Arts & Events

A Delightful HÄNSEL AND GRETEL at The Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday December 04, 2019 - 09:10:00 PM

Engelbert Humperdinck’s German opera Hänsel und Gretel (1893) has not been done frequently at San Francisco Opera. The last time it appeared here was in 2002, and before that one had to go back to the 1930s for San Francisco Opera productions of Hänsel und Gretel. This season, however, Hänsel and Gretel appears in a delightful co-production with Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and is scheduled here for no less than eight performances. I attended the Tuesday, December 3, performance. -more-

Hillside Club Art Show Exhibits Berkeley Artists

Tuesday December 03, 2019 - 11:48:00 AM

The Berkeley Hillside Club's yearly Art Show opens Friday, December 6 with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. followed on Saturday, December 7th with a full day of exhibits and sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Hillside Club Art Show is at 2286 Cedar Street in North Berkeley. Wheelchair accessible. -more-

Manfred Honeck Conducts Bruckner’s 4th Symphony in San Francisco

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday November 30, 2019 - 11:36:00 AM

I first experienced the magic of Bruckner when legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache made a guest appearance in 1989 with San Francisco Symphony in Bruckner’s 4th or “Romantic” Symphony. (Bruckner himself gave his 4th Symphony the subtitle “Romantic,” though he seems to have had in mind medieval chivalry rather than 19th century Romanticism.) The intensity of Celibidache’s famed devotion to Bruckner was palpable; and I found that performance of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony absolutely riveting. To this day, that concert remains one of my all time favorites. At present, Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, is in town to lead San Francisco Symphony in three performances, November 22-4, of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony paired with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482, with Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist. I attended Saturday’s performance at Davies Symphony Hall. -more-

ERMELINDA: Ars Minerva’s Latest Opera Revival

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 29, 2019 - 06:33:00 PM

Over the past five years, Ars Minerva, the opera company founded by Céline Ricci, has discovered and revived five Venetian operas that had long been forgotten. Céline Ricci came across the scores for these operas in the Contarini Collection of Venice’s Marciana Library. Realising she had found an important trove of 17th and early 18th century Venetian operas, Céline Ricci immediately set about the task of reviving the most interesting of these operas. In 2015 Ars Minerva revived Daniele da Castrovillari’s La Cleopatra, which had never been heard anywhere since its premiere in 1662. For Ricci’s Ars Minerva, La Cleopatra proved an auspicious debut; and it has been followed in ensuing years by four more important revivals. The latest, Ermelinda (1680) by Domenico Freschi, had its opening performance on Friday, November 22, at San Francisco’s ODC Theatre. -more-

Rafael Davila Sings Des Grieux in the Final Performance of Puccini’s MANON LESCAUT

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 29, 2019 - 04:39:00 PM

On Tuesday, November 26, Puerto Rican tenor Rafael Davila made his San Francisco Opera debut singing for one night only the role of the Chevalier Des Grieux in Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In this season’s earlier performances of this opera, Des Grieux was sung by Brian Jagde. Singing the role of Manon in all six performances this season was Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian, hailed by many as the leading Puccini soprano of our time. My review of the opening night performance of this Manon Lescaut appeared in these pages on November 9. Always interested in discovering new singers, I returned to the War Memorial Opera House on November 26 to hear Rafael Davila make his local debut. He did not disappoint. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Dec. 1-8

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday December 01, 2019 - 03:31:00 PM

Worth Noting:

Climate Solutions – Hosted by Student Environmental Resource Center at UCB -

So You Think You Know Climate Change?, Tue, Wed, Thur, 11 am - 2 pm at Sproul Plaza,

Deadline Decmber 8 – Petition - CA Air Resources Board, (CARB),

DIESEL TRUCKS – Expected CARB Proposal is too weak sign EarthJustice Petition

Deadline December 9 - Letter - CA Air Resources Board, (CARB),

SHIPS - Submit comments by letter or CARB form to CARB to cut pollution from Ships entering the Bay. CARB staff estimate the proposed regulation would remove nearly 400 tons of small particles from the air details and form link at

Council Agenda for December 10

Agenda follows the weekly list of meetings and rallies, City Council Winter Recess is December 11, 2019 – January 21, 2020

Sunday, December 1, 2019

350 Bay Area sponsored Action at Annual Auto Show, 1-3 pm, at Moscone Center in SF, FORD, BMW, HONDA and VW agreed to meet CA standards, GM, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia sided with Trump to oppose CA standards

Monday, December 2, 2019

City Council Public Safety Committee, 10:30 am, at Cypress Room – minutes only, no other agenda items

Tax the Rich Rally, Canceled Rain

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Berkeley City Council, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room,