THE MUSIC MAN
With Seán Martinfield
Let The Season Begin!
September 6, 2006
Every San Franciscan can be proud of its rich and abundant Musical
Scene. Every day of every year some variety of live music is happening
somewhere in our treasured City, offering Harmony for everyone
of every age and persuasion - in corner bars and restaurants,
bookstores, neighborhood churches, community playhouses, the brightly-lit
professional stages, south of Market and North Beach cabarets,
even the technically-challenged platforms of MUNI. This week the
ever-growing magnificence of our Civic Center will again be ablaze
as classical music lovers everywhere focus their attention on
the Gala Openings of the San Francisco Symphony and Opera.
On Wednesday night, one of the most celebrated conductors in
the world - our own Michael Tilson-Thomas - raises his baton on
the first of a series of programs that extends until June. The
Opening Night concert features Mikhail Glinka's Overture
to Ruslan and Ludmila, renowned German violinist Christian
Tetzlaff in Igor Stravinsky's Violin
Concerto in D major, and Antonin Dvorák's Symphony
No. 8 in G major.
Friday evening, newly installed General Director David Gockley
will proudly eye the beginning of his reign over the San Francisco
Opera. The 2006-07 Season, also extending into June, boasts ten
crowd-pleasing operas beginning with Giuseppi Verdi's opulent
Ballo In Maschera ("A Masked Ball"). Decked out
in 18th Century Swedish couture and in the court of King Gustav
III, the newly-slenderized and internationally acclaimed dramatic
soprano Debra Voigt teams up with tenor Marcus Haddock who marks
his long-awaited San Francisco debut. The following night Conductor
Donald Runnicles whisks everyone off to Johann Strauss' 19th Century
Vienna and his glitteringly perfect Die
Fledermaus. Not to be confused with the 1959 screaming cinematic
thriller "The Bat" (starring the arrogantly suave Vincent
Price and haughtily dominating Agnes Moorehead - remember "Bewitched"?),
this ever-popular operetta dovetails with the Opening Night Thriller
in that it is yet another tale of confused identities, costumed
parties, confounding and compounding infidelities.
These musical adventures are not the confines of the Rich and
Famous! Come Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm, Opera
In The Park returns to Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park.
As with the recent and resounding success of the Summer (Return
of the Divas) Concert in Dolores Park, this annual and free
outdoor concert will feature arias and operatic excerpts performed
by the artists from the Opera's fall season and will be accompanied
by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Arrive early to get the
best viewing spot, bring a blanket, pack a contest-type-lunch,
and thrill to the most gloriously demanding music ever written
for the human voice. Then add October 6th and Rigoletto
(and another picnic basket) to your Cultural Calendar. As with
the unprecedented success of this summer's Opening Night simulcast
Butterfly, Mr. Gockley again brings the San Francisco Opera
free-of-charge to Civic Center Plaza and, simultaneously, to the
Frost Amphitheatre at Stanford University.
Want more high-falutin' Classical freebies? On Friday the 22nd
at noon, Conductor MTT brings the Symphony to Yerba Buena Gardens
for the annual Free
Outdoor Concert. Also on-going, local classical radio station
KDFC 102.1 offers free access to the San Francisco Symphony by
way of its weekly Tuesday
night broadcasts captured live from Louise M. Davies Symphony
Hall. No black ties required.
Stay tuned for my reviews.