Classical Music, Books, Theater, Dance
            The life of a zine is about a minute
                                                        ---San Francisco Chronicle headline.
            But clearly, they weren't talking about the arts-review 'zine!

            Welcome to the   SEVENTEENTH good-luck season underway at, the independent, non-commercial observer-critic of the arts, your best source in the San Francisco Bay Area for reviews.
            With weekly reviews on WHAT'S NEW on the arts scene: Modern music (non-commercial), premieres, theater reviews, dance, rarities, and, at times, new-book reviews involving Northern California authors or themes. On occasion, even a review or two from far-off lands. Also some  reports from the major symphonic, chamber and operatic concerts, all emphasizing new or modern creativity.
            Read the reviews first on Reports are compiled by veteran Bay Area critics Paul Hertelendy, D. Rane Danubian, Carol Benet, V.I. Hambleton, J. Charles, Georgia Rowe, Alix Schwartz, Karl Toepfer et al in a vast (?) staff of   good (very good!) collaborators. Then there's our secret-weapon time machine: roving critic Steven Emanuel, who scouts theater, thespians, books  and other themes in varied bailiwicks, anticipating hits that may land in Northern California before long.
         The 16th season had featured more than 100 reviews in toto from the above contributors---113, to be exact. The Greater S.F. Bay Area remains a bellwether in new works and modern approaches, as stimulating as ever, fed by an audience thirsty for the fresh, novel and profound. Most reviews appear within 24 hours after a performance..

       CURRENT REVIEWS and news follow, starting with the most recent :

  -- (SYMPHONY) A John Adams minimalist oldie paired with Stravinsky's imaginative tale "L'Histoire du Soldat." At SFS.
  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) The world premiere of Adams' Second Quartet has critics coming to Stanford from miles and miles away.
  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Piano left hand only? Marimba-cello duels? Kohl Mansion avoids the predictable.

  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) San Francisco's new SoundBox: A rainbox of offerings, drawing a new audience.
  -- (CHORUS) No accompaniment, no leader, and still Chanticleer dazzles in long-running Christmas program.
  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) In San Jose, the SJCO has a unique and innovative bent others might follow---if they dare!
  -- (NEW MUSIC) Stunning vocals by Amy X Neuburg propel 10 premieres with Dresher's band.
  -- (DANCE) There's nothing pedestrian about Jess Curtis & Gravity at intermission time.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Women musicians at the forefront of the S.F. Symphony, from French horns up to the podium.
       Earlier  reviews include:
   -- (DANCE) Smuin's "Christmas Ballet" is renewed and vigorous, even in November.
   -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Three centuries of engrossing string quartets in one vibrant concert.
-- (THEATER) Berkeley Rep's dualities in 'Party People:' reolutionaries and entertainment.
   -- (THEATER) Toibin's one-woman show 'Testament,' with differing perspectives on Jesus and Mary. At ACT.
  -- (NEW MUSIC) A huge undertaking in significant new work, with Berkeley and S.F. collaborating. But is any one listening??
  -- (MUSIC THEATER) Britten used 15th-century music and theater in "Curlew River"---and made it feel modern.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Seeking consolation: Dvorak's "Stabat Mater" with Czechs in Berkeley.
  -- (OPERA) Puccini's "Tosca" back at the S.F. Opera with a stunning new Armenian soprano.
  -- (SYMPHONY) S.F. Symphony takes a stab at an inflated ballet, then revels in Mozart with Gil Shaham's violin.

  -- (SYMPHONY) SF Symphony's Mahler 7th, ready for a great tour too.
  -- (DANCE) Berlin company of Sasha Waltz baffles, stimulates, improvises in 'Impromptu.'
  -- (SYMPHONY) Pianist Garrick Ohlsson goes for nuance, showing that the 'Rach 3' is no mere empty virtuoso vehicle.
  -- (CHAMBER) The versatile Kronos Quartet, in ethnic, vocal and world music written by women. At Stanford.
   -- (THEATER) ACT's 'Old Hats' with Bill Irwin offers clowns, laughs galore.
  -- (THEATER) 'Ideation' is a bold venture: comedy with a very dark side. At the S.F. Playhouse.
  -- (SYMPHONY) A modern-day impressionist, an Elgar, a Sibelius: vibrant opener at the Berkeley Symphony.
  -- (SYMPHONY) A deft modern program at the S.F. Symphony, capped by music from the space movie "2001."
  -- (SYMPHONY) Henry Brant's entertaining "Ice Field" deploys musicians like Napoleon deploying troops.
  -- (OPERA) The popular modern opera-tragedy of the heartland 'Susannah' takes wing with Patricia Racette in the title role.
  -- (THEATER) Workshop environment, but high drama: SFPlayhouse in Rossi play.
  -- (SYMPHONY) The rich Glanert pallette rings down the Cabrillo Festival finale resoundingly.
  -- (SYMPHONY) John Adams' Saxophone Concerto shows a less familiar persona at Cabrillo Festival.
  -- (OPERA) For its centennial, an ingenious Stravinsky “Le rossignol,” interwoven with Mozart's “The Impresario.”
  -- (OPERA) Both extremes of romanticism---tender and tough---energize Beethoven's powerful "Fidelio."
  -- (OPERA) The new "Dr. Sun Yat-Sen" has rocky transfer across the Pacific. At Santa Fe Opera.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Speranza" lights up Santa Cruz's Cabrillo Festival.
  -- (CHAMBER)  The lesser-known quartets by Zemlinsky show more than an opera composer, more than a Schoenberg relative.
  -- (SYMPHONY) The Midsummer Mozart Festival with an unknown opus and a fast-rising mezzo-soprano.
  -- (CHAMBER) The S.F., Peninsula's Music@Menlo series opens with the Escher Quartet, and curious Mozart.
  -- (OPERA) The vibrant tragedy of "Peter Grimes" spills over the SF Symphony in a semi-staged version.
  -- (OPERA) In-jokes, parodies, and guffaws in the new Denk-Stucky chamber opera "Classical Style," given by Ojai North.
  -- (SYMPHONY)  Timeless Balinese gamelan, and music of Russia, England. Somehow, it all works.
– (DANCE) ODC Dance's spring stunner is vibrant with scenery, videos.
  – (CHORUS) Galloping toward the Steppes, Chanticleer takes a turn toward the Russians.
  -- (OPERA) Chamber-sized opera-theater doing well in San Francisco.
  -- (THEATER) Aurora Theater's fiction about meetings of Hamlet, Faustus, Luther.
  -- (BALLET) Twin ballerinas, a sex-obsessed "Rite," and a few yawns at the S.F. Ballet.
  -- (THEATER) Is he crazy? Are we? Dealing with psychosis in McLean's surreal "Every Five Minutes."
-- (BALLET) Young Menlowe troupe offers flash-mobs, dance mosaics, jaunts to China.
-- (BALLET) Alexei Ratmansky's brilliant new trilogy works dazzle at the S.F. Ballet.

             LINKS TO SIMILAR SITES AROUND THE COUNTRY---A consortium of independent sites reviewing live performances around the country promises painless linkage and free surfing. Interested? Click here!
            Also, prominent West Coast entertainment writers have their own (rival!) web site now, featuring fresh columns on an almost-daily basis. Check out links.

             Stay tuned for more every week!
            Feedback time? Send comments to us to via e-mail (We'd like to use them as appropriate in our column entitled "Reader Ripostes." Label your e-mail  "letters to the editor" in the subject space).
             Or by mail to: Paul Hertelendy, Coordinator and Webmaster,, Box 1010, (note new box number!) Berkeley, CA 94701.
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