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   SEVENTEENTH 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 16th season had featured more than 100 reviews in toto from the above contributors---113, 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 

  -- (THEATER) Berkeley Rep stages "Head of Passes."

  -- (THEATER) African-American themes dominate, ACT doing "Let There Be Love."

  -- (BALLET) Possokhov's new "Swimmer" for S.F. Ballet raises the bar in visual-techno-enhancement.

  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Can percussion cohabit with a string quartet? Kapucsinski's premiere offers a clever solution.  

  -- (BALLET) All-Ratmansky program: A breath-taking new ballet voice resonating coast to coast.  

       Earlier  reviews include:
  -- (THEATER) A revised version of "Tartuffe" at center stage at Berkeley Rep.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Composer John Adams' newly premiered dramatic symphony traces new directions in his large oeuvre. (In NYC.)

  -- (SYMPHONY) The Santa Cruz Symphony under new 2nd-year leadership brings off an ambitious multicultural program.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Pass the piroshki! All-Russian program in Santa Rosa, with a pair of concertos.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Symphony Silicon Valley reverberates with all-Shostakovich program (quite saxy!).
  -- (BALLET) Chicago's Joffrey Ballet is ultra-modern, cherry-picking former Bay Area talents.
  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) String quartets abound in the Bay Area as they play Dvorak and Erwin Schulhoff in a Czech-Bohemian program.
   -- (NEW MUSIC) The new-music series SoundBox continues, with multimedia, videos and turn-away crowds.

   -- (SYMPHONY) The English touch at the S.F. Symphony, with a composer-conductor's brilliantly conceived program.
  -- (SYMPHONY) Struggles with Brahms Violin Concerto: Ms. Mutter possibly indisposed. And those overachieving trumpets! 
  -- (SYMPHONY) Jake Heggie's formidable new song cycle on the sculptor Camille Claudel waxes operatic at Berkeley Symphony.
  -- (BALLET) An amazingly bright exercise in darkness from a precocious new choreographer at the S.F. Ballet.
  -- (NEW MUSIC) Hot and cold new music in Berkeley, capped by Ken Ueno's mini-concerto 'Zetsu.'

  -- (THEATER) Turning tragedy into riotous comedy: "The Lyons" at Berkeley's Aurora. 
  -- (THEATER) Sam Shepard's 'A Lie of the Mind' revived at the Magic Theatre.
  -- (OPERA) Dusted off, from the top shelf: Weiser's tragedy 'Where Angels Fear to Tread,' with a unique lapdog obbligato, in San Jose.
  -- (RECITAL) Cellist Alisa Weilerstein goes solo, very solo, in a highly challenging program.
   -- (OPERA) World-premiere "Lariat" peruses Mission conflicts of padres with Indians.
   -- (THEATER) Tom Stoppard's "India Ink:" Is chattiness next to godliness?

  -- (BALLET) Themes from Africa, Japan, Russia in versatile S.F. Ballet's new program.
  -- (THEATER) At SF Playhouse, "Tree" struggles to bear fruit.
  -- (NEW MUSIC) When is it experimental sounds, when is it music? Provocative issues raised in Berkeley concert.
  -- (PIPE ORGAN) Paul Jacobs impresses with Messiaen's meaty late work for solo organ.

  -- (SYMPHONY) A John Adams minimalist oldie paired with Stravinsky's imaginative tale "L'Histoire du Soldat." At SFS.
  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) The world premiere of Adams' Second Quartet has critics coming to Stanford from miles and miles away.
  -- (CHAMBER MUSIC) Piano left hand only? Marimba-cello duels? Kohl Mansion avoids the predictable.
  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) San Francisco's new SoundBox: A rainbox of offerings, drawing a new audience.
  -- (CHORUS) No accompaniment, no leader, and still Chanticleer dazzles in long-running Christmas program.
  -- (CHAMBER ORCHESTRA) In San Jose, the SJCO has a unique and innovative bent others might follow---if they dare!
  -- (NEW MUSIC) Stunning vocals by Amy X Neuburg propel 10 premieres with Dresher's band.

             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.
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