James Ambroff-Tahan

Beethoven's audacious 1805 opera addressed tyranny in Napoleonic-occupied Vienna and was set in a prison-like fortress. Set designer Alexander V. Nichols created a multilevel, dynamically rotating cubed structure of prison cells, interrogation rooms and offices that are equipped with projected surveillance cameras. (Courtesy San Francisco Opera)

San Francisco Opera premieres ‘Fidelio’ a year late, but with the zeitgeist

Matthew Ozawa’s new production addresses tyranny in Beethoven’s time and ours

Beethoven's audacious 1805 opera addressed tyranny in Napoleonic-occupied Vienna and was set in a prison-like fortress. Set designer Alexander V. Nichols created a multilevel, dynamically rotating cubed structure of prison cells, interrogation rooms and offices that are equipped with projected surveillance cameras. (Courtesy San Francisco Opera)
Former Rolling Stone writer and editor Ben Fong-Torres is a longtime fan of Top 40 music and radio. (Courtesy Suzanne Joe Kai/Mill Valley Film Festival)

Ben Fong-Torres, SF’s famed music journalist, gets movie treatment

Documentary by Suzanne Joe Kai at Mill Valley Film Festival

Former Rolling Stone writer and editor Ben Fong-Torres is a longtime fan of Top 40 music and radio. (Courtesy Suzanne Joe Kai/Mill Valley Film Festival)
Composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin, center, and cast and instrumentalists rehearse “The No One’s Rose,” which premieres Aug. 25 in Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.<ins> (Courtesy Or Schraiber)</ins>

Delay makes ‘The No One’s Rose’ premiere all the more poignant

Matthew Aucoin’s multi-genre contemporary opera takes on new meaning in pandemic era

Composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin, center, and cast and instrumentalists rehearse “The No One’s Rose,” which premieres Aug. 25 in Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.<ins> (Courtesy Or Schraiber)</ins>
Ailyn Pérez as Tosca and Michael Fabiano as Cavaradossi are excellent in Puccini’s “Tosca,” the opening production of San Francisco Opera’s 99th season. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

SF Opera returns to War Memorial with fittingly impassioned ‘Tosca’

Music director Eun Sun Kim debuts, lead singers emotional in first pandemic-era live production

Ailyn Pérez as Tosca and Michael Fabiano as Cavaradossi are excellent in Puccini’s “Tosca,” the opening production of San Francisco Opera’s 99th season. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
The orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House has a new seat configuration that offers better sightlines and improved comfort. (Courtesy Kristen Loken)

With remodel complete, War Memorial Opera House is ready for its close-up

Years-in-the-making seat upgrade project concludes in time for ‘Tosca’ opening

The orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House has a new seat configuration that offers better sightlines and improved comfort. (Courtesy Kristen Loken)
Lucy Walker’s documentary “Bring Your Own Brigade” covers the complexities of California’s biggest wildfires. (Courtesy CBS Films)

‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ examines why California wildfires are intensifying

Experts describe how deadliest blazes occurred, and what could be done so they won’t happen again

Lucy Walker’s documentary “Bring Your Own Brigade” covers the complexities of California’s biggest wildfires. (Courtesy CBS Films)
Ali Suliman plays a West Bank man who struggles to stay in contact with his family members, who live on the Israeli side of the border wall, in “200 Meters,” which streams in the 41st San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. (Courtesy Alaa Ali Abdallah)

41st SF Jewish film fest screens at Castro and online

Dozens of movies from around the world reflect varied experiences, views

Ali Suliman plays a West Bank man who struggles to stay in contact with his family members, who live on the Israeli side of the border wall, in “200 Meters,” which streams in the 41st San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. (Courtesy Alaa Ali Abdallah)
A new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” directed by Matthew Ozawa and designed by Alexander V. Nichols will be onstage at the War Memorial Opera House in October. (Courtesy Alexander V. Nichols)

SF Opera announces transitional 99th season

Company returns to Opera House with downsized schedule, no fall ball

A new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” directed by Matthew Ozawa and designed by Alexander V. Nichols will be onstage at the War Memorial Opera House in October. (Courtesy Alexander V. Nichols)
Alison Bechdel of “Dykes to Watch Out For” is among the artists featured in “No Straight Lines.”<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>

‘No Straight Lines’ details history of queer comics

Frameline45 hosts dozens of LGBTQ+ films online, in theaters

Alison Bechdel of “Dykes to Watch Out For” is among the artists featured in “No Straight Lines.”<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>
Antoine Hunter/Purple Fire Crow performs with New Century Chamber Orchestra musicians — from left, Nicole Sauder, Jenny Douglass and Michelle Djokic — in Episode 2 of the online “Resonance Series.” (Courtesy David Law)

Chamber musicians unite with sculptor, dancer on film

Clever collaborations in New Century Chamber Orchestra’s ‘Resonance Series’

Antoine Hunter/Purple Fire Crow performs with New Century Chamber Orchestra musicians — from left, Nicole Sauder, Jenny Douglass and Michelle Djokic — in Episode 2 of the online “Resonance Series.” (Courtesy David Law)
San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)

SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

S.F. Opera, buffeted by pandemic, resolutely heads for brighter future

Challenging year spurs company to ‘look at new artistic horizons’

Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

SF Ballet adapts to COVID’s challenging footing

Dancers stay in shape preparing for 2021 digital season

Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)
Andrew Faulk wrote "My Epidemic." (Courtesy photo)

Doctor’s memoir a fitting remembrance for World AIDS Day

‘My Epidemic’ tells personal stories of men who died

Andrew Faulk wrote "My Epidemic." (Courtesy photo)
Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Robert Burns Lowman and Chloé Watson perform while incorporating COVID safety protocols at Mori Point in Pacifica. (Courtesy Vin Eiamvuthikom)

Performing arts groups surviving pandemic’s challenges

Local organizations weathering storm with diligent budgeting, creative programming

Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Robert Burns Lowman and Chloé Watson perform while incorporating COVID safety protocols at Mori Point in Pacifica. (Courtesy Vin Eiamvuthikom)
Obi Kaufmann’s new nature and art volume is “The Forests of California.” (Courtesy photo)

Forum on ‘Forests of California’ towers at virtual Litquake

Beloved SF literary festival goes online during pandemic, remains jam-packed

Obi Kaufmann’s new nature and art volume is “The Forests of California.” (Courtesy photo)
Gaëtan Dugas is the subject of “Killing Patient Zero,” a documentary about a gay flight attendant wrongly accused of starting the spread of AIDS in North America. (Courtesy photo)

Frameline44 revisits LGBTQ+ lessons from the past

Varied film lineup addresses themes that reverberate today

Gaëtan Dugas is the subject of “Killing Patient Zero,” a documentary about a gay flight attendant wrongly accused of starting the spread of AIDS in North America. (Courtesy photo)
San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Valerie Sainte-Agathe, at right with singers, says the organization has adapted well to life during the pandemic.                                 Courtesy photo

S.F. Girls Chorus concludes virtual season with Carnegie Hall concert re-broadcast

With a dedicated corps of youthful talent, the San Francisco Girls Chorus…

San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Valerie Sainte-Agathe, at right with singers, says the organization has adapted well to life during the pandemic.                                 Courtesy photo
Jacki Weaver stars in “Stage Mother,” a San Francisco-set feature closing the Frameline44 Pride Showcase. (Courtesy Frameline)

SF-set ‘Stage Mother’ closes Frameline Pride Showcase

Digital film fest offers features, shorts, docs of local and international interest

Jacki Weaver stars in “Stage Mother,” a San Francisco-set feature closing the Frameline44 Pride Showcase. (Courtesy Frameline)
Relentless gay rights and public health activist Larry Kramer was an acclaimed theater and screenwriter as well. (Courtesy HBO)

Larry Kramer’s persistence opened doors, achieved lasting results

Feisty advocate-writer left indelible impact on SF, the world

Relentless gay rights and public health activist Larry Kramer was an acclaimed theater and screenwriter as well. (Courtesy HBO)