Lisa Houston, is a soprano and writer who divides her time between Berlin and Berkeley. Her most recent engagements have been with the Leipzig Kammeroper in which she starred as legendary Wagnerian diva, Astrid Varnay in the comic play with music, See You in Wallhalla and in the title role of the premiere of the original production The Last Diva on Broadway. Her writings and meditations for singers can be found at her website, www.singerspirit.com.
Articles by this Author
Soprano Ellen Hargis will give three recitals with lutenist Paul O’Dette across the Bay Area in a program, titled “Wait! I’m Singing Now…,” featuring the music of Strozzi, Kapsberger, Scarlatti, Cesti, and Piccinini. SFCV asked Hargis about her love of early music, the challenges of balancing singing and teaching, and what it’s like to work as an early-music star in a modern world.More »
Festival Opera of Walnut Creek is continuing its summer season with Gaetano Donizetti’s masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor. The production opens Aug. 7, and the four performances will feature almost entirely Bay Area artists.More about Festival Opera »
Have you ever wondered during a concert what the composer was thinking and feeling while he or she wrote the piece you are listening to? Or what the composer’s home town was like? Or how political events of the day affected the audience’s reception of that work? If you attend Carmel Bach Festival’s “Aha! Beethoven” program, all your questions will be answered in a timely manner amid myriad musical excerpts performed by world-class musicians and singers.More about Carmel Bach Festival »
Music at Kohl is now in its 27th season of presenting music and musical education in the South Bay. The current year’s program includes performances by such well-known ensembles as the Borealis String Quartet, the Ives Quartet, and the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players.More about Music at Kohl »
A 15-year-old from Cleveland is coming to town to join the California Symphony in a program titled, simply, “Virtuosity.” The concerts on March 7 and 9 will feature the young virtuoso Chad Hoopes playing Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The easy demeanor and youthful enthusiasm Hoopes brought to his recent phone conversation with SFCV has also served him well on national talk shows, including the CBS Early Show and PBS’ From the Top: Live at Carnegie Hall.More about California Symphony »
Jeffrey Thomas is preparing American Bach Soloists for their two performances of Handel’s Messiah at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral this weekend. He is also writing a book on Handel’s masterpiece, leading the ABS into new educational territories (including a summer training program), and finding time to create the occasional chilled-avocado and seafood soup.More »
With an abundance of choices for choral music this season, you might want to mark your calendar for “Canción de Navidad,” the Dec. 12 and 13 concerts of Clerestory, a relative newcomer to the Bay Area’s choral scene. Founded in 2006, the nine-member male ensemble features seasoned soloists and veterans from the area’s best choruses.More about Clerestory »
A perfect evening at the Symphony or a dazzling night at the Opera might begin with a new outfit, a trip to the barber, and, once you’re properly outfitted, dinner out. Whether having hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with friends, or a fine meal at a restaurant near the concert hall, you can be sure that many of your fellow diners are headed for the same enjoyable evening that you are. But once you’ve soared on the golden wings of Puccini or Mahler, you might find yourself unceremoniously dropped into the less than majestic scene of San Francisco’s Civic Center after 11 p.m.More "Before and After the Performance: A “Where To?” Guide" »
This week Bay Area music lovers can look forward to two events featuring the music and scholarship of baritone Thomas Hampson. Tuesday evening, he will be joined at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music by curators from the Library of Congress to discuss their collaboration celebrating the history of American song. Wednesday he will perform a concert at Herbst Theatre with pianist Wolfram Rieger, titled “Song of America.” Hampson took time out from his preparations to discuss the project, the relationship between poetry and music, and his latest e-book download.
A night like this could get to be a habit. Saturday’s simulcast of San Francisco Opera’s Il trovatore was the seventh free, live simulcast in a tradition instituted by General Director David Gockley in 2006 and the fourth to be held at AT&T Park. The staid glamour of the opera house was happily exchanged by many for a jovial, picnic setting and a ticket price that can’t be beat. (It’s free.)More "Knocking Opera Into the Ballpark" »
Christine Brewer is coming to town. Her upcoming recital for Cal Performances on Sept. 27 will feature the music of Berg, Strauss, and Britten, along with some old chestnuts favored by big-voiced sopranos of the last century. She was happy to be back home in St. Louis for a couple of weeks, as I caught up with her to chat about her life as world-class dramatic soprano, mother and ... Hootenanny hostess.More »
Raised in Sacramento, and an alumnus of both the Merola program at San Francisco Opera and the Resident Artist training program at Opera San José, bass Kirk Eichelberger now sings lead roles with opera companies throughout the U.S. He is currently in rehearsal to play Mephistopheles in Festival Opera’s production of Faust. I sat down with him to ask him about his career, his training, and how he likes playing the devil.
What did you learn as a resident artist at Opera San José and a graduate of Merola?More »
This weekend, you can take a picnic, and bring as many friends as you like to enjoy a free performance in Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park. This might evoke memories for some of a small artistic collective that began in 1974 and has now grown to become Cal Shakes. But the latest free show to encourage lovers of the performing arts is called Open Opera.More »
It might be possible to look at the newest arrivals at a company like San Francisco Opera as beginners of a sort, perched on the bottom rung on a most accomplished ladder. Yet the 29 young artists (24 singers and five coaches) who arrived on June 1 for 11 weeks of training have already studied and trained for years to earn the right to participate in the Merola Opera Program, one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for young artists.More "Singers' Round Table:
Introducing the Merola Artists, 2009" »
Thousands gathered at AT&T Park last night to enjoy Puccini’s Tosca, overpriced beer, and a gorgeous twilight as San Francisco Opera continued its tradition of Opera In the Park. Birds flew past the screen as an almost full moon emerged, disappeared, and reemerged from behind billowing clouds.More "Opera in the Park is Extravagantly Entertaining" »
Mills College caps off its Music Festival this Sunday with a concert celebrating the reopening of its beautifully restored concert hall and the 60th birthday of Music Department Chair, Fred Frith. The composer, improviser, and guitar pioneer discusses teaching, improvisation, and what fuels his creative fire.More »
It is a season for anniversaries at Berkeley Opera. This year is the company’s 30th season, which will be celebrated at a star-studded gala on March 29, featuring soprano Ruth Ann Swenson. Their current production of Jacques Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley through March 8, marks the 10th anniversary of the company’s premiere of librettist David Scott Marley’s adaptation of that work.More "The Interpretation of Tales" »