Arts & Events


Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday September 26, 2016 - 10:15:00 AM

Alameda’s Island City Opera combined forces with Opera Academy of California to produce a single performance on Sunday September 25 at Alameda’s Elks Lodge of Francis Poulenc’s short operatic monologue La Dame de Monte Carlo and Maurice Ravel’s one-act opera L’Heure Espagnole. This was a felicitous pairing; and although both works were performed with only a piano as accompaniment for the singers, nonetheless, the excellence of the singers brought out all the nuances of these compositions sung in French. Opera Academy of California’s Artistic Director Yefim Maizel was responsible for the staging of both works on this program. -more-

World Premiere of DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER at San Francisco Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday September 23, 2016 - 12:37:00 PM

Among former General Director David Gockley’s many accomplishments, he will probably be best remembered, not without reason, for the many new operas he commissioned. Though their quality varied, as one might expect, Gockley’s commissions exemplified his bold commitment to opera as a living, vibrant art form that had an important place in our contemporary musical world. Dream of the Red Chamber, by Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng, which just received its world premiere at SF Opera, was only the last of Gockley’s commissions as SF Opera’s General Director. But it no doubt will gain a place in the 21st century operatic world. -more-

Movies in the Margin

By Gar Smith
Friday September 23, 2016 - 12:40:00 PM

Not every film makes it to the Big Screen. Not every film makes it into a local movie house. It takes a lot of promotional money to secure a spot on a commercial screen. Exhibitors must pay to promote the films with print ads. Without the promise of this publicity, theatre owners will not commit to showing a film. That is why, with hundreds of commercial screens in the Bay Area, the weekly viewing menu is dominated by fewer than 12 Big Studio films. -more-

Snowden: Whistles Are Blowing over Oliver Stone's Newest Film

Review by Gar Smith
Friday September 23, 2016 - 12:49:00 PM

I just saw Oliver Stone's Snowden, a film that Los Angeles Times movie critic Kenneth Turan characterized as an "unashamed mythologizing of Edward Snowden." NPR's David Edelstein, seeming to begrudge director Stone's history as a "gonzo conspiracy theorist," offered diminished praise, calling the film a "textbook political conversion narrative." Time magazine dismissed Snowden as "lifeless," which, I assume, refers to the fact that the film contains no car chases, fistfights, or bloody shootouts.

No body count? How ho-hum. -more-