As concert and opera seasons begin in the fall, one consequence of having planned events many months ago becomes clear: cancellations.
As in the rest of the world, Bay Area organizations, too, must deal with such changes, sometimes involving major star attractions.
At the San Francisco Symphony, conductors Daniel Harding and Thomas Adès have withdrawn from the season. Harding canceled his Oct. 26–28 concerts, with Gustav Holst’s The Planets on the program, in order to conduct The Cleveland Orchestra on tour in Israel. On Sept. 26, the SF Symphony announced Elim Chan would replace Harding for the performances.
Adès withdrew from February 2024 concerts and a SoundBox appearance in order to conduct a new production of his opera The Exterminating Angel at the Paris Opera. His replacement at SFS is yet to be announced.
Still unknown at this time is whether Michael Tilson Thomas will lead his scheduled Oct. 19–22 concerts of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony after canceling his Sept. 30 New World Symphony appearance because his doctor advised him not to travel. In 2022, the SFS music director laureate shared that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and he has continued his work while following medical recommendations.
San Francisco Opera, where contracts are signed years ahead of productions, has been more stable than usual this fall. The one notable change has been in the company’s season-opening production of Il trovatore, with mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk taking over the role of Azucena from Anita Rachvelishvili, who cited “personal reasons” for withdrawing.
There is bad news at Cal Performances, which announced last week the cancellation of soprano Christine Goerke’s Oct. 8 recital “as she continues to recover from a recent COVID-19 infection.” The concert — with a generous program of works by Brahms, Wagner, and Richard Strauss, as well as a selection of American popular music — will not be rescheduled during the 2023–2024 season.