Classical Music Reviews

Every week, our professional critics attend concerts throughout the Bay Area to let you know what went well...and occasionally what didn't. Let their insights enrich your musical experiences, and feel free to share your own views!


Recital REVIEW
 San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music  In a Mixed-Bag Program, Sarah Cahill Mostly Shines
May 31, 2016
The pianist’s remarkable technique and musicianship added sparkle to the pedestrian and clarity to the obscure. More about San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music »
Opera REVIEW
 San Francisco Opera  S.F. Opera’s <em>Carmen</em> Puts a Startling, Visceral Spin on an Age-Old Tale
May 31, 2016
Calixto Bieito’s setting of Bizet’s classic explores the corrosive effects of doomed love. More about San Francisco Opera »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  MTT and S.F. Symphony Bring Broadway to Van Ness with <em>On the Town</em>
May 27, 2016
The semistaged production cleverly transcends limits and delivers an exuberant reading of Bernstein’s score. More about San Francisco Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Susan Graham Triumphs as Cleopatra in Agony and Ecstasy
May 25, 2016
The popular mezzo-soprano justifies her adulation in a standout performance of an eerie Berlioz cantata. More about San Francisco Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Oakland Symphony  Michael Morgan Guides the Oakland Symphony on a Tranquil, Spiritual Journey
May 24, 2016
A John Adams piece featuring electric violin is at the heart of a program exploring the contemplative side of 20th-century music. More about Oakland Symphony »
Opera REVIEW
 Ars Minerva  Ars Minerva Indulges In Sublime Silliness With <em>Amazons</em>
May 23, 2016
Excellent singing was at the fore of a genuinely funny operatic comedy from 1679. More about Ars Minerva »
Choral REVIEW
 San Francisco Bach Choir  S.F. Bach Choir’s Spirited Mass in B Minor Verges on the Magnificent
May 17, 2016
Dr. Magen Solomon has guided the venerable community choir to new levels of artistry. More about San Francisco Bach Choir »
Modern Classical REVIEW
 chamber/text  John Harbison’s Expansive, Playful Music Celebrated at chamber/text
May 17, 2016
A great American composer shows his variety in a well-balanced, entertaining performance at chamber/text, the free concert series. More about chamber/text »
Modern Classical REVIEW
 Center for New Music  Ligeti Etudes Ignite Under Taka Kigawa’s Fingers
May 13, 2016

Pianist Taka Kigawa brought energy and immediacy to Ligeti’s pianistic Everest.

More about Center for New Music »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 California Symphony  California Symphony Makes Room for the Guitar
May 10, 2016
A concerto penned under the auspices of the symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence program gets the spotlight in a beautifully balanced program. More about California Symphony »