Arts & Events

Updated: Lianna Haroutounian’s Sparkling Recital at Herbst Theatre

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday November 26, 2017 - 02:57:00 PM

Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian, who recently took local audiences by storm at San Francisco Opera in the title-roles in Puccini’s Tosca (2014) and Madama Butterfly (2016), returned to San Francisco for her first USA solo recital on Saturday afternoon, November 25, at Herbst Theatre. Presented by Friends of Lianna Recital Committee, this program brought together not only friends and admirers of Lianna Haroutounian but also a large proportion of our Bay Area Armenian community. It felt like, in many ways, a family occasion, all the more appropriate coming as it did over the Thanksgiving weekend when families gather together. Our local Armenian community gave Lianna Haroutounian a very warm and admiring welcome. -more-

GIRLS OF THE GOLDEN WEST: Another Half-Cooked Turkey from John Adams

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday November 26, 2017 - 02:05:00 PM

Two days before Thanksgiving, San Francisco Opera unveiled the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West, the new opera by John Adams it commissioned in partnership with Dallas Opera and Dutch National Opera. Whatever one’s expectations might have been, Girls of the Golden West turned out to be a real turkey, a half-cooked one at that. I caught the second performance of this turkey on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and black indeed was my mood after sitting through three and a half hours of this bloated, self-indulgent opera from a composer who merely recycled all his familiar—and often irritating -- musical tics. Bouncy propulsive rhythms repeated endlessly in minimalist fashion and overly percussive orchestration get old fast. -more-

Updated: Overview: Why I Find John Adams’ Operas Half-Cooked

James Roy MacBean
Friday December 01, 2017 - 04:54:00 PM

In reviewing a few days ago the latest opera by John Adams, I headlined my review, “Girls of the Golden West: Another Half-Cooked Turkey by John Adams.” It occurred to me, however, that in reviewing a disjointed opera that went on for nearly three and a half hours, I might well describe it as over-cooked rather than half-cooked. Nonetheless, I decided that “half-cooked” was a more apt characterization of John Adams’ operas. In the present article I’ll delineate why so many of the works by John Adams, especially his operas, seem to me half-cooked. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Week:
Nov 26 - Dec 3

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday November 26, 2017 - 01:47:00 PM

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am back on track with a new modem/router and functioning wifi - that is until the FCC takes away Net Neutrality with the expected vote on December 22. There will be a national day of demonstrations for Net Neutrality on Thursday, December 7.

The December 5, Berkeley City Council Agenda is now available for review and response. Agenda key items:

  • Item 15. 2nd dwelling unit/ADU for homeless,
  • Item 23. Surveillance Technology Ordinance.
  • Item 25. Significant Community Benefits

Day by Day, 11/26 - 12/3: