Arts & Events

New: West Edge Opera’s Concert Version of Verdi’s I DUE FOSCARI

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday May 05, 2015 - 01:41:00 PM

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera I due Foscari (The Two Foscaris) occupies a strange and unique place in my opera-going experience. It is – or was until yesterday – the only opera I once saw but never heard. In 2012, I attended a Los Angeles Opera performance of I due Foscari starring Placido Domingo in the baritone role of Doge Francesco Foscari. However, I had been swimming earlier in the day with my granddaughters at a Pasadena swimming pool, and my ears had become plugged so badly I couldn’t hear much at all. So when I attended I due Foscari that evening, the only voice I could faintly hear was that of soprano Marina Poplavskaya, who sang the role of Jacopo Foscari’s wife, Lucrezia; and she sounded to me as if she were miles away. All other voices went largely unheard. This was a huge disappointment to me, for this was my first opportunity to hear the rarely performed I due Foscari; and I wondered if I would ever get a second chance. -more-

Theater Reviews: 'Death of a Salesman' and a Kathakali Performance

Ken Bullock
Thursday April 30, 2015 - 03:38:00 PM

Two shows worthy of note in Bay Area theater played--and one, 'Death of a Salesman', continues to play this weekend--in San Jose' recently, plays (and theater companies) from opposite ends of the world, of different eras and cultures and in very different styles of performance: the Arthur Miller classic at San Jose' Stage Company and 'Kalyana Souganthikam,' a Kathakali play written by Kottayom Tampuram (1645-1716) in South India, based on the Mahabharata and performed in the unique physical and musical style of Kathakali. -more-

John Eliot Gardiner Conducts Monteverdi’s ORFEO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday April 30, 2015 - 03:06:00 PM

On Monday evening, April 27, John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir gave their only performance at Davies Hall of Claudio Monteverdi’s epochal opera L’Orfeo, favola in musica. This seminal work, first performed at the Gonzaga court in Mantua in 1607, won for Monteverdi the sobriquet “the father of opera.” While his Orfeo was not totally unprecedented, having been preceded by several works by the Florentine Camerata, whose composers Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini attempted a hypothetical approximation of ancient Greek music-drama, Monteverdi’s Orfeo none the less set opera on its future course by giving infinitely expressive voice to gli affeti (the affections or emotions). With Orfeo, Monteverdi achieved a dramatic unity of text and music, in which emotional “key” words expressing the joy and anguish of lovers, anger, despair, etc., were both clearly enunciated in the declamatory singing and given heightened emphasis in the melodic structure of the music, thereby creating a “passionate musical speech.” -more-

Press Release: Lecture: C. Hawthorne on Preservation at the City Club

From Sharon Entwhistle
Thursday April 30, 2015 - 03:19:00 PM

Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, will discuss how the preservation movement in California has become slow and reactive and how it can get back ahead of the curve of public taste. Featuring case studies including a guesthouse by Julia Morgan on the Hearst/Davies beachfront estate. Presented by the Berkeley City Club Conservancy, Thursday, May 21st, 7:30. -more-