Arts & Events

Renée Fleming in Recital at Zellerbach

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday October 07, 2019 - 11:56:00 AM

On October 5, famed soprano Renée Fleming gave a recital at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall accompanied by pianist Richard Bado. Opening the program were four songs by Franz Schubert: Suleika, Lied der Mignon: Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, Die Vogel, and Rastlose Liebe. For me, the highlight was Lied der Mignon, a song full of longing. Die Vogel was brief and whimsical; and Lastlose Liebe brought this Schubert set to an upbeat close. -more-

Husband-Wife Duo Pene Pati & Amina Edris Sing Romeo and Juliet

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 05, 2019 - 05:14:00 PM

Tuesday, October 1 felt like a family affair at San Francisco Opera. What made it seem a family affair was not just that the husband-wife duo of Pene Pati and Amina Edris were singing the lead roles this one night only in Charles Gounods Roméo et Juliette. It was also that our local audiences have watched these two young singers emerge from the Merola and Adler Fellow Programs, then move on to grace the big stage of the San Francisco Opera. We have heard tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina Edris many times over the past six years. We have noted that they met in 2016 when both were Adler Fellows. We have noted that they married later in 2016, and we have heard them sing countless times, individually, and, occasionally, together. But to hear them sing the roles of Romeo and Juliet, based on Shakespeares immortal young lovers, was something special, something like, well, a family affair for all of us, and a cause for celebration.

Their story is heart-warming. Pene Pati is a Samoan-born tenor who became a New Zealand citizen. Amina Edris is an Egyptian-born soprano who also became a New Zealand citizen. And they met as Adler Fellows in San Francisco. In this citys multi-cultural milieu, this husband-wife duo is a testament to what we hold dear. On October 1, in hearing Pene Pati and Amina Edris sing Romeo and Juliet, San Francisco audiences could bask in the warmth of this family affair. And the superb singing of Pene Pati and Amina Edris just reinforced this spirit of a family celebration. -more-

Updated: A Superb EUGENE ONEGIN At Livermore Valley Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 05, 2019 - 04:47:00 PM

On Sunday, September 29, I made my first ever venture to Livermore Valley Opera for a production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. To say that I was surprised by how excellent was this production is understated praise. I have seen many Eugene Onegins, including one from the Bolshoi Opera I saw in Paris in 1969 conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich in his first visit ever outside the Soviet Union. That was indeed memorable! However, this Livermore Valley Opera production of Eugene Oregon ranks up there with the best. As Tatiana, soprano Antonina Chehovska was sensational! What a voice! It’s bright, it’s warm, and it’s radiant! Chehovska’s “Letter scene” was a thing of utmost beauty! I hung on every word she sang. As Onegin, baritone Morgan Smith was excellent. He has a powerful voice, almost too powerful a voice. While he needs to control it a bit to vary the dynamics, Smith sang beautifully and forcefully. -more-

16 Year-Old Maria Dueñas’ Encore Steals The Show

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 05, 2019 - 05:21:00 PM

As the featured soloist in Felix Mendelssohn’s great Violin Concerto, 16 year-old Maria Dueñas gave ample evidence of a talent in the making. Then, at the Friday, October 4, performance I attended, Maria Dueñas played a riveting encore. In this work, Maria Dueñas made it clear that her formidable talent is already full-blown. But whose music was this? When she lit into this encore without announcing what she would play, I wager she had most of the audience in a fog. Whereas most encores offered by soloists are short and sweet, this work, whatever it was, was lengthy and full of challenging technical difficulties. Yet Maria Dueñas brought it off superbly. Whose music was this? -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, October 6-13

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition.
Saturday October 05, 2019 - 04:07:00 PM

Worth Noting

Saturday, October 12 is the Emergency Prep Fair

If you don’t have solar on your roof you can still choose 100% renewable electricity thru Opt Up for 100% Clean Electricity through East Bay Community Energy by choosing Renewable 100 If your budget is too squeezed to pay a few more dollars a month for 100% renewable Brilliant 100% is carbon free and the same cost as PG&E.

The City Council October 15 meeting agenda is available for comment. Follow the link or check the highlights from the agenda following the list of meetings and events. Email comments to

Plan Ahead

East Bay SunShares Workshops, Tuesday, October 15, 6 – 7:30 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, pre-registration requested (not required). SunShares makes it easier and more affordable for Bay Area residents to go solar.

City of Berkeley Planning open House, Wednesday, October 16, 4-6 pm, 1947 Center

Housing Framework: What’s happening with Measures O, P and U1, Saturday, October 19, 10 am at Harriet Tubman Terrace

Sunday, October 6, 2019

3rd National Election Integrity Conference, 10 am – 6 pm, at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, last day of two-day conference, theme “In Paper We Trust” This is a ticketed event with discounts for seniors, students, educators.

Tiny Living Festival – Tiny House Festival, 10 am – 6 pm, 25th St & Barrett Ave, Richmond, CA (Parking Lot across from Richmond Art Center, this is a ticketed event.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Community Environmental Advisory Commission – Plastics Elimination Subcommittee, 3 pm at 2000 University, Au Coquelet, Agenda: Strategies and alternatives to increasing plastic use,

Measure O Bond Oversight Committee – Request for Proposals Subcommittee, 2180 Milvia, 2nd floor Dogwood Room, Agenda: 4. Funding Applications Received (4), Bridge, Northern CA Land Trust, Resources for Community Development, SAHA

Peace and Justice Commission, 7 pm at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Room, Agenda: 7. City Auditor Presentation on Internal Domestic Violence Policy, 8. Presentation Alameda County Census 2020, 10. Support for strengthened police oversight

Personnel Board, 7 – 9 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conference Room, Agenda: VI. Discussion only Temporary Employee Report

Free Smoking Cessation Clinic, 6 – 8 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center,

Tax the Rich Rally, with music by Occupella, 5 – 6 pm at the Top of Solano in front of the Closed Oaks Theater, Rain/Extreme Heat Cancels. -more-