San Francisco Ballet’s current revival of “Giselle” is of a 12-year-old production, and it’s aging well. The performance by the Sunday matinee cast was a formidable presentation of one the greatest “white ballets” of all time.
The original 1841 Jean Coralli-Jules Perrot choreography, in Marius Petipa’s 1884 version, has survived all this time and is still produced today around the world. But San Francisco has something different. Read More
Museums are hotbeds of activity, offering lectures, films and concerts, to name a few. Here are some examples happening in the coming weeks: Read More
“People don’t come to the theater to feel good,” Libby Appel says. “They come to feel.”As with all of Anton Chekhov’s plays, “The Seagull” has a lot of feelings: hope, ambition, failure, pain, persistence. Not a melodrama, it’s a masterpiece of subtle, indirect communication, much of it in subtext.Appel’s new English version of the play gets its professional world premiere, called “Seagull,” at Marin Theatre Co. this week in a production directed by Jasson Minadakis.Last year, it was performed at UC Santa Barbara, directed by Irwin Appel, the translator’s son. Read More
Can the true story of a wasted life make a great, or even good, movie? “Barney’s Version” makes an impressive effort to accomplish that, but it falls short of a difficult and possibly unwise goal.
Even with the late Mordecai Richler’s outstanding writing about the “wasted life” of somebody very much like the author himself, and a star-studded cast, something is missing where the film’s gravitas and heart should be. Read More
With simultaneous premieres today in India and the U.S., “Mumbai Diaries” (“Dhobi Ghat”) is screening at the Balboa Theater in The City.
Gary Meyer, owner of the Balboa and co-director of the Telluride Film Festival, made special efforts to secure the film — originally scheduled only in specialized theaters catering to Indian audiences — for his venue. Read More
Just in time for her 85th birthday Monday, extraordinary Bay Area artist and community activist Ruth Asawa — and her work — are being celebrated in a new film. The world premiere of Bob Toy’s documentary “Ruth Asawa: Roots of an Artist” at the de Young Museum on Friday also is a benefit for Ruth’s Table, a group serving seniors living independently at Bethany Center, a housing community in the Mission district. Read More
Ask San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley what is new about the upcoming season and he answers that it is the fact there is a season at all.Under pressure from the continuing negative impact of the recession, Gockley is fighting to uphold the opera’s tradition of varied repertory, new works and world-renowned singers. Read More
A classical concert followed by a feast of “roast pork pie, king’s cake and wassail” (a kind of hot mulled cider) is a rare happening — but it’s what San Francisco Renaissance Voices is offering to celebrate the Boar’s Head Festival on Saturday. The festival represents the British way of marking Twelfth Night — the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day or Epiphany — bringing the Christmas period to an end.The Boar’s Head Feast precedes Christianity, going back to ancient times when the boar was sovereign of the forest. Read More
Gustav Mahler’s music is exciting and beautiful, but also filled with angst and neuroticism. The dark spirits contribute to the works’ unique value and appeal, but were hard on the composer himself. To deal with tragedy and psychological problems, he turned to a Vienna neighbor, the granddaddy of psychoanalysis.That Mahler was treated by Sigmund Freud is a historic fact and the subject of a new film, “Mahler on the Couch” — which opens German Gems, a festival of new films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland opening at 7 p.m. Friday at the Castro Theatre. Read More
Among Neil Simon’s many facile, popular, easy-to-take plays, some are more lasting theatrical experiences.Certain lines, situations and characters scattered along Simon’s hit parade of three-dozen comedies and dramas will likely survive well beyond his curious one-man Broadway hegemony that lasted several decades.The 1991 “Lost in Yonkers” — onstage in a Jewish Theatre San Francisco production in association with the Eugene & Elinor Friend Center for the Arts at the Jewish Community Center — is one play with veins of gold. Read More
Arthur Szyk, a Jewish artist born in Poland who achieved fame in France and the U.S., is finally receiving his due with a solo exhibit at the Legion of Honor — 70 years after a show of his watercolors here.“Arthur Szyk: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations” is more than an art display. It is like a stroll down historical lanes. Beginning with little-known aspects of the American Revolutionary War, the exhibit showcases two decades of news-magazine covers Szyk created for Collier in the 1930s and ’40s. Read More
Long before orchestras were common, individuals and small groups of performers played chamber music in homes and castles. As presented in recitals, duets, trios, quartets or in other modest-size groupings, chamber music remains a widespread genre. The Bay Area is especially rich in such events. A significant number of them are moderately priced and many are free.Here is a sampling of a few exceptional offerings this month: Read More
Few ballet companies, even large troupes, schedule more than one or two full-length works per season. Mostly they present repertories of dance pieces usually running between 20 and 30 minutes.
With large casts and elaborate sets and costumes, evening-long works are difficult and expensive to produce; they are what opera is to chamber music.
Yet San Francisco Ballet offers three big story ballets for its 78th season, which opens with a gala Jan. 26. Read More
The San Francisco Symphony opens the 2011 portion of its 99th season with great music in a collaboration with a world-famous French pianist and the debut of a rapidly emerging young Ukrainian conductor.Kirill Karabits conducts the local premiere of “Elegie” by his countryman Valentin Silvestrov. The program also includes Rachmaninoff’s 1940 Symphonic Dances and Robert Schumann’s 1845 Piano Concerto in A Minor, with Hélene Grimaud as the soloist. Read More
While it is always enjoyable to create, look at and purchase crafts, the holiday season offers added pleasure toward engaging in the tradition — in a fashion similar to attending the annual outpouring of “Nutcracker,” “Messiah” and “A Christmas Carol” performances. Read More