Arts & Events

New: Festival Opera Does Strauss’s ARIADNE AUF NAXOS

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday July 13, 2015 - 06:11:00 PM

Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is about as weird as opera gets; and opera can get pretty weird. In its original incarnation, this was a one act opera designed to follow a condensed version of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (translated into German by Hugo von Hofmannstahl), for which Strauss provided incidental music. This version was given in Stuttgart in 1912, and again in Berlin in 1913. It pleased no one. Subsequently, Strauss and von Hofmannstahl dropped the Molière play and wrote a lengthy Prologue to be performed before the one act opera. This new version successfully premiered in Vienna in 1916. -more-

Around & About--Music: Festival Opera Stages Strauss' 'Ariadne Auf Naxos' This Weekend

Ken Bullock
Friday July 10, 2015 - 01:52:00 PM

Valiant Festival Opera, who in the past staged some of the finest opera productions in recent years in the Bay Area--are producing Richard Strauss' heady combo of comic and grand opera--"an opera within an opera"--this weekend at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, shows at 8 tonight and 2 on Sunday, conducted and stage directed by artistic director Michael Morgan (also of the Oakland East Bay Symphony), with a cast including soprano Othalie Graham, tenor Robert Breault, soprano Shawnette Sulker and bass-baritone Kirk Eichelberger. A must-see in a summer bursting with opera! -more-

3-Week Mendocino Music Festival begins Tonight

Ken Bullock
Friday July 10, 2015 - 01:43:00 PM

"I saw them putting up the big tent on the headlands in Mendocino, while driving up Highway One," an old friend up north emailed me the other day. "Looks good from across the Big River estuary and the bay. I guess it's time for the Music Festival!" -more-

San Francisco Mime Troupe Opens for the East Bay on Saturday

Tuesday July 07, 2015 - 11:44:00 AM

The SF Mime Troupe's 2015 Summer show, FREEDOMLAND, deals with police violence in America. The show is written by and stars long SFMT collective member Michael Gene Sullivan. -more-

A Spirited MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at San Francisco Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday July 07, 2015 - 11:22:00 AM

The first of three extraordinary Mozart and Da Ponte collaborations, Le Nozze di Figaro premiered at Vienna’s Burgtheater on May 1, 1786, with Mozart himself conducting. Based on the 1778 drama Le Mariage de Figaro by French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, Mozart’s opera was politically suspect from the start. Emperor Joseph considered it “a bad play,” and he bemoaned the fact that his own sister, Marie Antoinette, was “beginning to be afraid of her own people.” Nonetheless, Joseph gave permission for the opera to be staged. We should note that Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, set to a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, fore-shadows the French Revolution of 1789 by dramatizing a revolution already taking place in the household of a fictitious aristocratic, Count Almaviva. In the course of this opera, Count Almaviva’s servants – Figaro and Susanna – repeatedly get the better of him, outwitting him at every turn, while achieving the moral high ground over the Count’s insidious intrigues. -more-

Rethinking Our Priorities

Romila Khanna
Monday July 06, 2015 - 11:27:00 AM

It seems absurd that our Congress debates sending our tax dollars to save other nations. We need to help our international communities, but at what cost? I hear that we should send our money to ensure safety and growth for other nations. Why are we forgetting our own? It is strange that first we attack other nations and destroy their resources, and then we start sending them aid. It is high time we focus on ensuring safety and growth for our own nation. -more-