With the exhibition “Artistic San Francisco,” Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator James A. Ganz has realized at least one of his longtime goals: to compile and display wide and varied artistic representations of The City.“The San Francisco Bay Area landscape is a monumental work in progress, with the sea sculpting the shoreline, subterranean plates grinding each other, and rolling blankets of fog nourishing the coastal forests,” he says. Read More
Watching two reindeer in the California Academy of Sciences’ East Gardens on a cloudy day, a child recently asked, “Will they be OK when it rains?” The mother, probably not a spelling bee winner, replied, “Sure, they are reindeers!”Better known as caribou in North America, the Arctic deer, with their spectacular antlers, are perhaps the most popular part of the Academy’s current show, “’Tis the Season for Science.” The male is called Miles; the name of the female will be supplied by the winner of a contest sponsored by the Academy. Read More
Time has not been kind to the recorder, but virtuoso Marion Verbruggen has.
The Dutch musician, appearing with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in several Bay Area concerts this weekend, is among the instrument’s best-known masters.
Winner of many international competitions, she teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and performs with chamber music ensembles around the world.
Verbruggen calls San Francisco, where she often returns, "a special place. Read More
Elected pope but unrecognized and hiding out in Rome, an old man watches a theater rehearsal and mouths words by Chekhov, his childhood idol. It’s among the many amusing and affecting scenes of director Nanni Moretti’s film “We Have a Pope” (“Habemus Papam,” the traditional announcement when cardinals elect a new pontiff), screening at the San Francisco Film Society’s New Italian Cinema program this week. “Pope” has the same setting — the Vatican backstage scene — as Hollywood blockbusters “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” but viewers will remember it longer. Read More
For Elana Altman, a featured soloist in the San Francisco Ballet’s annual “Nutcracker,” her first memory of ballet goes back to age 3, when she attended a performance of the Tchaikovsky classic in the War Memorial Opera House. Read More
For a weighty reference to Handel’s “Messiah,” consider that Beethoven spoke of it as one of the great works in all music. And so it is, of course, a global favorite since its premiere in 1741. Read More
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled an exceptional group of local talent — writers, directors, dancers and musicians — to present Igor Stravinsky’s unique “The Soldier’s Tale,” opening in previews today.
In 1918, the young Stravinsky was a leading composer for ballet companies, including the famed Ballets Russes, when he wrote “Tale,” an unusual mix of music, narration, acting, puppetry and dance. Read More
The origin of the de Young Museum’s current exhibition, “Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power,” is the one-time global maritime power and center of commerce. Venice was immensely rich during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its nobility spent lavishly on arts, music and architecture. Read More
The musical definition of “grand opera” is a work sung, not spoken. That’s not the case with the original opéra-comique version of Bizet’s “Carmen,” which returned Sunday to San Francisco Opera for the 168th time. (Only “La Boheme” and “Madama Butterfly” have been presented more in the company’s history.)While “Carmen” has so much dialogue (kudos to French language coach Patricia Kristof Moy) it remains a very grand — or, at least big — opera. Read More
The ninth annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival, “3rd i,” running Wednesday through Sunday in The City, is dedicated to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film.
The roster includes art-house classics, documentaries, experimental and Bollywood features, as well as movies made by San Francisco filmmakers. Read More
Everything is old about Handel’s “Xerxes”: The Persian king and conqueror lived in the fifth century B.C., the opera was written in 1738, the English production onstage at War Memorial Opera House is from 1985 — and yet the San Francisco Opera production, which premiered Sunday, feels fresh and new.Musically, it’s a grand-slam winner, with a brilliant cast: Susan Graham (Xerxes), David Daniels (Arsamenes), Lisette Oropesa (Romilda), Heidi Stober (Atalanta) in the top rank, closely followed by Sonia Prina (Amastris), Michael Sumuel (Elviro) and Wayne Tigges (Ariodates). Read More
Among many unforgettable people from the brush of the painter Camille Pissarro, the first to make an indelible impression is a 7-year-old boy, Felix. One of Pissarro’s eight children, he is the subject of a birthday portrait near the entrance of the “Pissarro’s People,” an exhibition of more than 100 oil paintings and works on paper on view through January at the Legion of Honor. Felix, with an upturned nose and long brown hair, wears a pink bow and a red beret and sits against a paisley-decorated wall in the background. Read More
As Hollywood was during the Great Depression, as Bollywood is for vast masses of India’s poor, the Asian Art Museum’s new exhibit diverts attention from economic problems so apparent in the museum’s Civic Center neighborhood.“Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” is a luxurious vacation to the far-away, long-gone world of the princely courts of the Subcontinent. Read More
Few composers survive varied interpretations and levels of performance quality as well as Mozart; the music almost always wins over circumstances. That was the case on opening night of San Francisco Opera’s new production of “Don Giovanni.”
When Nicola Luisotti began to conduct the overture on Saturday, the sound from the orchestra was unusually restrained, and the performance continued in the same vein for almost three hours, until the finale caught fire. Read More
Nicola Luisotti answers interview questions quickly, enthusiastically and completely — except one.Where do he and his wife Rita find porcini in the wild on their mushroom hunts in and around The City? Known for his generosity to colleagues and audiences, the maestro draws the line at giving away that secret.When the San Francisco Opera music director — conducting Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” opening Saturday — arrived here three years ago, he spoke glowingly about The City, which reminds him of his native Tuscany. Read More