ARTS COME ALIVE IN SAN
Welcome to the launch of the SIXTEENTH good-luck
season underway at www.artsSF.com, the
the arts, your best source in the San Francisco Bay Area for reviews.
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
With weekly reviews on WHAT'S NEW on the arts scene: Modern
(non-commercial), premieres, theater reviews, dance, rarities, and,
at times, new-book reviews
Northern California authors or themes. On occasion, even a review or
far-off lands. Also some reports from the major symphonic,
and operatic concerts, all emphasizing new or modern creativity.
Read the reviews first on artssf.com. Reports are compiled by veteran
Area critics Paul Hertelendy, D. Rane Danubian, Carol Benet, V.I.
Hambleton, J. Charles, Georgia Rowe, Alix
Karl Toepfer et al in a vast (?) staff
of a good (very good!) six-to-seven
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 15th season had featured nearly 100 reviews in toto
contributors---93, to be exact. The Greater S.F. Bay
Area remains a
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,
with the most recent:
-- (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.
-- (THEATER) 'Venus in Fur' at ACT: A play-within-a-play, and time
-- (SYMPHONY) The symphonic trip to India was rocky, but easier to
-- (THEATER) Dario Fo's anarchist play turns the tables upside down and
-- (DANCE) Grand enviro-designs at ODC Dance's new "boulders and
-- (SYMPHONY) Weill Hall and the Santa Rosa Symphony: A unique sonic
-- (BALLET) Ballet San Jose, looking stellar on stage, less so in the
-- (SYMPHONY) The new Boston Symphony conductor Nelsons and the Vienna
Philharmonic: transformative experiences.
-- (SYMPHONY) The St. Petersburgers bring gems from Russia, but draw no
-- (THEATER) 'Napoli!' spotlights chiseling prompted by economic
-- (RECITAL) Yo-Yo came, saw and conquered, in the Ma-Ax Duo playing
-- (BALLET) A stimulating (mostly) Russian program at SFB: 'Kingdom of
the Shades' and a reshuffled 'Firebird.'
-- (BALLET) S.F. Ballet's futuristic works: cool, athletic, ascetic.
-- (THEATER) Interracial living in historic old New Orleans aired in
-- (THEATER) Baryshnikov acting in a Chekhov tale of misalliance at
-- (SYMPHONY) Unpredictable Berkeley: a flamboyant Mendelssohn and an
overly intimate violin concerto premiere.
-- (SYMPHONY) As if in a nebulous dream, French works at the S.F.
Symphony, plus a less arresting Brahms with Grimaud.
-- (THEATER) Do you understand that raunchy British 'Rooster' in
"Jerusalem?" Do you need to?
-- (SYMPHONY) Osma Vanska's Sibelius glows, but pianist Trifanov brings
down the house.
-- (RECITAL) What was to be a Hamelin piano recital turned into
-- (BALLET) A fortified and powerful 'Giselle' at the S.F. Ballet,
addressing inherent weaknesses.
-- (SYMPHONY) Upbeat symphonic scene in Oakland---even a home-grown
-- (THEATER) The wit of Shaw buoyantly propels conflicts of industry
and charity via 'Major Barbara' at ACT.
-- (SYMPHONY) Martin Luther King's legacy is celebrated by the Marin
Symphony, adding some epic Copland.
-- (MODERN QUARTET) The Kronos Quartet ventures into the romantics, and
offers a whole new line of Glass.
-- (SYMPHONY) Mason Bates spotlighted for a month at the S.F. Symphony,
juxtaposed with Beethoven.
-- (SYMPHONY) Composer-financier Gordon Getty, a S.F. Symphony
premiere, and Placido Domingo turning Viennese too.
-- (CHAMBER) Britten's string quartets in a stimulating
-- (BALLET) Karen Gabay's different take on the traditional
"Nutcracker" at Ballet San Jose.
-- (CHORUS) Chanticleer's near-perfect sonorities bring in the
Christmas season back home in the Bay Area.
-- (MODERN QUARTET) The Kronos Quartet's gala 40th: New works, one 1970
epic, and many guest artists.
-- (SYMPHONY) An Australian's musical look at Gesualdo the Italian
comes full circle to Berkeley.
-- (THEATER) SF Playhouse's inner-city drama in "Storefront Church."
-- (THEATER) Berkeley Rep's "Tristan and Iseult" benefits from
Kneehigh, a zany song-and-dance troupe from Cornwall.
-- (CHOIR) England's Tallis Scholars unaccompanied at the cathedral:
Like trapezes without a net.
-- (BALLET) The Smuin Ballet's Christmas show: the sacred, the profane,
the jazzy, the irreverent, the farcical.
-- (SYMPHONY) Pacifism resonates eloquently in the "War Requiem" for
Britten's centennial, at S.F. Symphony.
-- (ORATORIO) Lembit Beecher's modern oratorio is an arresting
multi-media testament of times gone by.
-- (NEW MUSIC) 70,000 strokes on a tuned plank---can you still call it
a concert? Contemporary fun and games.
-- (THEATER) Mona Golabek's double duty as concert pianist and actress
is a poignant recollection of Holocaust escapes.
-- (SYMPHONY) The towering cultural asset in much-maligned Oakland: its
orchestra under Michael Morgan.
-- (SYMPHONY) The SFS goes on tour to New York with an audacious
-- (SYMPHONY) Estonian orchestra, Armenian cello whiz: happy surprises
to local audience at Stanford.
-- (CHAMBER MUSIC) A chip off the old block? John Adams' composer son
Sam follows other stylistic paths.
-- (SYMPHONY) Stellar young Spanish conductor at SFS with fascinating
-- (SYMPHONY) Campion's Berkeley premiere: Trying to squeeze a whole
world of sound into 18 minutes.
-- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) Extra rehearsals work wonders when New Century
C.O. plays Josef Suk Serenade.
-- (OPERA) Tobias Picker's new opera "Dolores Claiborne" makes for
chilling tragedy and violence.
-- (CHORUS) The all-male professional chorus Chanticleer broadens its
-- (THEATER) Old political wounds stir up frictions in Amy Herzog's
play at the Aurora, Berkeley.
-- (OPERA) A pinch-hitting tenor saves the day in mid-performance for
the SFO's 'Mefistofele.'
-- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Can you blend 17th and 20th-century music side by
side? Yes. says the Left Coast Ensemble.
-- (SYMPHONY) The young Canadian woman Zosha di Castri is a talent to
watch! At the S.F. Symphony.
(SYMPHONY) A pricey S.F. Symphony gala turned into a pops-concert,
plus cutups by perennial 'bad boy' Antheil.
Closing out at Mission San Juan Bautista gives the Cabrillo Festival a
-- (SYMPHONY) New orchestral music thrives, as Cabrillo turns 50.
-- (OPERA) This new "Oscar" is neither wild nor Wilde, in a social
critique decrying mistreatment of gays. At Santa Fe.
-- (OPERA) Rossini's "La donna del lago" provides roulades galore, and
coloratura par excellence, followed by "Traviata."
-- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Sampling the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, which
serves up sparkling Dutilleux night music.
-- (BALLET) Amy Seiwert's new troupe "Imagery" off to a rousing start.
-- (OPERA) Britten's deliciously economical opera "Turn of the Screw,"
with diaphonous ghosts singing, at West Edge Opera.
-- (THEATER) Is he truthful, or lying? LaBute's new play in Berkeley
walks a teetering tightrope.
-- (SYMPHONY) Once unleashing riots, "The Rite of Spring" now, after
100 years, elicits instant standing ovations.
-- (CHAMBER MUSIC) A string quartet, a folk instrument blend to
verbalize plight of Afghan refugees.
-- (OPERA) The mellifluous new Mary Magdalene opera by Adamo will shock
some, lull others. At S.F. Opera.
-- (MUSIC: SMALL ENSEMBLE) Ojai North travels to Berkeley in
-- (THEATER) Sarah Ruhl has an amazing knack for creating drama out of
historic letters read on stage. At Berkeley Rep.
-- (OPERA) June season opens with Offenbach's "Contes d'Hoffmann" in
bleak staging at S.F. Opera.
-- (SYMPHONY) They don't do baseball, but a British composer (Britten)
still provided a double play. At the S.F. Symphony.
-- (THEATER) Trivialities rise to the top in the lower-class realism of
the none-too-sober "Abigail's Party."
-- (THEATER) Stoppard's wordy discourses of "Arcadia" return to ACT
with British wit.
-- (SYMPHONY) S.F. Symphony under David Robertson doing best with the
most diifficult pieces, like Elliott Carter's.
-- (ORCHESTRA) A poetic, other-worldly premiere by Auerbach with the
New Century players, offsetting Haydn on speed.
-- (BALLET) The Smuin Ballet showcases visceral modern works by Pickett
and Moultrie while stumbling on Smuin.
-- (ON THE PODIUM) Swinging the stick isn't so easy: Conductors are
hobbled by ailments, too.
-- (BALLET) Madness, sexuality, and stunning statuary in Eifman
-- (DANCE)The Wheeldon "Cinderella" is a colossal spectacle for young
and old, worthy of annual revival.
-- (SYMPHONY) S.F. Symphony reviewing Beethoven, also in context of
John Adams' new "Absolute Jest."
-- (DANCE) Funk comes resonantly to life as David Dorfman plays Pied
Piper to the young dance fans.
-- (DANCE) Bassist Edgar Meyer is all over the stage, live, in Lines
Ballet's new feast for the eyes "Meyer."
-- (THEATER) ACT's docu-drama musical "Stuck Elevator," making 71
minutes seems like 81 hours.
-- (BALLET) The fiery passions of Hell, the white of the Heavens: The
S.F. Ballet offers each. Take your pick!
-- (BALLET) A modern treatment of Ibsen scores in S.F. Ballet's
-- (THEATER) Love gone awry in the play 'Reasons to Be Pretty.'
-- (OPERA) Some day, there'll be a great opera on the
post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. But not this one!
-- (MUSIC) New Century's strings light up the night with Chausson,
-- (NEW MUSIC) S.F. Contemporary Music Players delve into earnest
-- (SYMPHONY) Steven Stucky's sensitive new song cycle on Milosz poems
premiered by Berkeley Symphony, alongside Bruckner.
-- (SYMPHONY, DANCE) Unusual troika collaborations in symphony and
dance. How effective are they?
-- (BALLET) The Cranko 'Onegin' from Pushkin draws audience raves at
the S.F. Ballet's revival.
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