Arts & Events

New: Another Stirring Soprano Debut in San Francisco Opera’s TOSCA

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 28, 2014 - 08:14:00 PM

In a season dominated by star-quality sopranos, San Francisco Opera offered yet another outstanding company debut in Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian’s vocally voluptuous Floria Tosca. Critics have sometimes been harsh on Puccini’s Tosca – Joseph Kerman haughtily dismissed it as “that shabby little shocker” – but audiences have always loved it. In San Francisco, the first-night audience for Tosca on Thursday, October 23, offered frequent bravos and bravas as well as a standing ovation at the close of the opera. As was warranted, the greatest outbursts of applause went to Lianna Haroutounian for her sumptuous singing as Tosca, a role in which she offered superb vocalism featuring brilliant high notes and lush low notes. Haroutounian has already sung at Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and makes her New York Met debut later this year. -more-

CITIZENFOUR: Documenting Edward Snowden's Pulitzer-Prize-winning Act of Courage
Opens at the Albany Twin theater on October 24.

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Friday October 24, 2014 - 11:42:00 AM

CITIZENFOUR is a real-life spy thriller featuring three charismatic and eloquent individuals driven by high moral purpose into a knife-ringed pit of high-stakes intrigue. The dialogue crackles like a Hollywood script in a story that unfolds like a John le Carre novel. -more-

Pelican Dreams: If You Love Birds, This Movie Fills the Bill
At Berkeley's Elmwood Theater

Gar Smith
Friday October 24, 2014 - 11:36:00 AM

Note: Director Judy Irving will be on stage for a Q&A after Saturday's 7:20PM screening. -more-

Press Release: Melody of China to Combine Chinese Traditional Music with Western New Music in Bay Area Premiere Performances in November

Friday October 24, 2014 - 11:06:00 AM

Talent and beauty are merged into one as Melody of China, San Francisco’s premiere Chinese chamber ensemble, premieres a new work at Old First Church on Friday, November 7 at 8 P.M. with follow-up performances at Yoshi’s Oakland and the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. The program will feature captivating performances by the bold and dynamic Melody of China, known for their mastery of Chinese traditional instruments, with talented guests Peter Josheff, Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Marcus Shelby and Deszon X. Claiborne.

All three concerts will showcase Melody of China’s (MoC) newest commissions, exciting collaborations, and lively traditional selections. The program at Old First Church (San Francisco) will feature the premiere of Yuanlin Chen’s "Coexistent Beauty" for yangqin, guzheng, pipa, sheng, dizi, bass clarinet, violin, cello, keyboard and electronics. Chen’s piece, supported by a grant from Chamber Music America, will be performed again at the Community School of Music and Arts and Yoshi’s Oakland. In the composer’s words: “Coexistent Beauty explores differences and connections in various perspectives among human society.” The program at Yoshi’s will also include a new work for Chinese instruments and jazz quartet along with a vocal performance by MoC’s own Gangqin Zhao. The program at the Community School will include Chen’s new work and traditional selections. Other pieces include "Flying China," MoC’s own medley of traditional pieces showcasing each instrument, and several other stirring selections from the group’s vast traditional repertoire.

The concerts will feature several high-profile guests including the bay area’s leading new music clarinetist Peter Josheff, violinist Dan Flanagan, cellist Kevin Yu, drummer Deszon X. Claiborne, Mongolian Horse-head fiddle master Bo Li and keyboardist Eric Myers. The Yoshi’s date will also feature jazz pioneers pianist Jon Jang, saxophonist Francis Wong and bassist Marcus Shelby. -more-

Press Release: Demonstration on Saturday to Block Israeli Ship at Port of Oakland

From Lara Kiswani
Friday October 24, 2014 - 10:58:00 AM

Oakland—On Saturday, October 26, 2014, hundreds of people from across the Bay Area will picket at Berth 57 in the Port of Oakland to block the Israeli owned ZIM Lines ship from unloading to protest Israel’s continued blockade on Gaza and its ongoing occupation of Palestine. Organized by Block the Boat Coalition (BTB), this protest follows the historic success of a similar BTB action in August in response to the Israeli bombardment on Gaza. The Zim Piraeus was prevented from unloading for four straight days and was ultimately forced to leave with most of its cargo still on board. -more-