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 launch of 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:

  -- (OPERA) A rousing, opulent "Meistersinger" at the SFO, with---zounds!---acting too!

  -- (ORATORIO) A giant-scale world-premiere oratorio by Garrop, brought off by plucky local chorus.

  -- (OPERA) Two short Asian-Indian operas essayed, including Gustav Holst's "Savitri."

  -- (ENSEMBLE) The illustrious Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris mixes with Berkeley composers, with galactic impact.

  -- (RECITAL) Star violinist Koh, Beethoven, and new perspectives, in four-concert series.

  -- (RECITAL) 'Unplayable' modern rhythms: The hall still resonates from the daring Ades-Cheng Duo-Piano Recital.

  -- (THEATER) New work resonates in A.C.T.'s 'Monstress,' with a Filipino theme. 

  -- (CHAMBER) The Dali String Quartet brings Hispanic music, plus Mozart, joined by clarinetist Ricardo Morales.

  -- (OPERA) Berger's new "My Lai Lullaby" dramatizes darkest moments of the Vietnam War.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Ms. Malkki has a gift for conducting  Sibelius.

       Earlier  reviews include:

  -- (THEATER) 'Dogfight,' a new musical in a post-Bernstein vein.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Saariaho's 'Magic Lantern' is a light show for the ears. in Berkeley. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) The thriving symphony in Oakland has a new name, new work, new concertmaster. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) MTT getting a little help with new work opening the  S.F. Symphony subscription season. 

  -- (OPERA) The Bay Area's opera season takes off with a bang, spotlighting the murderous Greek queen Medea. In Oakland.

  -- (CHORUS) Singing in Italian, German, Latin, even Maori, the unaccompanied Chanticleer singers wow their audience.

  -- (BALLET) Writers inspiring new choreography at the Bay Area's Smuin Ballet.

  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) The highs and lows of a Russian program opening the N.C.C.O. season in Berkeley.

  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Period instruments in Berkeley. And have you heard Beethoven's "Transplant" Quartet?

  -- (SYMPHONY) Composer MacMillan obliterates all thought of jinxes at Cabrillo. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) Young orchestral composers spotlighted at Cabrillo Festival, Santa Cruz (CA). 

  -- (CHAMBER) Dashing young composers at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's center stage.

  -- (OPERA) Oakland's "Lulu," a classic silk purse from a sow's ear success story.

  -- (OPERA) World premiere "Cold Mountain" by Higdon spotlights ordeals of Civil War citizenry. At Santa Fe Opera. 

  -- (OPERA) Masterful interplay of Rigoletto with the daughter makes ujp for flaws. At Santa Fe Opera.  

  -- (OPERA) Salome, in more modern garb, survives retribution. At Santa Fe Opera. 

  -- (OPERA) Monteverdi's "Ulysses" brought vividly to life, almost 400 years later.

  -- (DANCE) Robert Dekkers' Post: Ballet troupe dazzles in S.F.

  -- (THEATER) Anna D. Smith's one-woman show of interviews interacts with the pen-and-paper-wielding audience.  

  -- (THEATER) Sondheim's inventive musical "Company" offers cross-over delights.  

  -- (CHAMBER) The 13th year is no jinx for Music@Menlo in Atherton, CA, highlighting Schubert. 

  -- (DANCE) A wealth of dance from four continents at the S.F. International Arts Festival.

  -- (OPERA) The epic Berlioz opera about the Trojans invades the S.F. Opera stage. Susan Graham caps a solo cast of more than two dozen.

  -- (OPERA) World War Two atrocities and the triumph of the spirit in the world-premiere Italian opera "Two Women," at S.F. Opera.

  -- (SYMPHONY) A bold new theatrical treatment of Beethoven's great mass at S.F. Symphony: MTT's stunning concept.

  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) The dazzling New Century players tackle old Schubert, new Bermel.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Despite adultery in the opera, SF Symphony's Spanish program is just watery gazpacho.

  -- (THEATER) Berkeley Rep comedy updates, adapts Goldoni from 17th century.

  -- (THEATER) SFPlayhouse goes Pinteresque in world-premiere "Trouble Cometh."     

  -- (BALLET) The great vitality of Oakland Ballet's golden anniversary concert. But will it launch the next 50?

  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Jon Nakamatsu and the Farallon Quintet peruse chamber music over four centuries. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) One of the S.F. Symphony's best nights of all, rendering compelling Bartok and Mozart.

  -- (DANCE) Smuin Ballet explores many genres including some pop culture, following the late Michael Smuin's lead.  

  -- (SYMPHONY) Oakland in a rousing concert version of Bernstein's 'Candide.'

             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