Arts & Eventz

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Berkeley Chamber Opera will open its 2017 season with“The Consul”

Ellen St. Thomas
Friday July 07, 2017 - 11:46:00 AM

Berkeley Chamber Opera will open its 2017 season with“The Consul”,by Gian Carlo Menotti at Berkeley's Hillside Club on Friday, July 14 and Sunday, July 16.

Berkeley Chamber Opera is dedicated to presenting operas which showcase the work of the Bay Area’s wealth of resident professional talent at a price which is affordable for a wide range of opera fans.

Under the musical direction of Maestro Alexander Katsman, “The Consul” will be presented in English accompanied by the Berkeley Chamber Opera orchestra. A tragic and thought-provoking work, it debuted on Broadway in 1950 and ran for eight months. It won a Pulitzer Prize for Music and New York Drama Critics' Circle award for Best Musical.

Brazilian director Igor Vieira, who has appeared as a leading baritone for more than 15 years, will make his Berkeley Chamber Opera directorial debut with the opening season.

Eliza O’Malley, founder and lead soprano was moved to produce this opera in response to the current climate of immigrant intolerance. She says: -more-


New: Original Musical “CASTLE HAPPY” at Alameda’s Altarena Playhouse July Festival

John McMullen, ATCA
Saturday July 08, 2017 - 04:02:00 PM
Errol and Bette

A new musical set at Hearst’s Castle with 1930s movie stars and moguls is about to be launched at Altarena Playhouse in Alameda July 20-30.

We’ve (most of us) taken the pilgrimage to San Simeon (or “The Enchanted Castle” or “The Ranch” or even “Xanadu,” so this could be extra fun with filling in the fantasy of the “goings-on” at the publisher’s sea-side palace.

New plays are always special, and Bay Area playwrights supply us with them in droves, but a new musical is a particular novelty. Are the songs memorable? Does the plot hold up? What’s the orchestration like?

The backstory of the any musical team is nearly as much of interest: did Gilbert and Sullivan really detest one another? What was it like between Rogers and Hart vs. Rogers and Hammerstein? What came first with Lerner and Lowe—lyrics, music, or both together?

Here is a window on the creation of “Castle Happy”-- -more-


Berlioz’s ROMEO AND JULIET Closes the Symphony Season

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday July 07, 2017 - 01:07:00 PM

The 2016-17 San Francisco Symphony season came to a rousing close with four performances, June 28-July 1, of Hector Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette. This 1839 work by Berlioz is hard to categorize. The composer called it “a choral symphony,” and that’s about as good a description as one can get, for Roméo et Juliette is not an opera, though there’s much here that is operatic. Nor is it an oratorio, though it has some similarities to an oratorio. What is quite different about Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet is the fact that it has a fairly detailed narrative recounting, in symphonic and choral terms, the well-known plot of Shakespeare’s famous play of the same title. In addition to a large chorus, Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet has three vocal soloists. However, these soloists do not, for the most part, sing character roles. Two of the three soloists simply join with the chorus in narrating the actions and, more importantly, the feelings the characters have at any given moment. Only at the end of the work does a soloist appear who sings a character role, and that character is Friar Laurence. -more-