Arts & Events

Bruckner’s 8th Symphony at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday March 31, 2015 - 08:12:00 AM

On one of my visits to Austria, I stopped at the monastery of St. Florian, a rural retreat southeast of Linz, where Anton Bruckner spent many years, first as a 13 year-old choirboy and later as a teacher and organist. The St. Florian monastery, built in the purest Baroque style, impressed me for its serenity. I could picture the humble, pious Bruckner spending hours improvising at the church’s organ, under which the crypt now houses the composer’s coffin. I do not claim to fully understand the music of Anton Bruckner; but I am sure that a key to understanding Bruckner the man and musician lies in his relation to St. Florian. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Rare Performance of Kathakali, Classical Theater from India

Ken Bullock
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:22:00 AM

Kathakali--almost everyone has seen at one time or another color photos of Kathakali performers ... on a travel poster, in a magazine ... usually the striking green, made-up face of an actor-dancer playing a god or a hero, maybe taking a great leap up in the air, wearing a gold crown and an ornate, colorful costume. -more-

Island City Opera’s Dazzling Production of Rossini’s IL SIGNOR BRUSCHINO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday March 31, 2015 - 08:09:00 AM

Alameda’s Island City Opera, an offshoot of Virago Opera, recently offered a double-bill of one-act operas, Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino. As a pairing, this was a bit of a mismatch. Mind you, I’m by no means anti-Puccini. My eyes rarely remain dry when Rodolfo cries out “Mimi!” at the end of La Bohème, even if I’ve seen this opera fifteen times. However, never has Puccini sounded more coarse and vulgar than in this production of Il Tabarro. On the other hand, rarely has Rossini – and the infrequently performed Il Signor Bruschino in particular – been staged and sung with more effervescence, wit, and engaging knockabout farce than in director Erin Neff’s brilliantly staged version of Rossini’s 1813 comic opera. -more-