ART hound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

“God’s Fiddler”—a new film about the life of the great violin master, Jascha Heifetz, screens this Tuesday, October 30, at the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival

Mysterious at his core, contradictory, visionary, incredibly difficult—legendary violin master Jascha Heifetz wears the genius label well.  Heifetz’ life (1901-1987) spanned nearly the entire 20th century, starting at the very dawn of the age of recording technology—when most people still traveled by horse and buggy—and ending on the forefront of the digital age.  And for most of that long life, when it came to the violin, he ruled.  Born in Vilnius, Lithuania (then a part of Russia), the child prodigy, took up the violin at three at his father’s knee.  At seven, he studied in the fabled St. Petersburg Conservatory with Russian virtuoso Leopold Auer, acknowledged as the greatest teacher of his time.  At ten, he was mobbed at his famous public debut concert in St. Petersburg; at eleven, he made his European debut.  At sixteen, in 1917, he escaped revolutionary Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway for a new life in America.  That same year, he gave his first concert in America at Carnegie Hall and he became an immediate sensation.  Yitzhak Perlman, who has a presence throughout the film said, “When I spoke with him, I thought, ‘I can‘t believe it.  I’m talking with God.’”

Filmmaker Peter Rosen tackles Heifetz’ life and far-reaching influence in his 2011 feature length documentary Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler,” which screens this Tuesday, October 30, 2012, at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol as part of the 17th Annual Jewish Film Festival.   The program will include a special guest appearance by musician Ayke Agus, Heifetz’ student, accompanist, and companion, who appears in the film, and who will speak and play after the screening.  Angus first met Heifetz as a violin student in his master class at University of Southern California and had extensive involvement in life in his later years.  Many say she knew him better than anyone.  She is the author of Heifetz As I Knew Him (Amadeus Press, 2001).

Award-winning director, producer and editor Peter Rosen has made 49 films, many about musicians—from Leonard Bernstein: Reflections (1978) to Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood (1990) to Nobuyuki Tsujii Live at Carnegie Hall (2012).  Prior to watching Rosen’s latest, God’s Fiddler, I had little exposure to Heifetz and his legacy and, in that, I am not alone—there is a whole generation who are too young to have any personal experience with his playing.  The film itself does a great job of explaining the creative environment surrounding this great violinist whose music was unparalleled and whose spell was overpowering for those in close contact with him.  Thoroughly researched, it draws on 300 hours of film and 2,000 photos and fascinating personal and professional memorabilia taken from 1903-1987.  A recently discovered cache of Heifetz’ own home movies surface for the first time here too.  The photos are all the more special for their great historical significance.  We are privy to the family leaving St. Petersburg on the heels of the great Russian Revolution, to his early European tours, and to stirring shots of Heifetz interacting with the troops during his three year USO tour during WWII.  The film is also sprinkled richly with clips of Heifetz playing, though many of those are time-weathered and there is some distortion of the sound.

For anyone looking for an enthralling story, or to simply sort out fact from lore, the film delivers.  It includes musicians who knew him and heard him play live chiming in on what made his playing so special.  While it is well known that Heifetz’ expressive tone was coupled with technical perfection, beyond numerous accolades, there is not much discussion of his actual technique or the actual substance of his playing.  Heifetz is touted as the first modern violinist but there is no explanation of what modernity means in musical terms.

As for his personality, it is well-known that Heifetz was stoic, but professionals put the oft-repeated accusation that he was cold in context.  Violinist Ida Haendel says assuredly, “His playing was so passionate. I am astounded that people don’t realize it. They thought that he was cold— and it was fire, absolute fire!”

The film also devotes time to Heifetz’ stern teaching methods evidenced in several student anecdotes of his master classes.  Time flies and these students are now seniors.  Many pursued careers in music and have had years to reflect on their interaction with Heifetz and the importance of a mentoring relationship.  The word mentor, in fact, never comes up.  While there is no connection drawn between his perfectionistic and controlling father, the implication is obvious—it left scars on his son, who also was very controlling and, at times, despotic with his pupils.  This is all the more interesting in that the film delves into the exacting blow that a single negative review had on Heifetz when he was at his peak professionally.  He took the criticism to heart and it caused him to work all the harder and to rekindle his devotion to his artistry.  Heifetz was harsh but never demanded more from his students than he demanded of himself and those who stayed the course seem to have benefitted immensely as musicians.

Jascha Heifetz was ahead of his time with his understanding of the importance of protecting the environment. In the early 1960’s, he drove a custom-made electric car and spoke out against the Los Angeles smog. Image: Jascha Heifetz.com

Particularly enjoyable segments of the film include his affluent lifestyle in Southern California, enabled by his high concert and teaching fees, income from recordings and shrewd money management.  His career lasted more than 60 years and for many of those years, following his arrival in the States, he was paid upwards of $100,000 per concert.  He was connected intimately with the history of recording, logging more studio time than any other violinist, committing to disc virtually the entire violin repertory, along with a substantial amount of chamber music.  He sold more records than any violinist in history, so many that, even after he stopped making records, he was on a $100,000 permanent annual retainer from RCA Victor, his lifelong record label.  This enabled him to live well and he maintained a beach house in Malibu.  He also lived thoughtfully.  He was so concerned about the environment and the unacceptable level of air pollution in Los Angeles that he bought a custom-built electric car in 1966, the first on West Coast.  The film shows footage of him tooling around in this little dream machine which reportedly could go 45 mph for 45 to 70 miles, depending on his driving efficiency.

The film leaves us hungering for more about Heifetz the man.  There is precious little, save at the end, about his family life which includes two ex-wives and several children.  Sadly, no one says he was a friend of Heifetz.   The natural question that emerges is what price did he pay for his genius?  The implication of the film is that there were sufferings and misunderstandings that he never worked through in his lifetime, though he was celebrated day in and day out.  And the larger looming question—what are the proper conventions for dealing with genius?  And the larger musical question—violin playing has evolved since Heifetz, what is his musical legacy and how does that impact how we define today’s virtuosos?

As it stands, the thoughtful film brings up many questions and is best seen in the company of a musician who can offer more substantial explanations of topics broached in the film.  The screening at the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival with Ayke Agus will provide an excellent forum for discussion.  For purposes of this review, I asked Wayne Roden, a friend of mine and violist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to watch this film.  Wayne’s enthusiasm for Heifetz is contagious and, not only did he find Rosen’s film engaging, on several occasions, he got up and actually demonstrated what was unique about Heifetz’s bow grip, speculating how he got that silken sound out of his violin.

Violist Wayne Roden, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, on Jascha Heifetz’ Bow Grip

Run time: 87 minutes. English with Russian dialogue. Director: Peter Rosen; Screenplay: Sara Lukinson; in collaboration with WDR, Arte, Euroarts Music International; Produced by Peter Rosen.

With: Jascha Heifetz, Itzhak Perlman, Ayke Agus, Seymour Lipkin, Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, John Maltese, Bill Van Horn.

Details: Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler screens Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at the Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley Street, Sebastopol as part of the 17th Annual Jewish Film Festival.  The festival presents six Thursday evening shows and runs through December 4, 2012.  Remaining screenings include:

Kaddish for a Friend Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Nicky’s Family, Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Reuniting the Rubens, Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

A.K.A. Doc Pomus, Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Hava Nagilia, Tuesday, December 4, 7:30 p.m. Special Program: Filmmaker Roberta Grossman (Blessed Is The Match, SCJFF 2009) will speak and answer questions after the screening.

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Classical Music, Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SF Opera’s Lyrical Lohengrin—singers, chorus and orchestra add up to music for the ages…meet Camilla Nylund this Sunday when she signs cds

Now in his 4th season with San Francisco Opera, Music Director Nicola Luisotti has proven many times over that when a production is theatrically flat, he will awaken it musically.  And that he did on Saturday, dazzling again, as he energetically tackled Wagner for the first time ever in San Francisco Opera’s production of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, which runs through Friday, November 9, 2012.  At Saturday’s premiere performance, the lush music coming from Luisotti’s orchestra directed the singers and Ian Robertson’s marvelous opera chorus as they filled the opera house with one of the most musically memorable Lohengrins ever.

But as divine as the music was, British theatre and opera director Daniel Slater’s production itself was disappointing.  Abandoning Wagner’s 10th century Belgium setting and, instead, taking  inspiration from the military and political contexts surrounding the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Slater’s update could have been interesting but failed to fly.  When combined with Robert Innes Hopkins’ dull sets and bland costumes, the result was a visually drab experience that made me wonder if this was the same opera company that had so delighted us this summer with its astoundingly visual Magic Flute, brought to life by artist Jun Kaneko.  With the advent of high-definition video via satellite (HD simulcast), which has become increasingly popular since its introduction in 2006, opera has reached a turning point.  Production values need to be as high as musical values, otherwise the result is major attrition from live local performances to the $23 (cheaper) and sometimes immensely more interesting HD broadcast offerings available at the local movie theatres.

Why see this production then?  Tenor Brandon Jovanovich is one reason.  The entire opera is anchored by his superb and consistently lyrical singing in the role of Lohengrin, the mysterious Knight of the Grail, who appears to defend the princess Elsa who has been accused wrongly of the murder of her brother.  Jovanovich, who delivered a vibrant Siegmund in SFO’s 2011 production of Die Walküre, was again mesmerizing and unfaltering all night long in the vocally grueling role.  While his most notable arias are in Act III— “In fernem Land” and Mein lieber Schwan—his singing throughout was big and yet expressively romantic.  His voice blended beautifully with Finnish soprano, Camilla Nylund, his love interest.  From the moment Jovanovich/Lohengrin came on stage to bid the swan farewell, there was no question that Elsa would agree to marry him and to never ask his name or history.  This tall and strapping stranger was in all ways heroic and the roaring ovation he received from the audience was well-deserved.

In her San Francisco Opera debut, the Finnish soprano, Camilla Nylund, captured the maiden Elsa’s dreamy nature and sung beautifully.  She’s a truly tragic heroine whose idealistic faith and trust are shattered.  She enters in Act I wrongfully accused of murder and spends most of Acts II and III in anxiety, as she is humiliated on her way to the altar.  She then breaks her martial vow and later collapses.  A particularly juicy moment came when Nylund unleashed her considerable vocal reserve on Petra’s Lang’s cunning, showing that she was not all milk toast.  Her voice blended well with Jovanovich, particularly in their Act III duet ‘Das süsse Lied verhallt’ (Love duet).

Mezzo Soprano Petra Lang, who made quite an impression in her 2007 SF Opera debut as the sizzling Venus in Tannhäuser, again brought a dramatic flair to her role that was on par with excellent singing.   As Ortrud, the old-world sorceress who really stirs the drama, Lang seemed to delight in vexing the vulnerable Elsa.  Dressed in a business suit that evoked the bright blue of the old two-stroke East German Trabbi (Trabant), synonymous with the communist bloc, the fiery redhead seemed completely at home in the role, despite the awful costume.  Lang has sung Ortrud in Berlin, Budapest, Bucharest, Vienna, Geneva, London and Edinburgh and will reprise the role later this season at the Bayreuth Festival.  On Saturday’s opening performance, her voice was bursting with energy and her performance far more compelling than Nylund’s.

German bass-baritone Gerd Grochowski was outstanding as Ortrud’s husband Friedrch von Telramund, who is duped into wrongly charging Elsa but takes great twisted pleasure in doing so.  Grochowski had his SF Opera debut in November 2010 beside the indefatigable Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Jaroslav Prus in The Makropulos Case.

While there’s little point in dwelling on the mundane, the sets by Robert Innes Hopkins did nothing for the opera. The beginning action seemed to occur in a large drab room accentuated by shelves scantily filled with books.  The wedding suite was presented as a diorama and looked like a cheap hotel room.  Green garlands covered the wall seams and an oddly out-of- place colonial style lamp hung from the ceiling.

The costumes were worse.  The men of Brabant were in tan military duds and the women recalled droll DDR fashion.  Camilla Nylund, a large woman to begin with, spent most of the evening dressed in long storybook princess style flowing gowns that tended to emphasize her size.
Lohengrin is sung in German with English supertitles
Approximate running time: 4 hours, 20 minutes including two intermissions

Details: Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin is at War Memorial Opera House through Friday, November 9, 2012.   Remaining Performances: 10/28 (1p.m.), 10/31(7 p.m.), 11/3 (7 p.m.), 11/6 (7 p.m.) 11/9 (7 p.m.) Tickets: : $22 to $340 at the Box Office, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, by phone at (415) 864-3330, or online at www.sfopera.com.  Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; $10 each, cash only.

War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.

Driving to San Francisco and Parking: Be sure to allow ample time when driving into San Francisco on the weekend and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge—there is frequently a 15 to 30 minute back-up on Highway 101 South from Sausalito onwards due to congestion around the toll-plaza. Arrive early at your parking garage of choice because those also fill up on weekends. Recommended garages near the opera house are the Performing Arts Garage and Civic Center Garage (both have flat $15 pay cash as you enter policy on performance nights)

October 26, 2012 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Berkeley Rep’s “An Iliad,” actor Henry Woronicz brings an epic ancient tale to contemporary life, through November 18, 2012

An Iliad, by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, adapted from Homer’s Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles

Starring Henry Woronicz (The Poet) with bassist Brian Ellingsen

Directed by Lisa Peterson, Designed by Rachel Hauck (scenic design), Marina Draghici (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), and Mark Bennett (original music/sound design)

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes (no intermission)

Details:  An Iliad ends November 18, 2012.  Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Thrust Stage, located at 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley (near the intersection of Addison and Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley, CA 94704.  Performances: Tuesday-Sunday, with matinee performances on weekends. Tickets: Tickets: $14.50-$77 call box office at 510-647-2949 or purchase online at www.berkeleyrep.org

Parking: paid parking is readily available at over 5 parking garages as close as one block from the theatre. The Allston Way Garage, 2061 Allston Way, between Milvia and Shattuck, offers $3 parking Tuesday–Friday after 6 PM or all day on Saturday or Sunday when your garage-issued parking ticket is validated in the theatre lobby.

October 23, 2012 Posted by | Theatre | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Constellation,” a world premiere collaboration between artist Jim Campbell and choreographer Alonzo King celebrates LINES Ballet’s 30th Season

Jim Campbell. “Exploded Views” 2011; 2880 LEDs, custom electronics. Choreography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Courtesy of the Artist and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and New York. Photo: courtesy SFMOMA

If you saw one of San Francisco-based artist Jim Campbell’s “Exploded Views” installations in the atrium of SFMOMA this past year, chances are you couldn’t forget it.  SFMOMA’s Hass Auditorium came alive as thousands of flickering LED spheres hanging from the ceiling, created the illusion of fleeting shadowlike figures that dissolved and resolved as one moved around and beneath the suspended, chandelier-like matrix. Part sculpture, part cinematic screen, the low resolution pieces flirted with the line between representation and abstraction and sucked viewers right into
another world, one where imagination and memory fill in the gaps between what you see and what you think you see to create a complete story.  The first film in this series of 4 was a collaboration with Alonzo King’s celebrated LINES Ballet of San Francisco, and, if you positioned yourself on SFMOMA’s second floor landing, you could see magical low res images of King’s dancers moving across the expanse of air and light.  Cinematic, elegant, unforgettable.

Now, the two artists are collaborating again as the exciting kick-off of Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s 30th anniversary year.  Campbell’s new installation created for the world premiere of “Constellation” is a 20 x 36 foot low res moving image that incorporates a thousand little LED globes hanging in strings like pearls suspended from the light-grid of the LAM Research Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  The dancers constantly move through these strands and interact with the LED balls which serve as pixels for the large images on the screen in the background and a smaller screen in the foreground.  The smaller screen, 9 x 12 feet, moves up and down.  At times, it is at the level of the dancers and, at times, suspended 10 feet off the ground, above them.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet celebrates its 30th Season with “Constellation,” a collaboration between artist Jim Campbell and choreographer Alonzo King. Campbell and King appear in a pre-performance conversation about their collaboration on October 24, 2012. Image courtesy: LINES Ballet

“I was very interested in having the dancers play with and manipulate a physical image,” said Campbell. “It was more about them becoming a part of the images and playing with that boundary.  There are times when the nine dancers have part of the image in their hands because they are carrying the balls in their hands.”

Adding to the performance, San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani will sing music of Handel, Richard Strauss, and Vivaldi.

Pre-Performance Balcony Talk:  Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, October 24, 2012) prior to the performance, an exclusive conversation in the balcony will take place between artist Jim Campbell and Alonzo King, followed by a Q & A, where audience members will have a chance to ask these two artists about their collaboration.

Stay-tuned to ARThound for an interview with Jim Campbell about this exciting new installation and his collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

Details: Performances are Wed | Oct 24 | 7:30pm —Pre-Performance Balcony Talk with Alonzo King and Jim Campbell (6:30pm)

Thu | Oct 25 | 7:30 pm;   Fri | Oct 26 | 8 pm;   Sat | Oct 27 | 8 pm;   and Sun | Oct 28 | 5 pm.

LAM Research Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is located at 700 Howard Street, at Third Street, San Francisco

General Admission tickets-$65, $55, $40, $30; Student Tickets – $20 – Limited number of student tickets for Oct 24 (ID required.)   To purchase tickets online, click here.

 

October 23, 2012 Posted by | Art, Dance | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

French Cinema Now, starts Wednesday and offers a week of the best new French film, at San Francisco at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema

In French-Swiss director Ursula Meier’s “Sister” (L’enfant d’en haut), self-absorbed Louise (Léa Seydoux) is supported by her crafty twelve-year-old brother (Kacey Mottet Klein) who steals ski equipment from wealthy tourists at a posh ski chalet and re-sells it. The film won the Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival and screens on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, closing French Cinema now. Image courtesy: SFFS.

When it comes to French film, nothing beats French Cinema Now, the San Francisco Film Society’s annual October homage to Francophile cinema. This year, the week-long festival screens 10 films and begins on Wednesday, October 24, and runs through Tuesday, October 30, 2012.  Programming runs in the evenings on weekdays and starts in the afternoon on Friday through Sunday.

Opening Night kicks off with Noémie Lvovsky’s comedy Camille Rewinds (Camille redouble), the wry French reply to our Peggy Sue Got Married, which has stressed out 40-something Camille being informed by her husband of 25 years, Éric (Samir Guesmi), that he’s done with their marriage. When Camille passes out drunk, she wakes up in a hospital room back in 1985 and appears to everyone as a 15-year-old girl but she has the consciousness and memories of her 40-year-old self. She revels in being reunited with her deceased parents and finds high school a hoot (walkmen but no cell phones).  Despite knowing everything that will happen and should be avoided, like a fist kiss with her first love, her husband to be, this gentle comedy has her going ahead anyway. Director Noémie Lvovsky will attend.  Following the screening, the festival officially opens with a party at Credo, open to the public.

The festival closes with French-Swiss director Ursula Meier’s Sister (L’enfant d’en haut), the winner of the Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival and Switzerland’s official nominee for Oscar consideration.  The film set in Le Valais, a French-speaking part of Switzerland where the mountains serve as a seasonal retreat for affluent skiers and the village below the poor who are supported by tourism.  Scrappy 12-year-old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) supports himself and his older sister Louise (Léa Seydoux) by stealing ski equipment on the slopes and re-selling it.   Meir, who directed young Klein in a supporting role in Home (2009), excels at family dynamics and coaxes naturalistic and interesting performances out of Klein and Seydoux, who for all purposes seem a screwed up sibling match made in heaven.  While Seydoux needs no introduction after starring next to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) , her riveting performance as a palace servant to Diane Kruger’s Marie Antoinette in Benoît Jacquot’s lush historical drama Farewell, My Queen, (Les adieux à la reine) (2012) (screened at SFIFF 55) demonstrated her emotional resonance as one of France’s leading young actresses. This young woman, capable of mesmerizing glances, is not to be missed. But in all fairness, the film gains all its pop from young Kacey Mottet, who plays the hustling young urchin with such intensity and bravado, you’ll want to go home and watch him as a 9-year-old in Home (Maison) on Netflix, for which he won the Swiss Film Award for best Emerging Actor.   Meier will be in attendance.

ARThound recommends:  

Salome Blechmans experiences religious visions about crucifixion in Djinn Carrenard’s “DONOMA,” playing at French Cinema Now, October 24 – 30 at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema.

Donoma: Haitian-born, Paris-based filmmaker Dijnn Carrénard’s breakout first feature, rumored to be shot with 150 euros (and a lot of goodwill) is one of the reasons this film festival exists—it captures the French cinema right now.  Winner of the prestigious Louis Delluc Prize (Prix Louis-Delluc) for 2011, it has a fascinating storyline that dissects love, faith and identity through a series of intersecting multicultural relationships of teens and youngish twenty-somethings, all teetering on implosion.  If Sister sounds good, this gem offers an equally dark, but far more raw portrait of modern life that takes place outside the confines of family.  And there’s something very intriguing about the intimacies transgressed upon.Opening the film is a young couple who at first seem pretty normal—Salma’s (Salome Blechmans) the daughter of rich parents and Dacio (Vincent Perez) is poor and they get into it when he comes on to her and she refuses him.  We soon discover she’s got problems that money can’t solve—disturbing visions about crucifixion.  There’s a teacher (Emilia Derou-Bernal) in a Spanish foreign language school who comes on to Dacio, who is her student and third story involving a shy photographer and recent immigrant from Ghana (Laura Kpegli) who uses her camera voyeuristically to fall in love.  A lot of the dialogue, conducted in Gallic  inner-city slang— 30 minutes of which could be cut—feels improvised but it’s very real and gets right into the gritty mess of human communication and emotions which can flip back and forth on a euro.  The up-close camerawork itself feels fresh. Rich color saturation and graininess  heighten the drama of these intensely human moments.  Anyone who’s ever crashed and burned and then done something stupid to add further fuel to the fire (and who hasn’t?) will find something to relate to.  (2010, 140 min, in French and Spanish with English subtitles)  To watch a great trailer, click here.  (Screens Wednesday, October 24 at 6:30 p.m.)

For the full film descriptions, visit sffs.org/cinema.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24
6:30 Camille Rewinds – DIRECTOR IN PERSON
9:00 Opening Night Party
9:15 Donoma

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25
6:30 Aliyah
8:45 My Worst Nightmare (pictured)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
4:00 All Together
6:30 Mobile Home – DIRECTOR IN PERSON
9:15 A World Without Women

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
1:15 All Together
3:30 Camille Rewinds – DIRECTOR IN PERSON
6:30 My Worst Nightmare (pictured)
9:00 Hors Satan

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
1:30 Donoma
4:30 Louise Wimmer
6:30 A World Without Women
9:00 Mobile Home – DIRECTOR IN PERSON

MONDAY, OCTOBER 29
6:15 Hors Satan
9:00 Aliyah

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30
6:15 Sister - DIRECTOR IN PERSON
9:00 Louise Wimmer

Details:  All films screen at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco.  Tickets are $13 per film general admission; $12 student/senior/disabled.  Click here to buy tickets online.  Advance ticket purchase recommended as the festival is very popular.  Park at One Embarcadero Center for up to 4 hours for $2, with validation from cinema. Otherwise $3/hour from 5 p.m.- midnight.  Garage entrance will be on your immediate left-hand side, right after crossing Sacramento Street.  If crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, allow ample time for southbound traffic congestion leading up to GG bridge and to get to destination and park.
When it comes to French film, nothing beats French Cinema Now, the San Francisco Film Society’s annual October homage to Francophile cinema.  This year, the week long festival screens 9 films and begins on Wednesday, October 24 and runs through Tuesday, October 30, 2012.  Programming runs in the evenings on weekdays and starts in the afternoon on Friday through Sunday.

October 23, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SF Playhouse Celebrates its 10th Season with a new home and the rock musical “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” through November 24, 2012

Rowdy adolescent emo-rock musical tells the life story of Andrew Jackson, a backwoods underdog, who by popular vote became the seventh President of the United States. Written by Alex Timbers with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” opened on Broadway in 2009 to mixed reviews and was nominated for several Tonys.   At San Francisco Playhouse, East Bay native Ashkon Davaran’s petulant Jackson struts about the stage bursting with a curious mix of adolescent aggression, passion, and populist fervor, supported by a large cast of frontier renegades whose singing was energetic but uneven throughout the opening evening performance.  With a Presidential election just days away, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson is amazingly relevant for its insights about the American people and our insatiable need to believe that all our problems can be fixed in snap.  On the other hand, we’ve got so much overblown election drama on the tube right now, free of charge; it would take something exceptional to make one want to pay for more.

With its 10th anniversary and move to a much larger new venue that seats 225—the second floor theatre in the Elks-owned building that houses the Kensington Park Hotel and Farallon Restaurant on Post Street—SF Playhouse also changed its name to “San Francisco Playhouse.”  As co-founder Susi Damilano said to a packed opening night house, “We’re all grown up now.”   The theatre company, under the dynamic team leadership of Damliano and her husband, co-founder and artistic director, Bill English, has carved a niche for itself in the production of important contemporary plays by emerging playwrights, delivering a particularly strong 2011 season.  

If you’re curious to experience San Francisco Playhouse’s new space and its inaugural production, get your adolescent self together and prepare for a loud, high-energy history lesson.  This biting satire of the electoral process is clever in places but suffers from an over reliance on the F-word and inconsistency in delivery.  I found myself either too old or too weary to want to sit through 90 assaulting minutes of it….though I did appreciate El Beh’s riveting cello solo “Ten Little Indians.”

Written by Alex Timber, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. Directed by Jon Tracy. Music Director: Jonathan Fadner.

Details:  Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson runs through November 24, 2012 at the SF Playhouse, 450 Post Street, (2nd Floor of Kensington Park Hotel, between Powell & Mason Streets), San Francisco, CA.  Tickets: $30 to $70.  Box Office: 415-677-9596 or www.sfplayhouse.org.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | Theatre | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 4th Petaluma International Film Festival starts Friday, October 19, 2012, and runs all weekend at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas

Slava Ross’ “Siberia Monamour” is a story of survival set in remote Siberia, with a screenplay developed under the prestigious Cannes Residence program. Young Mikahil Protsko gives a standout performance a recently-orphaned boy who befriends a wild dog. It screens on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at the 4th Petaluma International Film Festival.

Film festivals are cropping up in virtually every nook and cranny of the extended Bay Area now.  For residents of Sonoma County, the convenience and line-up of the Petaluma International Film Festival (PIFF) are hard to pass up.  The three-day festival, in its 4th year, begins its impressive run of international independent film tomorrow (Friday) at noon at Petaluma’s Boulevard Cinemas and runs through Sunday.  The line-up includes over 40 films (17 new features and 13 new shorts) from Armenia to Uruguay, and even tiny Luxemburg and distant Azerbaizan make an appearance.  This gem of a festival flies under the radar but it’s worth a look and a visit.

“In our fast-paced world, we are still looking for human stories,” said Saeed Safa, founder and executive director of festival. “The Robots, CGI (computer-generated imagery), and machines in the movies are eye candy that, sooner or later, will be forgotten but the human stories will remain with us for a long time,” said Safa.

Safa also runs the popular Tiburon International Film Festival (TIFF) every spring.  He has an eye for interesting films that might not otherwise be screened due to commercial reasons, and certainly not in Petaluma, and has put together a line-up that includes a great mix of documentaries, dramas and shorts focusing on what loosely might be called global understanding–seeing the world through the eyes of another.  “We try to create an opportunity for the young and talented filmmakers from around the world who will be the torch holders of the next generation of the filmmakers,” said Safa. “Each film we select has a different story and special message.”

For detailed programming information, a list of filmmakers attending and information about a festival pass, visit the Petaluma International Film Festival homepage.

ARThound’s Picks:

Unfinished Spaces: Navigating between past and present, while deftly mixing contemporary and archival footage, Alysa Nahmais and Benjamin Murray’s documentary Unfinished Spaces tells the remarkable story of how in 1961 Fidel Castro enlisted three visionary young architects to construct a Cuban National Art Schools complex on the grounds of a former golf course. Construction of their radical designs for five separate schools began immediately and classes soon followed.  Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Cuban Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.  A moving and well-researched documentary that uses bricks, arches and fountains as a metaphor for the evolving Cuban landscape. This fascinating film includes footage of Fidel Castro, the architects themselves and embraces the very mutable intersection of art, aesthetics, politics, history and Cuban culture. (2011, 86 minutes) (Screens Friday, October 19, 2012, 4:15 p.m.)

Marie Jung plays a talented young Luxembourg chess player, Sophie Latour, who beats a famous chess master in “The Symmetry of the Butterfly” (“D’Symmetrie vum Päiperlek”), a new feature film from Luxembourg screening at the 4th Petaluma International Film Festival on Friday.

The Butterfly’s Symmetry (D’Symmetrie vum Päiperlek):  This second feature film by Luxembourg directors Paul Scheuer and Maisy Hausemer tells the story of a famous chess master, Gregori Sczyrkutah, known for his misogyny, who is beaten at his own game by a young and talented Luxembourg chess player, Sophie Latour (Marie Jung).  The defeat is hard to take and he withdraws from public life in bitterness and anger.  A Swiss software engineer, Max von Allmen, proposes using a revolutionary chess software that is guaranteed to beat Sophie.  While Max is programming the software, he falls in love with Sophie.  And, to further complicate matters, this entire story is imagined by a Luxembourg writer, Roger, during his prolonged stay at an old-age pensioners’ home, where he uses the people he sees around him as inspiration for the characters in his story. (2012, 93 minutes) (Screens Friday, October 19, 2012 at 10 p.m.)

Wind & Fog (Bad o meh):  Captivating images from pastoral northern Iran serve as a backdrop for Mohammad-Ali Talebi’s enchanting tale of a boy rendered deaf and mute after losing his mother in the Iran-Iraq war. Ostracized by his classmates but doted over by his loving sister, eight-year-old Sahand—whose wan face and haunted eyes evoke the unspeakable horrors he’s witnessed—becomes obsessed with a wounded white goose.  The climax unfolds in a misty, magical forest making wondrous use of classic fantasy elements.   Official Selection: Vancouver International Film Festival – Awarded Berlinale Film Festival CINEMA Fairbindet Prize for contributing in an “extraordinary way” to the ongoing dialogue on important global issues. (2011, 74 minutes) (Screens Saturday, October 20, 2012, 8:25 p.m.)

Iranian director Mohammad-Ali Talebi’s award-winning “Wind & Fog” (“Bad o meh) tells the story of a young boy who is injured and traumatized by Iran Iraq war and his slow path to healing. The film a special award at the prestigious Berlinale film festival in 2011.

Siberia Monamour:  Slava Ross’ tale of survival is set in the remote reaches of the wild Siberian taiga—the forested area of Siberia that covers more than a quarter of Russia’s territory, an undeveloped place that remains largely untouched by politics.  This dark feature, with a very Russian perspective, builds slowly and involves the thoughtful intersection of several characters and their stories, ultimately pitting men against the forces of nature to survive.  An orphaned seven year-old boy, Lyochka (Mikahil Protsko) and his grandfather (Pyotr Zaichenko) live alone in a cabin and are unexpectedly isolated as winter sets in.  A parallel storyline has two soldiers (Nikolai Kozak and Maxim Yemelyanov) on a mission to find a prostitute to satisfy their depraved lieutenant (Sergei Puskepalis) and their encounter with a young girl (Lidiya Bairashevskay) whom they bring back to their base.  The cinematography by Yury Rajski and Alexxey Todorov includes stunning landscapes, wild dogs, and decaying interiors and the unforgettable story itself is a harsh reflection on contemporary Russia and its collapsed morality.   Stand-out performance by young Mikahil Protsko.   (Screens Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.)

Tickets: $10 per screening at  Boulevard Cinemas, Petaluma Blvd. North at C Street.   Most screenings include a feature-length film coupled with a short. For detailed programming information and list of filmmakers attending, visit the Petaluma International Film Festival homepage.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No muse! “Man Ray / Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism” reframes Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, closing this Sunday, October 14, at the Legion of Honor

A commanding self portrait. Lee Miller (1907–1977), Self Portrait, c.1930, Gelatin silver print, 3 ½ x 2 1/8 in. (9.0 x 5.2 cm), Lee Miller Archives, Sussex, England, Photograph by Lee Miller © Lee Miller Archives, England 2011.

It took a son’s devotion to a mother he really never really knew very well in life to bring surrealist artist and photographer Lee Miller out from the shadow of her famed lover Man Ray. Miller’s son, Antony Penrose, loaned many of the pieces on view at the Legion of Honor’s fascinating and important exhibition, Man Ray | Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism, which closes this Sunday, October 14, at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor.  If you haven’t yet seen the show, it’s worth a visit.

Curated by Phillip Prodger, of Peabody Essex Museumin Salem, Mass, where it opened, the traveling exhibition features 115 paintings, photographs, drawings and letters.  If there’s one word to describe the show’s visual impact, it’s “sensual”—with luminous silver gelatin prints and bold images that celebrate the female anatomy.  Man Ray’s lush portraits of Miller tend to play up Miller’s softness and feminine beauty, whereas Miller depicted herself as a strong, empowered, heroic figure.   Aside from their tumultuous love story,  the exhibition explores the couple’s rich artistic collaoration and the depth of Miller’s own rich artistic legacy, providing ample evidence of her significant contributions to photopgraphy and to photojournalism.

Details:  Man Ray | Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism closes October 14, 2012.  The Legion of Honor Museum is located in Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue and Clement Street, San Francisco. Museum hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m.; closed on Monday.  Tickets: $15; seniors 65+ $12; youth 13-17 and students with current ID $11.  Purchase tickets in advance online here.  More info:  http://visit.legionofhonor.org.

October 12, 2012 Posted by | Legion of Honor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

No hassle Opera! The Met’s new “Live in HD” season kicks off this Saturday, October 13, at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas, with a new production of “L’Elisir d’Amore” starring Anna Netrebko

The Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” 2012-2013 season kicks off Saturday, October 13, 2012 with a new production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” Opera superstar, Anna Netrebko, is Adina and Ambrogio Maestri is Dr. Dulcamara. Photo: Nick Heavican/Metropolitan Opera

When it comes to opera, it’s hard to beat the enduring popularity of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore—a whacky travelling salesman, fake love potions, rich girl, poor boy, botched communication and LOVE.  The 7th season of The Met: Live in HD opens this Saturday, October 13, in Sonoma County at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas, and at select theatres across the country, with this comic gem. The series runs through the end of April 2013 with a selection of 11 other top Metropolitan Opera productions, including seven new productions, two of which are Met premieres. Each live performance is broadcast through National CineMedia’s (NCM®) to participating local theatres in real time on a Saturday with a Wednesday “encore,” a re-screening of Saturday’s captured performance. Encore performances are always shown on Wednesday afternoons and evenings by the Rialto Cinemas.

HD productions offer those of us in the extended northern Bay Area, the opportunity to sample a rich menu of almost live opera for $25, without crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and all the time and expense that entails.   The immersive screen experience offers exacting close-ups of the performances—facial expressions, costumes, scenery—and informative specially produced features—generally interviews—hosted by Met opera stars such as Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Patricia Racette, and Deborah Voigt.  These backstage chats with cast, crew, and production teams give an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera at one of the world’s great houses.  All transmissions have on-screen English subtitles, the same ones used in live performances at the opera house.

In fact, the popularity of the Emmy® and Peabody award-winning series has skyrocketed, reaching over 3 million people in more than 1900 theaters in 64 countries, making the Met the only arts institution with an ongoing global art series of this scale.  The 2012-13 season will be broadcast in over 660 select U.S. cinemas and in 100 additional independent venues worldwide.

Johan Botha as the title character and Renée Fleming as Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello,” the second of twelve operas in the Metropolitan Opera’s popular “Live in HD” series. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

A rare occurrence, last year’s Metropolitan opera season opened with Donizetti’s tragic Anna Bolena, with Netrebko in the title role, and its new season also opens with Donizetti and Netrebko …again.   This is the first time in 20 years that the Met season has featured a comedy for opening night and the first time ever that The Met: Live in HD opens with a comedy.  Anna Netrebko, starring as Adina, and Matthew Polenzani, as Nemorino—both making their Met debut in these roles—received rapturous reviews the first night and the production has been praised for its insightful new staging.  The opera co-stars Mariusz Kwiecien as the soldier Belcore, Adina’s swaggering fiancé, and Ambrogio Maestri as the potion-peddling traveling salesman Doctor Dulcamara.  (Run time: 125 minutes including 2 intermissions) Encore: Wednesday, November 7 at 1 and 7 pm.

On October 27, Verdi’s Otello, the first opera to be televised from the Met nearly 65 years ago, comes to HD.  The Shakespearean masterpiece returns with an exciting cast that includes South African tenor Johan Botha singing the title role opposite the star soprano Renée Fleming as Desdemona, with Symyon Bychkov conducting.

2012-2013 Season

Donizetti’s L’ELISIR D’AMORE
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, October 13 at 10am and Wednesday, October 17 at 1 & 7pm

Verdi’s OTELLO
Saturday, October 27 at 10am
and Wednesday, November 7 at 1 & 7pm

 

Ades’ THE TEMPEST
MET PREMIERE Saturday, November 10 at 10am
and Wednesday, November 14 at 1 & 7pm

 

Mozart’s LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
Saturday, December 1 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 5 at 1 & 7pm

 

Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, December 8 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 12 at 1 & 7pm

 

Verdi’s AIDA
Saturday, December 15 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 19 at 1 & 7pm

 

Berlioz’s LES TROYENS
Saturday, January 5 at 9am
and Wednesday, January 9 at Noon & 6pm

 

Donizetti’s MARIA STUARDA
MET PREMIERE Saturday, January 19 at 10am
and Wednesday, January 23 at 1 & 7pm

 

Verdi’s RIGOLETTO
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, February 16 at 10am
and Wednesday, February 20 at 1 & 7pm

 

Wagner’s PARSIFAL
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, March 2 at 9am
and Wednesday, March 6 at Noon & 6pm

 

Zandonai’s FRANCESCA DA RIMINI
Saturday, March 16 at 9am
and Wednesday, March 20 at Noon & 6pm

 

Handel’s GIULIO CESARE
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, April 27 at 9am
and Wednesday, May 1 at Noon & 6pm

Details:    Tickets are available at participating cinema box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com . For a complete list of cinema locations and schedule, please visit The Met: Live in HDTicket prices vary by location.   Tickets at the Rialto Cinemas are $25 and season subscriptions are available, allowing you to choose your seat.  NO ONE cares what you wear or what you eat or drink but ladies please curb check your snoring partners, or be kind enough to elbow them to consciousness.

Sonoma County:
Rialto Cinemas Lakeside
551 Summerfield Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Questions: opera@rialtocinemas.com

Napa County:
Cinemark Napa 8
825 Pearl Street
Napa, CA 94559

Marin County:
The Lark Theater
549 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939

Cinemark Century Northgate 15
7000 Northgate Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903

Cinemark Cinearts Sequoia 2
25 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stealthy Soprano Nicole Cabell climbs a sink and balances on a wall in her debut at SF Opera’s “Capulets and Montagues,” through October 19, 2012

Singing on top of a sink means ditching your Christian Lacroix platforms and using those toes to grip. Nicole Cabell is the stealthy Giulietta in Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece, “The Capulets and the Montagues,” which opens SF Opera’s fall season. Photo by Cory Weaver.

SF Opera’s fall season opener is Bellini’s 1830 bel canto masterpiece, The Capulets and the Montagues (I Capuleti e i Montecchi)—the doomed love story of Romeo and Juliet, but not Shakespeare’s version.  And in this production, it is Giulietta, the stunning Nicole Cabell, who does all of the work literally.  The poised soprano, in her SF Opera debut, first climbs atop a sink mounted high on a wall and delivers a lush aria and later teeters on a narrow wall and delivers another…all in the name of love.  The object of her affection is opera’s white hot mezzo, Joyce DiDonato, her Romeo.  As this 1830 opera begins, Romeo and Juliet have already met and fallen in love and there isn’t a single uplifting moment for the two young lovers.  Romeo, a Monatgue, is a real rebel and he has killed Giulietta’s brother and is on the verge of war with the Capulets, while his Giulietta (a Capulet) is engaged to her cousin Tebaldo, who is based on the character Tybalt.  Tormented Giulietta, holed up in the Verona palace, refuses Romeo’s numerous longing pleas to run away with him, offering the excuse that she cannot desert her father.  It’s only in death that the lovers are joined.  In fact this isn’t much of a love story at all—it’s more a sad commentary on being caught up in the fervor of war and the vulnerability of first love.  Bellini’s beautiful music, composed when he was just 29, and played with affecting beauty by the SF Opera Orchestra, expresses deep tenderness and pathos in the two lovers’ passionate solos and contains bloodthirsty choral parts, meant to drive home the unstoppable momentum of the war machine itself.

SF Opera opens its fall season with Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece, “The Capulets and the Montagues” (“I Capuleti e i Montecchi”), the story of Romeo and Juliet sans Shakespeare. Joyce DiDonato (left) is Romeo and Nicole Cabell is Giulietta. Photo by Cory Weaver.

This Bavarian State Opera and San Francisco Opera co-production, directed by Vincent Boussard, had its world premiere at the Nationaltheatre in Munich in March 2011.  It features a sparse but confounding set design by Vincent Lemaire.  Minimalistic palace walls are illuminated with lovely Lascaux-like primitive drawings of running horses, the beauty of which is illuminated by Guido Levi’s skillful lighting but confounded by two dozen saddles awkwardly hanging down like pendant lamps over the Capulets.  These saddles, meant to remind us that battle is eminent, are much like the huge descending mirrors in Alessandro Cameo’s minimalistic set design for SF Opera’s 2011 Don Giovanni—they get very old very fast. The set also has an elegant shiny black floor which occasionally squeaked.  And then there’s the sink mounted high on one of the walls, a fixture that plays a heightened role as a platform for one of Cabell’s arias and seemed to work beautifully with minimalistic aspects of the set design.  Most confounding, to the point of annoying, was the interruption of the music and flow twice, both Act I and Act II, for changes in scenery.

The stylish costumes by Christian Lacroix, known for his use of vibant shades and textures, infused a palpabale visual energy into the angst-ridden vibe of the opera.  While it isn’t widely known outside the fashion world, Lacroix’s fashion house went into bankuptcy in 2009 and he subsequently lost the rights to design under his own name, so these gorgeous gowns, which look exceptional on the lythe bodied Cabell and supernunneries, are part of an bygone era of decadent couture that carries the name Chrstian Lacroix. (Now Lacroix, designing under the name “Monsieur C. Lacroix”, collaborates with the hihg-end Spanish chain, Desigual, known for using a kaleidoscope of colours.) The humorous Act II opening of the opera includes a scene that many men may find baffling but most women instinctively relate to—supernumeraries in confection-colored elegant Lacroix gowns slowly and somewhat noisily parade up steep metal bleachers in outrageously high Lacroix stilettos.  Just as the young lovers are hostage to doomed love, women are bewitched by stylish but impossibly cruel shoes.

What works magically is the singing and Cabell and DiDonato are very heart and soul of it.  Each is in top form, but the meshing of their voices, its exquisite tenderness, is what defines this production.   Cabell’s SF Opera debut will be long remembered. Her singing grew more sublime as the evening progressed, exemplifying what makes the bel canto repertory work: beautiful sound creatively embellished, driving home the emotion.  Her Act I aria, “Oh quante volte,” in which she longs for Romeo to return to her, was deeply melancholic.  And her acting—soulful, demented—delivered pathos in doses befitting a torn young woman.

From the minute she walked on stage, Joyce DiDonato, a former Merola participant, owned this trousers role.  She delivered an impassioned, idealistic, and highly impulsive young Romeo with an intoxicating sensuality and her expressive mezzo voice seemed capable of winning over every heart but hesitant Giulietta’s.

Here, Joyce DiDonato sings Romeo’s Act 1 aria from The Capulets and the Montagues (Paris, 2008).  Romeo has entered the palace in the guise of a Montague envoy and offers the guarantee of peace through the marriage of Romeo to Guilietta. He will leave distraught, knowing that he is an unwitting, inexorable part of the machinery of war that cannot be stopped.:

A strong supporting cast backed up the two soloists.  Albanian tenor Samir Pirgu seemed to struggle to find his sweet spot in his SF Opera debut as Tebaldo, Guilietta’s fiancé, but his singing improved as the evening progressed.  Chinese baritone and second-year Adler Fellow, Ao Li, made the most of his small role as Lorenzo, the doctor (not friar) of the Capuleti. American bass-baritone, Eric Owens was Capellio, leader of Capuleti and Guilietta’s father who, in an intense stand-off with Romeo, brashly refuses the young man’s offer to marry his daughter, setting the whole tragedy in motion.

In Vincent Lemaire’s sets for Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” at SF Opera through October 19, 2012, dozens of saddles hang over the Capulets who are waiting at the palace to avenge the death of their leader Capellio’s son, who was killed by Romeo. Photo by Cory Weaver.

Riccardo Frizza, who made his SF Opera debut conducting Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia last season, again led the SF Opera orchestra in an exciting performance that was greatly enhanced by the enchanting solos of Kevin Rivard (French horn), and José González Granero(clarinet).

Details:  War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Remaining Performances:  Oct.11 (7:30 p.m.), Oct. 14 (2 p.m.), October 16 (8 p.m.), October 19 (8 p.m.) Tickets: : $22 to $340 at the Box Office, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, by phone at (415) 864-3330, or online at www.sfopera.com. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; $10 each, cash only.

Driving to San Francisco and Parking: Be sure to allow ample time when driving into San Francisco on the weekend and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge—there is frequently a 15 to 30 minute back-up on Highway 101 South from Sausalito onwards due to congestion around the toll-plaza. Arrive early at your parking garage of choice because those also fill up on weekends. Recommended garages near the opera house are the Performing Arts Garage and Civic Center Garage (both have flat $15 pay cash as you enter policy on performance nights)

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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