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Spring Season Preview: Part II

January 7, 2013

We should all follow Katharine Hepburn's advice: "Life is to be lived. You had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting."

So for those of you whose existence is enhanced by live concerts, it's time to pass on to you some of the best offerings for the second half of the season, month by month.


Elīna Garanča in Recital

Elīna GarančaGiven that this alluring Latvian mezzo, whose major instrument has graced the stages of many of the world’s major houses, is not scheduled to debut at San Francisco Opera anytime soon, this recital offers our only in-person opportunity to gauge the power of her voice and depth of her artistry. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. (Jason Victor Serinus)

April 9, Elīna Garanča in Recital

Marin Symphony: Brahms Requiem

The Marin Symphony presents Brahms’s German Requiem, preceded by a beautiful and far more tender elegy to the transience of life by Anna Clyne, Within Her Arms, which drew a rave review from SFCV’s Benjamin Frandzel when it was performed at the Cabrillo Music Festival in 2011. (Jeff Dunn)

April 14-16, Marin Symphony: Brahms Requiem

Laurie Anderson/ Kronos Quartet

Laurie Anderson with the Kronos QuartetIt’s hard not to be at least intrigued by this first-ever meeting of titans, Kronos Quartet and performance artist/ composer Laurie Anderson. They collaborate on an evening length work, commissioned by and premiering at Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall. (Michael Zwiebach)

April 20-21, Laurie Anderson/ Kronos Quartet

Handel and Haydn Society: Jephtha Cal Performances

Harry Christophers leads the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston in Handel’s brooding, tense oratorio Jephtha, in which tragedy is averted by the thinnest of margins. One of the greatest music dramas ever penned, in what promises to be a fine performance. (Michael Zwiebach)

April 27, Handel and Haydn Society: Jephtha Cal Performances

Matthias Goerne: Winterreise

Matthias GoerneOne of the great baritone lieder specialists of this or any age, Matthias Goerne partners with pianist/conductor Christoph Eschenbach in a performance of Franz Schubert’s final song cycle, Winterreise (Winter’s Journey). Winterreise demands an artist as supreme as Goerne, and a pianist who does more than hitch a sleigh to the vocal line. Some of Goerne’s interpretations may be controversial, but so what. After all, isn’t this San Francisco? (Jason Victor Serinus)

April 28, Matthias Goerne: Winterreise

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Taylor, 82 and amazing, sends three shows March 30-April 2 to the Novellus Theater, including local premieres of Kith and Kin, Gossamer Gallants and The Uncommitted. (Janice Berman)

May 1-5, Paul Taylor Dance Company

San Francisco Symphony: Beethoven in Absolute Earnest

If you can’t get enough of trombones (see Berlioz’ Te Deum), you can return in May to Davies Symphony Hall for a celebration of Beethoven's middle years, which includes his rarely performed Equali for four trombones. Also on the program is his Fourth Symphony, the song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte, sung by tenor Michael Fabiano, and Absolute Jest by the indefatigable John Adams, which incorporates elements of Beethoven's late quartets into the music. (Jeff Dunn)

May 4-9, S.F. Symphony: Beethoven in Absolute Earnest

The Traveling Lee Actor Festival

Lee Actor is a local composer with three orchestral performances coming up. His mastery of a style evoking 20th-century Americana with touches of Shostakovich and Stravinsky, attuned to the abilities of the non-professional orchestras he often works with, should win audiences looking for intelligent yet agreeable contemporary music. His Symphony No. 3 receives its premiere from the Palo Alto Philharmonic on April 6th, and the Mission Chamber Orchestra is playing his Divertimento on April 27, but the most promising and professional-level concert is likely to be the premiere of his Piano Concerto, soloist Daniel Glover performing with the Peninsula Symphony under Mitchell Sardou Klein, on May 17-18. (David Bratman)

May 17 and 18, The Traveling Lee Actor Festival

Philip Glass: La Belle et la Bête, Koyannisqatsi

KoyannisqatsiHelp the maestro of the minor triad arpeggio celebrate his 75th birthday year by hearing the Philip Glass Ensemble play two of his finest scores: La Belle et la Bête, set against a screening of Jean Cocteau’s film, and Koyannisqatsi, to Godfrey Reggio’s brilliant film. Q&A with the composer follows some performances. Presented by S.F. Performances (Michael Zwiebach)

May 23-26, Philip Glass: La Belle et la Bête, Koyannisqatsi

San Francisco Opera, The Tales of Hoffmann

With one caveat, the cast is superb: the prospect of a new production by Laurent Pelly immensely attractive. Gifted coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay remains a supreme singing actress, but her singing of late has been somewhat unsteady and rocky in the stratosphere; tenor Matthew Polenzani, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, on the other hand, are at the top of their game. (Jason Victor Serinus)

June 5-July 6, San Francisco Opera, The Tales of Hoffmann

Ojai North: Mark Morris Dance Group

Mark Morris Dance GroupThe master, music director of Cal Performances’ Ojai North festival (not to mention Ojai itself), brings his company to Zellerbach Hall for one night only, June 13: Mosaic and United, and the world premiere of his The Rite of Spring, with music from The Bad Plus and the American String Quartet. (Janice Berman)

June 13, Ojai North: Mark Morris Dance Group

Ojai North: Mavericks in Song

Choreographer Mark Morris, curator of this year’s Ojai North, showcases of the same American mavericks who float MTT’s boat. June 15 brings us three different vocal performances with three gifted young singers: soprano Yulia Van Doren, mezzo-soprano Jamie Van Eyck, and baritone Douglas Williams. Show up at noon, 2, and 9 in Hertz Hall to hear too rarely encountered music by John Cage, Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Charles Ives. (Jason Victor Serinus)

June 15, Ojai North!: Mavericks in Song

San Francisco Opera: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

You may have heard of Mark Adamo after the nationwide broadcast of his opera Little Women, which premiered in Houston in 1998 with a Merola graduate named Joyce DiDonato in one of the title roles, and catapulted him to fame. But with a no doubt juicy libretto about a so-called harlot that is sure to offend some, and a starry cast that includes luscious-voiced Sasha Cooke in her SFO debut, Maria Kanyova (our Pat Nixon), William Burden, and Nathan Gunn, this could be quite the show. (Jason Victor Serinus)

June 19-July 7, San Francisco Opera: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

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