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 launch of the   SIXTEENTH 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 15th season had featured nearly 100 reviews in toto from the above contributors---93, 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) 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.
       Earlier  reviews include:: 
  – (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.
  -- (THEATER) 'Venus in Fur' at ACT: A play-within-a-play, and time fluctuates precariously.
  -- (SYMPHONY) The symphonic trip to India was rocky, but easier to Beethoven's Vienna.
  -- (THEATER) Dario Fo's anarchist play turns the tables upside down and mines farce.
  -- (DANCE) Grand enviro-designs at ODC Dance's new "boulders and bones."
  -- (SYMPHONY) Weill Hall and the Santa Rosa Symphony: A unique sonic experience.
  -- (BALLET) Ballet San Jose, looking stellar on stage, less so in the back seats.
  -- (SYMPHONY) The new Boston Symphony conductor Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic: transformative experiences.
  -- (SYMPHONY) The St. Petersburgers bring gems from Russia, but draw no pro-Ukrainian pickets.
  -- (THEATER) 'Napoli!' spotlights chiseling prompted by economic inequalities.
  -- (RECITAL) Yo-Yo came, saw and conquered, in the Ma-Ax Duo playing Brahms.
  -- (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 new play.
  -- (THEATER) Baryshnikov acting in a Chekhov tale of misalliance at Berkeley.
  -- (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 siren-Steinway duets.
  -- (BALLET) A fortified and powerful 'Giselle' at the S.F. Ballet, addressing inherent weaknesses.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Upbeat symphonic scene in Oakland---even a home-grown cello virtuoso.
  -- (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 lecture-demonstration series.
  -- (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 repertoire.
  -- (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 program. 
  -- (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 repertoire again.
  -- (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.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Closing out at Mission San Juan Bautista gives the Cabrillo Festival a unique flavor.
  -- (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.
             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!
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