Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus is a music critic, professional whistler, and lecturer on classical vocal recordings. His credits includes Seattle Times, Listen, Opera News, Opera Now, American Record Guide, Stereophile, Classical Voice North America, Carnegie Hall Playbill, Gramophone, San Francisco Magazine, Stanford Live, Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco Examiner, AudioStream, and California Magazine.

Articles by this Author

Opera REVIEW
 Opera Parallèle  Operatic Heaven From Hell
January 30, 2010

Ensemble Parallèle sold itself short by emphasizing that their two performances of Alban Berg’s nightmarish early-20th-century opera, Wozzeck, would fill the breach left since San Francisco Opera last performed the work in November, 1999. Heard and seen in the relative intimacy of Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the West Coast premiere of John Rea’s 21-musician chamber reorchestration needed no apologia. Ensemble Parallèle’s oft-devastating, 90-minute multimedia wow of a production was whole and complete unto itself.

More about Opera Parallèle »
Artist Spotlight
January 26, 2010

Few concertgoers who heard it will forget violinist Vadim Gluzman’s San Francisco Symphony debut in May 2008. Performing Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Gluzman delivered a performance that elicited critical superlatives, with SFCV’s critic praising his “dark tone and sinewy strength” and “deep, concentrated sound and the powerful evenness of his bowing.”

More »
CD REVIEW
  John Adams: Nixon in China Barren Diplomacy Makes for Mesmerizing Music
January 26, 2010

Those of us fortunate enough to attend Opera Colorado’s 2008 production of John Adams’ engrossing opera Nixon in China were swept to our feet by its cumulative impact. Given that the performance of soloists and Colorado Symphony Orchestra, under the able hand of Marin Alsop, and the Opera Colorado Chorus under Douglas Kinney Frost, was witnessed by many hundreds of the music and arts critics and personnel who had descended on Denver for the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention, the artistic triumph was all the greater.

More »
Upcoming Concert
veretskipass130.jpg
    January 25, 2010

    How can religious music devoid of language serve as a unifying force in a world divided by doctrine? This question led Veretski Pass, a unique klezmer trio, to create a new body of Jewish religious music titled The Klezmer Shul. Premiering in Jewish venues in Alameda (Feb. 8), Berkeley (Feb. 10), and Palo Alto (Feb. 14), the 45-minute, four movement instrumental suite — a pioneering attempt to fuse the spiritual essence of Jewish cantorial music with a modern instrumental aesthetic — intends to transmit the emotional power of traditional synagogue singing without the use of words.

    More »

    Recital REVIEW
     San Francisco Performances  Nathan Gunn, Out of the Comfort Zone
    January 12, 2010

    The exceptionally fine baritone Nathan Gunn was at Herbst Theatre last Tuesday, where he tackled Schubert’s song cycle Die schöne Müllerin (The fair maid of the mill) in a recital for San Francisco Performances. If Gunn, who was accompanied by his wife, Julie Gunn, failed to score an interpretive touchdown, perhaps it’s because he was unsure where the goalposts were.

    More about San Francisco Performances »
    CD REVIEW
      La Barcha d'Amore The Savalls’ Ship of Love
    December 29, 2009

    La Barcha d’Amore is a celebration. Exquisitely planned and executed, the anthology celebrates over 30 years of music-making by ensemble Hespèrion XX (now Hespèrion XXI) and orchestra Le Concert des Nations.

    More »
    Upcoming Concert
    jacobs.paul130.jpg
      December 29, 2009

      There’s a good reason that Pennsylvania-born Paul Jacobs, 32, is frequently dubbed an organ evangelist. Even before he made music history at age 23, when he played J.S. Bach’s complete works for the organ in an 18-hour nonstop marathon, Jacobs was on a mission to resurrect respect for organ artistry. 

      More »

      Feature Article
      December 22, 2009

      As we approach the year 2010, downloading music has become as ubiquitous as iPods.

      More "Downloading Primer: How to Get the Most From Your Clicks" »
      Upcoming Concert
      ramandanoff_david130.jpg
        December 21, 2009

        What do Elvis, Mozart, and Beethoven have in common? The connection is not what you might expect.

        Besides the fact that all three are dead, Maestro David Ramadanoff had one reason for putting Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis and Mozart’s Serenade in D major K. 239 (Serenata notturna) together with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on the Vallejo Symphony's Jan. 9 concert.

        More about Vallejo Symphony Orchestra »

        Recital REVIEW
         Cal Performances  The New Depths of Renée Fleming
        December 6, 2009

        Renée Fleming surprised us on Sunday night. Walking onto the Zellerbach Hall stage for her virtually sold-out Cal Performances recital, ensconced in a form-fitting, gorgeous green dress that would be the envy of any prom queen, she looked as beautiful as ever. But no one expected her, after she took her place alongside the piano, to pick up a microphone and address the audience.

        More about Cal Performances »
        Chamber Music REVIEW
         San Francisco Performances Ji Young Yang and Gerald Thompson Shepherdess With a Sword
        December 2, 2009

        When Christine Lim of San Francisco Performances invited former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow soprano Ji Young Yang to present a one-hour Salon at the Rex, Yang proposed a pairing with her fellow, former Adlerian, countertenor Gerald Thompson. Thus was born a duo recital that began with early music, then embraced the unexpected.

        The duo immediately set the tone on Wednesday night with two works by Purcell.

        More about San Francisco Performances »
        Upcoming Concert
        jeanrenaud.joan130.jpg
          December 1, 2009

          A significant homecoming is on the horizon for the Kronos Quartet. On Dec. 13 at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, the astounding Joan Jeanrenaud, who was the quartet’s cellist for two decades before taking her leave over 10 years ago, rejoins her old cohorts for the world premiere of Vladimir Martynov’s Schubert-Quintet (Unfinished). The work was written with a reunion in mind.

          More about Kronos Quartet »

          Feature Article
          November 30, 2009

          Given the large number of fine recordings released in the past year, a first-time visitor to Planet Earth would hardly suspect that the record industry is in the doldrums. Nor will the music lovers on your holiday gift list think anything is amiss, if you present them with one or more of the sonic goodies in the guide that follows.

          For well over a year, SFCV has been publishing reviews of CDs and DVDs. Most recordings that we’ve already covered, which run the gamut from core repertoire to the new and upcoming, would make swell holiday gifts.

          More "A Gift of Song For the Holidays" »
          CD REVIEW
            Sacrificium Cecilia Bartoli: More With Less
          December 1, 2009

          It’s a toss-up as to whether listening to mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli’s spectacular new Decca recording of music written for the star castrati of the 18th century is more exhilarating or exhausting. Many of Sacrificium’s 15 arias, which are stronger as virtuosic showpieces than conveyers of emotional truth, contain more trills, roulades, and impossibly difficult runs than any singer can be rightly expected to generate in the course of a day. 

          More »
          CD REVIEW
            Renée Fleming: Verismo The Truth a la Fleming
          November 24, 2009

          Eyebrows rise at the thought of Renée Fleming, a soprano who has built her reputation on the creamy beauty she brings to lyric soprano roles created by Mozart, Strauss, and others, singing the wrenching verismo repertoire of Puccini, Mascagni, Catalani, Cilea, and others. Verismo is about blood and guts, sweat and suffering, and enough over-the-top singing to sear the makeup off Fleming’s ubiquitous glamour shots.

          More »
          Recital REVIEW
           San Francisco Performances Joyce DiDonato   Banking on Greatness
          November 16, 2009

          I have no greater joy than basking in the artistry of a great singer at the top of her form. Such was my feeling as mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, perfectly accompanied by pianist John Churchwell, began her San Francisco Performances recital Monday at Herbst Theatre. Singing to an eager audience that included many supporters and fans who have followed her ever since her 1997 San Francisco summer in the Merola Opera Program, DiDonato looked every inch the star in the baby-blue, Grecian-style dress and gold-patterned cinch that perfectly complemented her shining blonde hair.

          More about San Francisco Performances »
          CD REVIEW
            Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: Pictures Reframed Putting It Together
          November 17, 2009

          Pictures Reframed, a multimedia presentation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition that unites the pianism of Norway’s Leif Ove Andsnes (b. 1970) with the graphics and film of South African visual artist Robin Rhode (b. 1976), is a stunning achievement. Far more than merely another multimedia collaboration for our multitasking, iPod-toting era, it brilliantly illumines Mussorgsky’s achievement in ways that transcend the literalism of words, images, and notes on a page.

          More »
          Critics' Picks
          focile.nuccia.jpg
          • Critics Pick
          November 11, 2009

          She’s a veteran Sicilian soprano who has sung at the Met, Covent Garden, and La Scala. He’s the young Mexican tenor who, having won Placido Domingo’s 2006 Operalia Competition, went from the Merola summer program to an Adler Fellowship.

          The major roles he’s undertaking at the War Memorial Opera House clearly indicate that he’s being groomed as a future Pavarotti. (He has already subbed for Rolando Villazón.)

          More about Cal Performances »

          CD REVIEW
            Rossini-Colbran, the Muse Passion and Fireworks From Joyce DiDonato
          November 10, 2009

          By the time she completes the first astounding 50-second musical statement of “D’Amor al dolce impero” (To the sweet rule of love), mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has delivered her calling card. The soaring high notes, seamless runs, and imperious declarations of the impossibly demanding second-act finale of Gioachino Rossini’s opera Armida establish, in no uncertain terms, that she’s a major artist at the height of her powers.

          More »
          Chamber Music REVIEW
           San Francisco Performances Salons at the Rex Exciting Young Singers Need Polish
          November 4, 2009

          It’s no wonder that San Francisco Performances’ intimate Italian salon at San Francisco’s Hotel Rex sold out two weeks in advance.

          More about San Francisco Performances »