Classical Music, 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 EIGHTEENTH 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 17th season had featured 75 reviews in toto from the above contributors, bringing the grand total to more than 1800 reviews, almost all from the greater S.F. Bay Area. This 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 24 hours after a performance..

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

  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) A Russian digression at Music@Menlo, focused on the era 1850-1945 in Atherton.

  -- (DANCE) Innovation in movement, words, and generous dollops of dance-theater offered by Seiwart's "Imagery."

  -- (SYMPHONY) Mahler's Second, "Resurrection," brings down the S.F.S. season resoundingly.

  -- (NEW MUSIC) For contemporary song, who can surpass soprano-composer Amy X Neuburg?

  -- (SYMPHONY) Widmann flexes the orchestra's muscles in his new "Trauermarsch."

  -- (MUSIC THEATER) Ojai in Berkeley spotlights women, most notably Kaija Saariaho via her 'The Passion of Simone.' 

  -- (OPERA) Janacek's drama 'Jenufa' pits village morality vs. compassion. 

  -- (BALLET) The Smuin Ballet throws itself into modern ballet. But just how modern is it?

  -- (CHORUS) The Volti chorus offers voices, theater, dance, and a youth offshoot, offering even glimpses of Finland. 

  -- (THEATER) A cabin boy and Mountain Man outwit the consummate con man in the classic 'Treasure Island."

  -- (CHORUS) A Mother Lode of early and elaborate South American church music, brought to light by Chanticleer.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Joana Carneiro's rise, not fall, and a 'Frankenstein' tone poem at the adventurous Berkeley Symphony.

  -- (BALLET) The stunning evening-length 'Onegin' brings Old Russia back to the S.F. Ballet. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) The fast-rising Heras-Casado tackles Shostakovich's Ninth with the S.F.Symphony. 

  -- (BALLET) Forgetting toe shoes, the Oakland Ballet is innovating and enkindling small audiences.

  -- (OPERA) In a streamlined version, Previn's opera 'Streetcar Named Desire' spotlights a promising new soprano as Blanche.

       Earlier  reviews include:

  -- (BALLET) New Yorker Justin Peck enkindles the S.F. Ballet with a world-premiere entertainment.

  -- (THEATER) Sarah Treem play explores generational clash of scientists' theories.

  -- (THEATER) "Colossal:" A theater of football and dance---without all the concussions.

  -- (NEW CONCERT CONCEPTS) Will the new SoundBox concepts save the symphony orchestra? Tests in San Francisco.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Conductor Kent Nagano returns home with his sleek Montreal Symphony.

  -- (DANCE) ODC Dance Downtown series depicts, and wrestles with, optimism.

  -- (NEW SOUNDS) Living composers and a deafening wind ensemble enliven the S.F. Conservatory.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Cherubini's Requiem, which even Beethoven admired, and Rokeach's new Piccolo Concerto stimulate Oakland.

  -- (THEATER) Rachel Bond's new play about office life, "Swimmers," in Marin.

  -- (CHAMBER) In its swan-song season, the Cypress String Quartet premieres  yet another Dan Coleman work.

  -- (NEW SOUNDS) The unique Other Minds Festival in vocal pieces, including a 9th-century Papal skeleton standing trial.

  -- (DANCE) Kathak dance from India in a tribute to Chitresh Das, at Berkeley.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Star pianist Yuja Wang, a Russian program, and a Getty  world premiere.

  -- (BALLET) San Francisco's 'Swan Lake:' Technical perfection, yes, but as frigid as the Polar icecap.

  -- (SYMPHONY) The versatile Van-Ahn Vo brings her stimulating Vietnamese world premiere to Oakland. 

  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) A tribute to Menuhin, via English violinist-leader Daniel Hope.

  -- (SYMPHONY) A podium emergency, a step-in conductor, and bracing modern work save half the Berkeley Symphony program. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) Messiaen tramping through our national parks for an ubersized tone poem.

  -- (SYMPHONY) The St. Louis Symphony on tour scores with all-modern-music programs, and a Mahler jewel. 

  -- (BALLET) At S.F. Ballet, William Forsythe has a dance-till-you-drop format---an exhausting challenge. 

  -- (BALLET) Liam Scarlett's premiere 'Fearful Symmetries' invigorates 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.
           For dissent with the critics, letters to the editor, the occasional poem, and other variety, check out our Feature Page.
        If you liked, BOOKMARK it! We're open 24 hours a day, give or take a break for doughnuts and Java.
       Home-page illustration by Ann Hertelendy