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  NINETEENTH  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, perhaps, 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 cr itics 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 18th season had featured 85 reviews in toto from the above contributors, bringing the grand total to date to more than 1900 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):

  -- (SYMPHONY) Philharmonia Orchestra of London plays Stravinsky, recalling his epic 1968 dedicatory concert in Berkeley.

  -- (MUSIC THEATER) The old Middle-Eastern tragedy of "Layla and Majnun" attains near-operatic dimensions, with dances by Mark Morris.

  -- (BALLET) Smuin Ballet has altered its name, but the late Michael Smuin still leaves his mark eloquently.

  -- (CHORUS) By the full moon, the elite all-male chorus Chanticleer unreels an evening of romantic music spanning six centuries. 

  -- (OPERA) Bright Sheng's world premiere opera "Dream of the Red Chamber"  illuminates  bygone Chinese court intrigues; in English.

  -- (MODERN MUSIC) Concerts of Steve Reich, turning 80, enkindle the new audiences at Davies Hall.

  -- (SYMPHONY) A unique new empty-podium premiere, in tribute to departing Music Director Alsop.

  -- (SYMPHONY) Space-walk euphoria, musical puzzles, new sounds: Cabrillo fascinates crowds no end

  -- (SYMPHONY) The affectionate farewell-love-in treatment of Music Director Marin Alsop at Cabrillo in Santa Cruz. 

  -- (SYMPHONY) Santa Cruz's Cabrillo Festival, with orchestral works of Clyne, MacMillan, Rouse.

  -- (OPERA) Oakland's lurid "Powder Her Face" sells  out---but don't take Grandma, nor the kiddies.

  -- (DANCE) The resourceful Garrett-Moulton company again pulls the rabbit out of the hat with the premiere "Speak, Angels." 

  Earlier reviews include:

  -- (SYMPHONY) Conductor Edwin Outwater humanizing the Tchaikovsky Fourth, with outside help.

  -- (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 Seiwert'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.

  -- (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.


             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