Friday, February 23, 2018


Maurizio Bernini will miss two performances of Semiramide at the Met:
Gareth Morrell will replace Maurizio Benini as conductor for performances of Rossini’s Semiramide on Saturday February 24 at 8.00pm and Wednesday February 28th at 7.30pm, 2018.
British conductor Gareth Morrell made his Met debut in 1999 leading Lucia di Lammermoor. Since then he has conducted performances of FidelioDon GiovanniAidaLa Bohème and Tosca for the Met. He has been on the conducting staff at the Metropolitan Opera since 1996. Other engagements included Tristan und Isolde in Puerto Rico and Carmina Burana with the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra.
The cast for Semiramide includes Angela Meade in the title role, Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace, Javier Camarena as Idreno, Ildar Abdrazakov as King Assur and Ryan Speedo Green as the High Priest Oroe.
Remaining performances, conducted by Maestro Benini, are on March 3, 6, 10 (matinee), 14 and 17, 2018.
Do I care? Not really!

Friday Photo

Moon and night sky
Oakland, CA
December, 2017

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Keeping Track 2018-19

I will update this post as orchestras and opera companies announce their seasons.

New Music Festivals

Alex Ross tweeted this site, which should embarrass the crap out of several of the festivals listed. Less than 1/3 music composed women? You're not paying attention to what's going on around you.

  1. London Symphony Orchestra: approximately 118 works, 117 by men, 1 (one) by a woman. Reported on Twitter; not sure which season the report is for. 
  2. Orpheus Chamber Ensemble: 19 works, an All-Male Season.
  3. Houston Symphony, no works by women (total number of works not yet determined)
  4. Detroit Symphony Orchestra: works by 5 women among 12 living composers (total number of works not yet determined)
  5. Lafayette Symphony, Indiana: works by 2 women
  6. Philadelphia Orchestra: an All-Male Season. 5 works by 4 living men, 3 white, one black; no works by women (and a very dull season altogether).  Two women conduct the orchestra, Nathalie Stutzmann and Emmanuelle Haim.
  7. Chicago Symphony Orchestra: an All-Male Season. No works by women (and a very dull season altogether; have not counted works by the living yet).
  8. Pittsburgh SO: an All-Male Season.
  9. Los Angeles Philharmonic: 22 female composers (some white, some women of color); 27 composers of color (some male, some female). Enormous number of commissions and new works. Every other orchestra in the country should be embarrassed by the riches on the display here and the paucity of their own commitment to music of our time written by a diverse group of composers.
  10. Pacific Symphony: an All-Male Season.
  11. Seattle Symphony: works by 9 (nine) living women on the season, including the premiere of Caroline Shaw's piano concerto! Nice selection of works by living men as well, and a focus on French music that I like. I believe they've got an African American soloists and African American conductor on the season.

Opera Companies
  1. San Francisco Opera: 9 operas, all by men
  2. Houston Grand Opera: 6 operas, all by men
  3. Seattle Opera: 5 operas, all by men
  4. Los Angeles Opera: 9 operas, 8 by men, 1 by two women
  5. Canadian Opera Company: 6 operas, all by men
  6. Santa Fe Opera: 5 operas, all by men
  7. Montreal Opera, 5 operas, 1 by a woman (Svadba (Wedding), which played in SF in 2016)
  8. Washington National Opera: 5 MainStage operas, all by men. Three women conduct: Nicole Paiement (Silent Night, Puts); Keri-Lynn Wilson (Faust; let's hope she doesn't fall asleep at the podium); Speranza Scappucci (Tosca). Alternate stages has 2 operas, both by women: Jeanine Tesori's The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me and Kamala Sankaram's Taking Up Serpents, which is conducted by Lidya Yankovskaya.
  9. Metropolitan Opera, All-Male Season of 27 operas (29 if you count Trittico as 3 rather than 1)

News from SFS Youth Orchestra

My first reaction to the recent press release from SF Symphony was, "Wow, the youth symphony is a little ahead of SFS adult symphony." The SFSYO will be playing a major commission from Iranian composer Anahita Abbasi, with the participation of the amazing International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) on its March 4 program.

I also have a vague memory of someone mentioning in a review that the Samuel Adams piece SFS played a few years back had been written for a youth symphony and thus, well, it must be easier than the usual symphonic repertory. I would not have reached such a conclusion myself after I heard it, especially not when youth symphonies play Le Sacre du PrintempsFauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Ligeti’s Concert Românesc, which the SFSYO will do on its May 13 program. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Adams Family Affair

The St. Lawrence String Quartet gave a performance on Sunday of music by guys named Adams: John (Coolidge) Adams and Samuel Carl Adams, who happen to be closely related. I reviewed the program for SFCV.

The more recent JCA quartet doesn't seem to me to be a very successful work, especially not when played within an hour or so of the marvelous First Quartet. Perhaps arm-wrestling in public with the ghost of Ludwig van isn't the best way for him to write really great music.

SCA's quartet is a winner! I liked the one piece of his that I heard at SFS a few years ago, and look forward to hearing more from him.

Aus Licht

From comments to an entirely unrelated post, with apologies for the sloppy overlap with the right-hand sidebar:

The URLs, in clickable form:

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Little Early?

It's February 19. What organization is already advertising tickets for its New Year's Eve Gala?

And There Was Rejoicing in the Land

John Keenan, who was to conduct the Friday, Feb. 23, performance of Parsifal at the Met, has withdrawn owing to illness. Incoming Met Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin will lead the performance, which was to have been the performance in the run that he did not lead.

Museum Mondays


Wooden Panels, Bavarian National MuseumMunich, August, 2015

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Path of Miracles at Grace Cathedral

Path of Miracles
Grace Cathedral, February 9, 2018
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

I saw and reviewed a most remarkable performance last week, the dance/choral work Path of Miracles, which started life as a choral work by Joby Talbot and is now also incarnated as a dance with choreography by KT Nelson. Path of Miracles was performed by ODC Dance and the magnificent chorus Volti. Here's my review, which I hope does the whole amazing experience justice.

I took some photos. I know, this is almost never allowed, and I was very surprised. My current cell phone has a terrible camera, so the photos aren't great and aren't nearly as good as what I could do with my dSLR.

I need to look up and post the lighting designer's name. It was Tony Shayne of ODC, says Barbara Heroux, Volti's ED, in the comments. (Thank you!) The lighting was very beautiful and carefully planned and added a lot to the experience. I've added a comment to my review at SFCV crediting Mr. Shayne.