AN ARRESTING NEW AMERICAN-AND-CHINESE OPERA

AN ARRESTING NEW AMERICAN-AND-CHINESE OPERA

With the SFO’s “Red Chamber” World Premiere By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Sept. 14-21 , 2016 Vol. 19, No. 2 The new Chinese opera-tragedy “Dream of the Red Chamber” offers high drama after a lengthy, opulent prologue, turning a classic novel into an opera that is closer to a musical feast than to consistent theater. The emigre Chinese composer Bright Sheng has created a rich, listenable score astutely…

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STEVE REICH CONQUERS SAN FRANCISCO

STEVE REICH CONQUERS SAN FRANCISCO

Surprise! A Living Composer Who Is a Hit Number By Paul Hertelendy artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance Week of Sept. 12-19, 2016 Vol. 19, No. 1 Never forget that physics course you took. It can help you where you least expect it. When I interviewed composer Steve Reich here in 1965, I referred to his musical style as “phase-shift music,” using terminology encountered in the Theory of Oscillations in physics. He liked the…

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A UNIQUE, EMPTY-PODIUM TRIBUTE

A UNIQUE, EMPTY-PODIUM TRIBUTE

Again, Cabrillo Does It its Own Way By D. Rane Danubian artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Aug. 15-22,  2016 Vol. 18, No. 85 SANTA CRUZ—The high affection of the Cabrillo orchestra members for outgoing conductor Marin Alsop resulted in a tribute probably unique since the days of Napoleon. They commissioned composer Kevin Puts to write a piece for her, to be played with an empty podium. Puts’ “Last August,” to mark…

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ORCHESTRAL PUZZLES, SCI-FI VENTURES

ORCHESTRAL PUZZLES, SCI-FI VENTURES

Cabrillo Festival Mantra: Never Look Back By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Aug. 14-21, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 84 SANTA CRUZ—-Astute programming brought off the Cabrillo Festival concert featuring a knuckle-busting violin concerto, a sci-fi-oriented score, and a scherzo with a puzzle. Take note of Bay Area composer Mason Bates, 39, who marches to a very different drummer from the rest. His “B-Sides,” inspired by terminology of recordings, combines…

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ALSOP LOVE-IN AT CABRILLO

ALSOP LOVE-IN AT CABRILLO

New Works by Adams et Al Resonate in Santa Cruz By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Aug. 6-13, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 83 SANTA CRUZ—Though her departure was still a week away, Cabrillo’s Music Director Marin Alsop was given a farewell-love-in treatment in the concerts of Aug. 6. Rarely has a conductor been held in such high esteem by audience and players alike; to judge by the accolades and…

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ALSOP’S FINALE CABRILLO SEASON

ALSOP’S FINALE CABRILLO SEASON

Arresting Works of MacMillan, Rouse, Clyne  By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Aug. 6-13, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 81 SANTA CRUZ, CA—Rarely known for its performing arts, Santa Cruz trumps them all every August with its Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, a nonpareil orchestral showpiece with music of the past decade as well as numerous important American composers in person, living and breathing (zounds!). These range from Old Guard…

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SEX RULES THE OPERA STAGE

SEX RULES THE OPERA STAGE

The Raw English Hit ‘Powder Her Face’ in Oakland By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Jan. 6-13, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 11 OAKLAND—Thomas Adès’ opera “Powder Her Face” is a devastating social critique condemning women’s inequality as well as the excesses of the Idle Rich, based on fact. Or, it’s a two-hour exercise in audience titillation showing various freelance sexual practices, some of them more natural than others. Take…

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GARRETT-MOULTON’S LIVE CONSTELLATION OF DANCE

GARRETT-MOULTON’S LIVE CONSTELLATION OF DANCE

  The Biggest-Little Show, Complete with Singers, Musicians By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 29, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 80 The dance group Garrett + Moulton puts on an admirable spectacle, bringing forth yet another local ensemble investing heavily in multi-dimensional live dance theater. G&M’s “Speak, Angels” spotlights six dancers, seven instrumentalists, five singers, plus a unique 18-member “movement group” in a tightly organized, fast-flying, hour-long concert. The…

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OUTWATER ELOQUENT IN TCHAIKOVSKY 

OUTWATER ELOQUENT IN TCHAIKOVSKY 

In Bill Shared by Rachmaninoff By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 24-31, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 79 This time of year, the San Francisco Symphony serves up a melange–some pop artists, some movies with live orchestral accompaniment, and a few classical concerts with mainline repertoire which resemble Tanglewood’s doings in Massachusetts—familiar works which can be played on minimal rehearsal time. An all-Russian concert program materialized in this mix…

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THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

Chamber Works Focused 1850-1945  By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 20-27, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 78 ATHERTON, CA—During the summer doldrums, count on Music@Menlo to liven up the scene with prime chamber music. Admittedly, it’s a challenge, given this year’s Russian theme. Serious Russian music didn’t stir noticeably  till Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert were gone. But in the opening week, Music@Menlo offered a package of early works by…

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