Fondness for cats is not a requirement to get the full measure of “Rent-a-Cat” — interest in people and appreciation for excellence are more important.Naoko Ogigami’s film, screening Oct. 12-13 at the 35th Mill Valley Film Festival, is quirky, funny, sweet but not sugary, engaging and moving.In her early 30s, the main character in “Rent-a-Cat” feels the world is closing in on her. Mysteriously loved by cats, she has little luck finding human companionship. Read More
András Schiff’s devotion to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is complete and unconditional.
“Why Bach? It’s like asking why is the sky blue and why do we need to breathe,” says the acclaimed Hungarian pianist, who plays the first program of a two-year cycle of Bach’s keyboard works in The City next week. “Every day I start with an hour or more of Bach, food for the heart, the mind, the spirit and the body. All great music after Bach derives from him.” Read More
Spoiler alert: “Mystical Abyss” ends with the Sky Woman of Iroquois legend falling into the void, with birds and animals breaking the fall, until she lands on a giant turtle and creates the continent of North America.
That’s just a small bit in a cosmic tale from Yuriko Doi, founder-director of Theatre of Yugen.
Doi is pulling together a wide range of The City’s talent from various disciplines to produce “Mystical Abyss,” a fusion of Japanese dramatic arts, Native American legend, Noh choreography and world theater. Read More
Four months before its grand opening, the SF JAZZ Center is already a significant presence in Hayes Valley.
At a construction site tour last week, leaders responsible for the $53 million, 700-seat, 35,000-square-foot facility were bursting with pride and excitement.
On hand were architect Mark Cavagnero, acoustician Sam Berkow, theater designer Len Auerbach and SF JAZZ founder and Executive Director Randall Kline, who has dreamed about (and prepared for) the country’s first major dedicated jazz facility for three decades. Read More
With megawatts of renewable energy, the San Francisco Opera orchestra and chorus gave a memorably robust performance on the company's 90th season opening Friday. Read More
The San Francisco Opera’s 90th season opens Friday with a romantic crowd-pleaser so popular that General Director David Gockley has scheduled 12 performances. The production of Verdi’s 1851 “Rigoletto,” a sweeping melodrama of love and betrayal, is a revival of a Michael Yeargan-designed work. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti (“who makes every Verdi opera he conducts into an event,” Gockley says) leads the orchestra. Read More
An opium pipe in a museum exhibit is an awkward sight, a fact not lost on veteran Bay Area designer Gordon Chun, curator of the current exhibit at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum in San Francisco, which includes such paraphernalia in a display about Chinatown’s 19th-century “Bachelor Society.”
“Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience” illustrates and comments on Chinese immigration over two centuries. It does not extol virtues without showing warts. Read More
With a memorable centennial season behind it, the San Francisco Symphony is opening its 101st year in an unprecedented fashion.Postponing its annual gala until Sept. 19 — due to music director Michael Tilson Thomas being on tour with the London Symphony Orchestra — the symphony begins the fall season Wednesday with the first of two subscription series concerts under the baton of guest conductor Semyon Bychkov. Wednesday through Saturday, the program includes Wagner’s Overture to “Tannhäuser,” Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. Read More
In addition to the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony’s dressy season openers — Sept. 7 and Sept. 19, respectively — the performing arts calendar for fall includes events of all sizes and genres, and ticket prices start at free. Chanticleer Read More
Renowned pianist Jon Jang’s premiere of his commissioned work “Central Pacific, Central Subway” — celebrating contributions by Chinese workers who built the first Transcontinental Railroad — is among the highlights of this weekend’s third annual Chinatown Music Festival. Read More
Among the world’s Olympic-sized choral works — in the class of “Ode to Joy” ending Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — are the 1837 Berlioz Requiem and the Finale of Boito’s 1868 opera “Mefistofele.”Both are on the program of a massive concert in Davies Hall Sunday featuring the Redwood Symphony Orchestra, dozens of singers from Finger Lakes Choral Festival and the Rochester Oratorio Society in New York, and 140 vocalists from 35 Bay Area choral groups. Read More
As the chamber music festival Music@Menlo opens its 10th season today, its dazzling programming and accomplishments are out of proportion with its mere-decade history.
Operating on a $1.8 million annual budget that supports 65 public events, the “musical start-up in Silicon Valley” originated by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han attracts a loyal audience of more than 15,000. Music@Menlo concerts have featured 170 world-renown musicians, and its Chamber Music Institute has helped launch some 250 young artists’ careers. Read More
A big musical in miniature, up close and personal, SF Playhouse’s “My Fair Lady” is a win-win proposition. For those few who haven’t experienced how Eliza Doolittle “could have danced all night,” it’s an excellent introduction. At the time, for the zillion veterans of stage presentations or the classic film, director Bill English’s production is a new experience. Read More
“Sweeney Todd,” one of Stephen Sondheim’s biggest, most operatic Broadway musicals, takes on a lighter tone, sounding almost like chamber music, in Ray of Light Theatre’s unusual and rewarding production onstage at the Eureka Theatre. Instead of the typical shrill factory whistle, amplified orchestra and overamplified singers, five musicians seated onstage present the complex, ravishing score in a way rarely heard today, as the trend has gone toward blasting the audience. Read More
To maintain a festival devoted to a single composer for 38 years, amid economic downturns and fierce competition by big organizations, is a daunting challenge. As the Midsummer Mozart Festival gets under way in the Bay Area this week, conductor and co-founder George Cleve calls its success “miraculous.” The famed Vienna-born Mozart specialist remembers well the first rehearsal for the festival: “It happened to be my 39th birthday and we were working on Mozart’s Symphony No. 39,” he says. Read More