singers Conductor Emmanuel Villaume opened the New York Met’s production of Carmen, urging the orchestra on in an insistent and intensely performed overture, the brass section splashy and percussive against ominous strings. Throughout the evening, the orchestra’s interpretation of Bizet’s rhythmically shifting and melodically alluring music sustained this Carmen, teasing out its sensuality and rawness, its bravura and...

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New Contemporary Opera at Thick House

Love takes a spill Friday night saw the premiere of two works of opera with video backdrops at Thick House, San Francisco’s avant garde Potrero Hill theater. Clarinetist and composer Peter Josheff wrote “Francesca’s Complaint” to a libretto by Bay Area poet Jaime Robles. This fully-staged aria from Inferno, their opera-in-progress, featured soprano Eliza O’Malley accompanied by pianist Alexis Aldrich. Combining expressive movement with powerful singing,...

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