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Stern Grove 2012!

San Francisco’s original music festival, Stern Grove Festival, announced  its 75th Season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 24 through through August 26, 2012 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19 Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.

This landmark summer season features a mix of performers as diverse as the city it calls home. This summer’s 10-week concerts series features an array of pop and jazz music greats, including ANITA BAKER, SHEILA E, AL JARREAU, OK GO, OZOMATLI, PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO as well as the City’s three classical institutions—the SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, BALLET AND OPERA. Stern Grove Festival is the only venue in the world where all three of these renowned cultural institutions perform every summer, completely admission-free.

June 24 – The Big Picnic Benefit and Concert

Starring Anita Baker The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble

Stern Grove Festival will inaugurate a new tradition–The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert to launch the summer season. This special event begins with a benefit party followed by the admission-free concert featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone, and Glide Ensemble. These three acts, well known for getting the audience out of their seats, will set the tone for a dynamic summer at Stern Grove Festival.

Glide Ensemble, a San Francisco institution, opens the concert with an inspiring blend of gospel, jazz, blues, pop, and soul. The Family Stone, featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, continues the soul-stirring music with their funk-infused sound. And to close the day, Stern Grove Festival is proud to present ANITA BAKER—multiple GRAMMY winner, composer, producer, and all-around superstar, this R&B legend is known for her hit-making sound and smooth vocals.

The performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Stern Grove to San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association. The Big Picnic is presented by Wells Fargo. Concert Sponsors are Sutter Health, Parkmerced, PG&E, Bvlgari, Northern Trust, AT&T, Recology, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

July 1 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Stone Foxes

It is particularly fitting to have the acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band return to Stern Grove Festival with the sounds of the Big Easy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been a significant part of Stern Grove Festival throughout the years and generations of San Franciscans have fond memories of their concerts. This summer’s performance will feature a special commissioned piece celebrating Stern Grove Festival’s 75th year.

Continuing the Bay Area connection for this concert, local San Francisco band The Stone Foxes open the afternoon with their roadhouse-ready blues and rock sound. Founded in 2005, the band’s gritty sound has won them fans throughout the Bay Area.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 8 – San Francisco Symphony with Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

and Members of the SFS Chorus

Stern Grove Festival is proud to present what promises to be an extraordinary performance with the San Francisco Symphony. For the first time in over ten years, SFS Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a concert in the Grove, also featuring members of the SFS Chorus. The histories of Stern Grove Festival and the San Francisco Symphony have been linked since June 1932 when the Symphony performed the first-ever concert at the Grove. This summer’s program, part of the Symphony’s centennial season and marking Stern Grove’s 75th anniversary, will feature Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, among other works. To mark this milestone, KDFC Radio, 90.3 FM will broadcast this July 8 concert live, further underscoring how performances at Stern Grove Festival are accessible to everyone.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman, Festival Chair from 1968 to 1996. Concert sponsored by Sutter Health, Sonoma County Visitors Center, Galleria Park Hotel, and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 15 – Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello

A producer, composer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and all-around Renaissance man Nitin Sawhney brings cross-cultural cool to the Grove. One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer, and scriptwriter.

Also performing is singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello with her eclectic blend of folk, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Since hitting the Billboard charts with a cover of “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, Meshell has received ten GRAMMY nominations, performed around the world, and collaborated with artists ranging from Madonna and Basement Jaxx to The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 22 – The E Family Featuring Pete, Sheila E, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo

Featuring the first family of Bay Area Latin music, The E Family brings the beat in this one-of- a-kind performance featuring the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, The E Family Band with Pete, Juan, Peter Michael, and Sheila E, and a special performance by Sheila E.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 29 – San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory. Renowned for its incomparable level of innovation and exuberance, San Francisco Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in America.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo and Kabuki Springs and Spa.

August 5 – Ozomatli and SMOD

Latin alternative rockers Ozomatli return to Stern Grove Festival with their high-energy, danceable blend of hip-hop, rock, and modern Latin sounds. A Festival favorite, the group will also present a kid-friendly performance at KidStage at noon before the concert.

From Mali, the trio SMOD opens the afternoon with a hip-hop hybrid of West African vocal styles, old school rapping, and modern beats. Their debut album, produced and recorded with international star Manu Chao, was released in 2010 in France.

Concert Sponsor is AT&T and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Carlton. Media sponsor is SF Weekly.

August 12 – Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio and Mara Hruby

Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunite for an afternoon of jazz classics.

Jarreau’s career started in San Francisco, where he performed with the George Duke Trio as the house band at the Half/Note jazz club, leading to the 1965 album, Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio- Live At The Half/Note. Since then, with fans worldwide, Jarreau has racked up seven GRAMMY nominations and scores of international music awards for his signature vocal stylings.

Born in San Rafael, George Duke was a mainstay on the 1960’s San Francisco jazz scene and studied at the Conservatory of Music. A respected musician, song-writer, music director, and producer, Duke has worked with greats like Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie and contemporary R&B artists like Jeffrey Osbourne, Gladys Knight, and Anita Baker.

Opening the afternoon and rounding out the Bay Area focus of this concert is Oakland-based neo- soul singer Mara Hruby, a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style. After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP, From Her Eyes.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Galleria Park Hotel.

August 19 – San Francisco Opera

Stern Grove Festival is proud to welcome back the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The afternoon’s program features soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Michael Fabiano, and more soloists performing a selection of operatic favorites.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

August 26 – OK Go and The Family Crest

Known for their viral videos and quirky sound, alternative rockers OK Go close the 75th Season

in celebratory style. At the forefront of an emerging class of creative entrepreneurs making art in both digital and physical spaces, the GRAMMY-nominated group’s self-directed videos have been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Their most recent video, which debuted during the Super Bowl, received 200 million hits in less than 24 hours the next day.

San Francisco indie orchestral collective, The Family Crest, opens the afternoon with their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz. Their debut LP, The Village, was pre-released at SXSW this year and will be released nationally this summer.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced, AT&T, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo.

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“SLIPPING” – Now at New Conservatory Theatre Center

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

Playwright Daniel Talbot’s Slipping makes its Bay Area premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center now through July 1st. The story is about “Eli” – a really out and reticent Gay high school student long-accustomed to the physical taunts and verbal jabs that simply go with the territory. The play combines two time frames – that was then, this is now. Eli and Jan (his mother) used to live in San Francisco. Now they’re in Des Moines. Not much going on in Des Moines for an angry skinny boy with punkish blue hair, a camera around his neck, who smokes too much, and has taken to cutting himself again. Since her husband’s death – and the relocation to Iowa to become an English teacher and start all over – Jan has jumped into an affair with a younger man, not one of her students. No mistaking the variety of moaning coming from her bedroom. But Eli has plenty of noise going on his head to block it, some of it about missing an abusive relationship with Chris – a wild kid back in the City who would threaten to kill him should he open his mouth about their big secret. But now, Eli has outed Jake – the gawky guy in Art Class who is into sports and, since their experimental encounters, believes he and Eli may have a future together. Eli and his mother reach the overdue boiling point, firing the F-word back and forth. He cuts his wrist. Jake crawls into bed with him at the hospital. No secrets now. Perhaps Eli will learn to accept love.

Evan Johnson (Lois Tema Photography)

Whatever may be missing in Talbott’s script is made-up for in the intense and compelling performances by its cast and the fine direction of Andrew Nance. The situations are topical and the characters are familiar. New Conservatory Theatre’s production of Slipping is a positive move in its continuous effort to bring complex issues to the stage and to encourage new playwrights who challenge the status quo with the benefits of excellent production values and an increasingly loyal subscription audience.

“To me,” says Daniel Talbott, “the play is about reaching out. I had this really intense relationship for a long time, and that relationship—having someone love me and be there for me—was what sent me over the edge and really kind of crashed me out. The play is about that and the need to break that open in order to start to become healthy.”

Benjamin Ismail (Jake), Fernando Navales (Chris), Evan Johnson (Eli), and Stacy Thunes (Jan) (Lois Tema Photography)

Click here to purchase tickets on-line: SLIPPING

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Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience

This year, the Year of the Dragon 2012, the Chinese Historical Society of America revitalizes its museum with an infusion of art. CHSA has reached out to its artistic community to create works that interpret and respond to the themes presented in its history galleries. The first of these art installations, Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience, includes five artists whose works focus on personal narrative, memory and family concepts that characterize Chinese America. The exhibition, on view April 12 through December 15, 2012, features works by Nancy Hom, Michael Jang, Lenora Lee, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong. Remnants debuts with an opening reception on Thursday, April 12, 6pm to 9pm at the CHSA Museum, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco.

The inauguration of the Remnants exhibition signals a new creative approach for our exhibition program, says CHSA executive director Sue Lee. We are always looking for ways to offer our visitors a deeper understanding of the Chinese American experience.

The centerpiece of Remnants is a site-specific installation of the set from the performance Passages by Lenora Lee Dance. A powerful portrayal of the journey endured by Lees grandmother through Angel Island and into American life, Passages presents a memorable narrative through stunning visuals. Works by Nancy Hom, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong further explore themes of family and remembrance using a range of artistic expression, bearing unique witness to Chinese American history.

On Saturday, April 14, at 1pm, the CHSA Second Saturday program provides a deeper look into the installation “Passages: For Lee Ping To” with a performance by Lenora Lee Dance, and discussion with artist Lenora Lee (Free with Museum admission.) An Artists Q&A panel expanding on themes in the exhibition will be scheduled in June (TBA).

Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. In 2011, CHSA celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening at the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America. The Chinese Historical Society of America is located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, 94108. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, and Saturdays 11am to 4pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays.) Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, $2 for children 6-17. The museum is free the first Thursday of the month. Further information on these and other programs at CHSA is available by calling (415) 391-1188 x101, or at www.chsa.org

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk – opens at the de Young Museum, 3/24

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

Opening on March 24th and continuing its strong track record of exhibitions highlighting the work of the innovators and iconoclasts of the world of fashion, the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park presents, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French designer and his personal themes of “equality, diversity and perversity.” The de Young is the exclusive west coast venue for this critically acclaimed international exhibition after its premier at the organizing institution, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition will be on view at the de Young in the Herbst Exhibition Galleries from March 24–August 19, 2012. Click here for ticket information: GAULTIER

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JEAN PAUL GAULTIER. Parisiennes collection, Les Particules élémentaires dress haute couture fall/winter 2010-2011. Photo, Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Dubbed fashion’s “enfant terrible” from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. Very early on, his avant-garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society’s issues and preoccupations, shaking up—with invariable good humor—established societal and aesthetic codes. More of a contemporary installation than a fashion retrospective, this major exhibition—which the couturier considers to be a creation in its own right—features approximately 140 ensembles spanning over 35 years from the designer’s couture and ready-to-wear collections, along with their accessories, and numerous archival documents. Many of these extraordinary pieces have never before been exhibited.

“Was there ever a more perfect match than Jean Paul Gaultier and San Francisco?” asked John E. Buchanan, Jr., the recently deceased director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “This exhibition fuses the energy of street culture with haute couture craftsmanship and presents it through the lens of cutting edge multimedia that is synonymous to the Bay Area. As the exclusive venue for previous exhibitions of the work of Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga, we know the Bay Area is ready to explore the oeuvre of yet another master of design, Jean Paul Gaultier.

FAMSF curator of costume and textile arts Jill D’Alessandro expands, “Gaultier catapulted on to the fashion scene with his unconventional approach that drew inspiration from television, film, music and street culture. For the last four decades he has remained a catalyst for our times. This dynamic exhibition is a truly multi-media extravaganza complete with animated mannequins, runway clips and video excerpts from his extensive film and music collaborations, and succeeds in capturing the raw, sometimes chaotic energy that defines our contemporary lives and Gaultier’s world.”

“I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity,” explained Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Beyond the technical virtuosity, an unbridled imagination, and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, Gaultier offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, and sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity through a unique ‘fusion couture.’”

Keenly interested in all the world’s cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has picked up on the current trends and proclaimed the right to be different, and in the process conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. Through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, creating a new androgyny or playing with subverting established fashion codes.

A celebration of Gaultier’s daring inventiveness and humanist vision, this exhibition pays tribute to his cutting-edge fashion and explores the audaciously eclectic sources of his ideas. “Jean Paul Gaultier,” notes Thierry-Maxime Loriot, originating curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, “initiates trends rather than following them, which explains why he is still relevant after more than 35 years of creation. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is not simply reminiscent of the past, but rather a link to the present as seen through the eyes of the couturier. By paying tribute to different cultures, mixing pop culture and couture, breaking the codes of fashion and taboos of society, you realize how open-minded and generous Gaultier’s fashion is. This unique exhibition offers visitors access to the world of Jean Paul Gaultier and haute couture, as well as articulating the strong social message behind his work, which truly defines his very own distinctive aesthetic.”

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EMIL LARSSON. Body corset worn by Madonna. Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990. Dazed & Confused, April 2008. Photo, Emil Larsson

The multimedia installation is organized along six different thematic sections tracing the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have marked the couturier’s creative development:

  • The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier—begins the exhibition with an exploration of several signature Gaultier motifs – the blue and white striped sailor shirt in all its themes and variations, spectacular mermaids and virgins, and welcomes the visitor with singing mannequins and a special cameo by the designer himself.
  • The Boudoir—explores Gaultier’s fascination with lingerie and underpinnings culminating in his signature collaboration with Madonna for her Blonde Ambition tour.
  • Skin Deep—a risqué, provocative gallery featuring garments inspired by themes of bondage and body art.
  • Punk Cancan—features the dichotomy between the typical upscale French couture client and the street punks of London.
  • Urban Jungle—a multicultural clash of influences including Hussars, Mongolians, Hassidic Jews, Frida Kahlo and China. This gallery includes highlights of Gaultier’s haute couture detailing with unusual materials and techniques on view.
  • Metropolis—concludes the exhibition with a presentation of Gaultier’s work for film, performance pieces and his relationships with pop icons such as Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner.

Sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, videos, dance performances and even television programs on view further explore how his avant-garde fashions challenged societal and aesthetic codes in unexpected, and often humorous ways. The many legendary artistic collaborations that have characterized Gaultier’s global vision are examined in film (Pedro Almodóvar, Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet); contemporary dance (Angelin Preljocaj, Régine Chopinot and Maurice Béjart); and within the realm of popular music through performers such as Madonna, whose friendship with Gaultier has led her to graciously lend two iconic corsets from her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour that launched the cone bra into fashion iconography.

Fashion photography is also a major focus of attention, thanks to loans of never-before-seen prints from contemporary photographers and renowned contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Erwin Wurm, David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Pierre et Gilles, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Paolo Roversi and Robert Doisneau.

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PAOLO ROVERSI. Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992. Barbès collection. Women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1984–1985. Photo, Paolo Roversi

An innovative exhibition design by the Paris-based architectural and stage design company Projectiles, showcases the couturier’s designs, as well as prints and video clips, illustrating many of Gaultier’s artistic collaborations. Throughout the galleries, thirty unique mannequins wearing remarkable wigs and headdresses by Odile Gilbert, founder of the Atelier 68 in Paris, come ‘alive’ with interactive faces created by technologically ingenious audiovisual projections, surprising visitors with their lifelike presence. Poetic and playful, the production, design and staging of this dynamic audiovisual element has been produced by Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de création. A dozen celebrities, including Gaultier himself, have lent their faces—projected on to the mannequins—and often their voices to this project.

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NATHAN GUNN – Baritone to be honored by San Francisco Opera Guild, March 23rd

San Francisco Opera Guild hosts An Evening of Enchantment, Friday, March 23rd at The Fairmont, San Francisco. The black-tie gala will honor internationally renowned baritone Nathan Gunn, who will be performing the role of “Papageno” in San Francisco Opera’s upcoming new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The event’s Honorary Chairman, Nathan Gunn, is acclaimed not only for his operatic roles, but also for his brilliant work in musical theater and as a distinguished concert performer. All proceeds support the award-winning education and community outreach programs of San Francisco Opera Guild that reach more than 55,000 young people in 200 schools throughout Northern California every year.

nathan-gunnNATHAN GUNN

The celebratory evening will commence at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction in the Crown Room. At 8:00 p.m., guests will proceed to the elegant Gold Room for a lavish dinner, brief live auction, and special performance by Nathan Gunn. At 10 p.m., guests will celebrate with a toast to San Francisco Opera’s Summer season and dancing to Bill Hopkins Rock’n Orchestra. In addition, guests at the Patron Level and above will be invited to attend an exclusive VIP reception with Nathan Gunn in the magnificent Fairmont Penthouse Suite that evening. Click here for more information: GALA

The event Honorary Committee comprises of major supporters and patrons, including Jean-Pierre L. Conte; General Director of San Francisco Opera, David Gockley; Leslie and George Hume; Cathy and Angus MacNaughton; Teresa and Mark Medearis; Diane Rubin and Honorary Chairman Nathan Gunn. Event Co-Chairs are Shannon Cronan and Jane S. Mudge.

the-barber-of-sevilleTHE BARBER OF SEVILLE – Nathan Gunn as “Figaro”, Photo by Terrance McCarthy

About Nathan Gunn

Nathan Gunn made his San Francisco Opera debut as Figaro in the 2003 production of The Barber of Seville, a role that he reprised in 2006. He subsequently returned to the Company in the title role of Billy Budd and as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. This summer he appears as his appearance as Papageno The Magic Flute and Yeshua in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/2012-2013-Season/The-Gospel-of-Mary-Magdalene.aspx in 2013. In January 2010 Nathan sang a spectacular rendition of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Herbst Theatre accompanied by his wife Julie.

Nathan has appeared at major opera houses and festivals around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. His many roles include the title role of Hamlet; the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucetia, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea. A frequent interpreter of new works, Gunn recently created the role of Paul in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at the Seattle Opera. He also created the roles of Alec Harvey in André Previn’s Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Father Delura in Peter Eötvös’ Love and Other Demons at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and Clyde Griffiths in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera. Also a distinguished concert performer, Gunn has appeared the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Münchner Rundfunkorchster, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Gunn’s most recent solo album, Just Before Sunrise, was released on Sony/BMG Masterworks.

julie-and-nathan-gunn-e28093-in-recital-schuberts-die-schone-mullerinJULIE and NATHAN GUNN – In Recital, Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin”

Other recordings include the title role in Billy Budd with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra (Virgin Classics), which recently won the 2010 Grammy Award. He sings the role of “Joe” in the first complete recording of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro; Peter Grimes with Sir Colin Davis and London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live!) and nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award; Il Barbiere di Siviglia (SONY Classics); Kullervo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc); and American Anthem (EMI). He also starred as Buzz Aldrin in Man on the Moon, an opera written specifically for television and broadcast on the BBC in the UK. The program was awarded the Golden Rose Award for Opera at the Montreux Festival in Lucerne. Gunn recently returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Così fan tutte and The Magic Flute and made his debuts at the Theater an der Wien in The Rape of Lucretia, the Teatro Real in Madrid as the Count, and the Cincinnati Opera in the title role of Eugene Onegin.

The Summer 2012 Season at San Francisco Opera will feature three productions never before seen in San Francisco, opening on Friday, June 8th with the long-awaited Bay Area premiere of Nixon In China by Bay Area composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman. The season continues with the San Francisco debut of a co-production of Verdi’s Atilla, which premiered at La Scala in Summer 2011 and is conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti. The Summer Season concludes with the premiere of a new one-of-a-kind production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, sung in English and created by renowned Japanese-American visual artist Jun Kaneko and directed by Harry Silverstein. San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2012 Season runs June 8th through July 8th at the War Memorial Opera House.

the-magic-fluteTHE MAGIC FLUTE – Nathan Gunn as “Papageno”

About San Francisco Opera Guild
Founded in 1939 to support arts education and San Francisco Opera,

San Francisco Opera Guild

has acted on its belief that the life lessons drawn from creative expression are the foundation of confidence and integrity. Celebrating 70 years of offering award winning K-12 education programs and engaging community outreach programs, its mission is to give voice to potential, extending the impact of opera and bringing it center stage into the life of the community. Each year, through San Francisco Opera Guild’s fundraising and education fund, more than 55,000 students in 200 schools throughout Northern California discover the power of arts education to help them find their voice.

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NICOLA LUISOTTI – Music Director of San Francisco Opera signs with Teatro di San Carlo


sean-martinfield-18-august-2011

Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Nicola Luisotti has been appointed Music Director of Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, effective immediately. The news was announced over the weekend by General Director Rosanna Purchia and the Board of Directors of the Teatro di San Carlo Foundation following a meeting where the unanimous decision was taken. Maestro Luisotti succeeds former Principal Conductor Maurizio Benini and Music Director Jeffrey Tate. Born and raised in Tuscany, the 50-year old Luisotti is currently Music Director of San Francisco Opera and Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic.

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NICOLA LUISOTTI. Photo, Terrence McCarthy

The oldest theater in Europe and one of Italy’s most prestigious opera houses, Teatro di San Carlo is renowned not only for its beauty but for its legendary acoustics. Founded in 1737, many of opera’s most famous composers spent significant time at the theatre, including Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. In 2010, the theater was re-opened after an important period of restoration where the magnificent five-level horseshoe of boxes which are upholstered in red and decorated in gold leaf, frescoed ceiling and beautifully painted stage curtain were renewed to their original glory.

Full details of the appointment will be announced at an official ceremony and press conference on March 7th when Maestro Luisotti will be at San Carlo to begin rehearsals for Verdi’s I Masnadieri, in a production directed by Gabriele Lavia.

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GIACOMO PUCCINI, Composer – NICOLA LUISOTTI, Conductor

“I have spent a good deal of time abroad in the last ten years of my career. My heart fills with joy at the thought of spending so much more time in my home country with such a prestigious appointment,” said Maestro Luisotti speaking from Philadelphia where he is leading concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “And the joy is even greater when I think of how deeply this Theatre was influenced, in recent years, by the presence of a man such as Riccardo Muti, with whom I had the honor of working at La Scala.”

General Director Rosanna Purchia commented, “Nicola is young and enthusiastic and has had a bright career that took him to the most important theatres in the world, from Covent Garden to the Met, from La Scala to our San Carlo. In the United States he is recognized as one of the best interpreters of Italian opera. With his appointment, we want the San Carlo to aim higher and higher.”

Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris, the foundation president, expressed his satisfaction: “We chose Luisotti because he is a high profile conductor, young, Italian…and this is a source of great pride for us. We are sure he will contribute to the success of this great theatre both in Italy and the rest of the world.”

“We at San Francisco Opera are thrilled that Nicola Luisotti has been appointed music director of the San Carlo, one of the world’s great lyric theaters,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “This announcement is a tribute to his musical talent and leadership.” Nicola Luisotti’s position as San Francisco Opera’s music director began in September 2009 and continues through the 2015-16 season.

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LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST
Roberto Frontali, Deborah Voigt, and Salvatore Licitra
Photo, Cory Weaver

Since his international debut in 2002, Conductor Luisotti has garnered enthusiastic praise from both audiences and critics throughout the world, especially for his work in Puccini’s Tosca and La Bohème and the rarely performed La fanciulla del West at both San Francisco Opera and the Met. In conjunction with these 100th Anniversary performances Luisotti was awarded the Premio Puccini Award.

Luisotti’s third season at San Francisco Opera’s Music Director of San Francisco Opera continues in June with a new Gabriele Lavia production of Attila, co-produced with Teatro alla Scala. In addition to I Masnadieri and concerts with the Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo in late March, Maestro Luisotti’s operatic engagements this season include a return visit to La Scala for Turandot in April. Luisotti will also make appearances with six great orchestras this season including his own San Francisco Opera Orchestra presented by Cal Performances, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Madrid’s Orquesta Nacional de España and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Click here for more information on the 2012/13 Season at: San Francisco Opera

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Mayor Lee breaks ground on major project for 34th America’s Cup and the City’s economic future
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET – John Cranko’s “Onegin” is a Classic winner
“UNFAITHFULLY YOURS” – Tchaikovsky and Rossini meet Noir City X
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Announces 2012/13 Season
EDDIE MULLER – On the Slow Death of 35mm – An Interview with the “Czar of Noir”
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – 75th Anniversary – “Bridging Us All”
NOIR CITY – 10th Anniversary, 10-Day Festival at the Castro Theatre, begins January 20th
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE – Bay Area Cabaret presents Tony Award winner at the Venetian Room, January 15th
“Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien” – At Davies Symphony Hall, Featuring Damian Smith of SF Ballet, January 12th–14th
NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY – Selects 25 Films for Preservation
JOHN E. BUCHANAN, Jr. – Director of the Legion of Honor and de Young Museum loses battle with cancer
CD, JAKE SCHEPPS – An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók
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CD Review – A STEINWAY CHRISTMAS ALBUM ★★★★
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THOMAS JANE – An interview with the star of HBO’s “Hung” and 3D Thriller “Dark Country”
MAHARAJA – The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts, at the Asian Art Museum
“XERXES” – A Royally Entertaining Production at SF Opera

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“MOZART’S SISTER” – Third string cinema
MEROLA OPERA’S GRAND FINALE – Meet Daniel Curran and Mark Diamond
“CASABLANCA” – The SF Symphony accompanies screening tonight, 7/22
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AMANDA McBROOM – A conversation on her recording of songs by Jacques Brel
CAMERON CARPENTER – An interview with Grammy-nominated organist
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PIANIST MISHA DICHTER – A Conversation
ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation
DAVID PERRY – On the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media”
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CHRISTINE EBERSOLE – Bay Area Cabaret presents Tony Award winner at the Venetian Room, January 15th

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

BAY AREA CABARET continues its 2011-2012 season January 15, 2012 with two-time Tony Award winning actress/singer Christine Ebersole. Ebersole makes her Venetian Room debut with her new show from New York’s Café Carlyle about youth, age, and Hollywood illusions. This special one-night-only engagement will take place at the historic Venetian Room of The Fairmont San Francisco (950 Mason Street) 5:00 pm Sunday, January 15th. Bay Area Cabaret’s season continues February 26th with appearances by jazz guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli, including a second, newly added show featuring Pizzarelli and his wife, Broadway star Jessica Molaskey, and May 12th with Tony winner Laura Benanti. Click here to order tickets on-line: Bay Area Cabaret

christine-ebersole
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE

Christine’s show mixes standards from her vast repertoire, ranging from the poignant “Another Winter in Summer Town” from the Broadway musical Grey Gardens, to the rollicking Sophie Tucker number “You Can’t Deep Freeze a Red Hot Mama.”  Ebersole has enchanted audiences throughout her performing career on the Broadway stage, in television series and specials, films, concert appearances, and recordings.  Her many accolades include two Tony Awards for her performances as “Edith Beale” and “Little Edie Beale” in the Broadway musical Grey Gardens, and as “Dorothy Brock” in the smash hit revival of 42nd Street.  Other memorable stage performances include roles in Steel Magnolias, On the Twentieth Century, Oklahoma, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), The Best Man, and the recent revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. She has starred in five City Center Encores! Productions, most recently receiving praise for her starring role as “Margo Channing” in Applause.

christine-ebersole-katerina-cavalieri-f-murray-abraham-salieri
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE (Katerina Cavalieri) & F. MURRAY ABRAHAM (Salieri)

Ms. Ebersole’s many hit film appearances include roles in Amadeus, Tootsie, Richie Rich, Black Sheep, Dead Again, Folks!, Ghost Dad, True Crime, My Girl 2, Mac and Me, and Confessions of a Shopaholic.  She also has an extensive list of television credits, including recent appearances on Retired at 35, Royal Pains, Ugly Betty, Law and Order: SVU, Boston Legal, Samantha Who, and Will and Grace.

In concert, Christine Ebersole has appeared in numerous halls throughout the country.  Most recently, she performed in the concert version of the opera The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall. Ebersole participated in the Opening Night Gala of Carnegie Hall’s 118th Season and has also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in its tribute to Leonard Bernstein.  After making her debut with the Boston Pops three years ago, she returned to Boston’s Symphony Hall and Tanglewood to star as “Desiree Armfeldt” in a concert version of A Little Night Music with the Boston Pops.  In televised concerts, she has had star turns in Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall and The Rodgers & Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty. In December 2010, she performed for the second time on the Kennedy Center Honors.

A celebrated recording artist, Ebersole has released such albums as Christine Ebersole: Live at the Cinegrill; In Your Dreams; Sunday in New York, and the newly released Christine Ebersole Sings Noel Coward.

christine-ebersole-sings-noel-coward
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE: Sings Noel Coward

Click on the photo to order CD on-line.

Album includes such classic hits as: Someday I’ll Find You; Mad About the Boy; Sail Away; I’ll See You Again, and more.

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THE NUTCRACKER – Confection Perfection at San Francisco Ballet

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Ballet’s THE NUTCRACKER is spectacular. Choreographed by Helgi Tomasson and presented first in 2004, the ballet’s setting in San Francisco at the time of the 1915 World’s Fair continues to provide that unusual touch of magic and sense of wonder which distinguishes this realization of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet. Though the darker side of the original storyline is suppressed in favor of a more up-lifting attitude and charm, the special effects of scenic designer Michael Yeargan and lighting designer James F. Ingalls seduce the viewer into a dazzling world that waits just one step beyond and into the outer limits.

waltz-of-the-snowflakes
WALTZ OF THE SNOWFLAKES
All production photos by Erik Tomasson

The brilliant costume designs by Martin Pakledinaz are in true “Once upon a time” storybook tradition, reflecting the elegance of the City’s Edwardian period, the best in toy store novelty for the warring mice and Nutcracker Prince, and regal opulence for the King and Queen of the Snow, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Clara’s golden transformation in the Grand Pas de Deux. The Company is fortunate in having Martin West as its Music Director. Acknowledged as one of the best conductors of ballet in the world, Mr. West brings freshness and zeal to the traditions of the score and is absolutely on the mark with the dynamics of the principle dancers.

frances-chung-e28093-as-_the-sugar-plum-fairy_
FRANCES CHUNG – as “The Sugar Plum Fairy”

The Opening Night cast included Nicole Finken as “Clara” and Gennadi Nedvigin as her Nutcracker Prince. Following his stunning performance as “Franz” in last season’s Coppelia, Mr. Nedvigin continually proves his versatility as a romantic leading man. Again paired with the wondrous Maria Kotchekova, the couple were a sensational match in the climactic Grand Pas de Deux. The mischief and acrobatic delights of the “Dancing Dolls” was provided by Garen Scribner, Clara Blanco, and Daniel Baker. Newlyweds Davit Karapetyan and Vanessa Zahorian were featured as the “King and Queen of the Snow”, and sweet and lovely Frances Chung was the perfect “Sugar Plum Fairy”. Elana Altman and her muscular partners Quinn Wharton and Anthony Spaulding were a hot and spicy blend in The Arabian Dance (aka, the “Coffee Dance”). Lonnie Weeks was amazingly aggressive in the “Chinese Dance”, followed by the totally charming members of the best Dragon in town. Pascal Molat again brought the biggest roar from the crowd with his gravity-defying leaps in The Russian Dance.

arabian-dance
ARABIAN DANCE – Quinn Wharton, Elana Altman, Anthony Spaulding

pascal-molat-and-lonnie-weeks
PASCAL MOLAT and LONNIE WEEKS

The Nutcracker continues through December 27th. Click here for ticket information: THE NUTCRACKER

This Christmas, send a child to the ballet. Created in 1992, San Francisco Ballet’s Children’s Enchantment Fund provides under-served children and families the opportunity to see San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker free of charge – and you can help. For many, the Children’s Enchantment Fund (CHEF) offers both a first trip to the War Memorial Opera House and a rare opportunity to see a live dance performance. Through San Francisco Ballet’s partnership with Community Access Ticket Services, which identifies families served by over 100 social service agencies throughout the Bay Area, the Children’s Enchantment Fund has so far enabled over 27,000 under-served children and their families to attend San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker at no cost. This has been made possible by the generosity of individual ballet trustees and patrons. Click here to help send a child to the ballet this holiday season Children’s Enchantment Fund.

grand-pas-de-deux
GRAND PAS DE DEUX – Maria Kochetkova and Gennadi Nedvigin

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SF Opera Center Announces the 2012 Adler Fellows

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald announced today the ten recipients of the 2012 Adler Fellowship. The prestigious resident artist training program has nurtured the development of more than 140 young artists since its inception.

The eight singers selected as 2012 Adler Fellows are sopranos Nadine Sierra (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Marina Boudart Harris (Whittier, CA); mezzo-sopranos Laura Krumm (Iowa City, Iowa) and Renée Rapier (Marion, Iowa); tenor Brian Jadge (Piermont, New York); baritones Ao Li (Shandong, China) and Joo Won Kang (Seoul, South Korea); and bass-baritone Ryan Kuster (Jacksonville, Illinois). Sierra, Jagde, Li and Kuster are scheduled to return as Adler Fellows. Outgoing 2011 Adler Fellows are sopranos Susannah Biller, Leah Crocetto and Sara Gartland; mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani; countertenor Ryan Belongie; tenor Daniel Montenegro; and coach and accompanist Tamara Sanikidze.

the-adler-fellows
THE ADLER FELLOWS

The two pianists selected for Apprentice Coach Fellowships are Robert Mollicone (East Greenwich, Rhode Island) and returning Adler Fellow David Hanlon (Arlington, Virginia). The Adler Fellow Apprentice Coaches work closely with Mark Morash, Director of Musical Studies of the Opera Center, and John Churchwell, Head of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera. The Coaches participate in the musical activities of both San Francisco Opera and the Opera Center, and are involved in all aspects of the Adler Fellows’ training by acting as pianists for classes, playing for other master coaches as well as preparing the Adler Fellows for concerts and main-stage roles.

“As always, I am very pleased to announce our new 2012 class of Adler Fellows,” said San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald. “It is inspiring to work with such talented young artists. Helping them develop their burgeoning musical careers is truly a rewarding experience.”

The Adler Fellowship Program is a performance-oriented residency offering advanced young artists intensive individual training, coaching, professional seminars and a wide range of performance opportunities throughout their fellowship. Adler Fellows also gain valuable professional experience by performing roles of increasing importance in San Francisco Opera’s main-stage season. The Adler Fellows are selected from the young artists who have participated in the Merola Opera Program.

In addition to performances on the main stage of the War Memorial Opera House, Adler Fellows enjoy a variety of performance opportunities throughout their fellowship. The 2012 Adlers will perform a co-production of the chamber opera Love/Hate by composer Jack Perla with Oberlin Dance Collective (ODC) in San Francisco on April 12, 14 and 15. Selected Adler Fellows will also be featured in the Schwabacher Debut Recital Series (at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary in San Francisco), which was created to spotlight artists who have participated in the programs of the San Francisco Opera Center.

The Adler Fellows’ season culminates with a special year-end concert featuring the singers in an evening of opera scenes and arias with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. This year’s concert, The Future Is Now: Adler Fellows Gala Concert, showcasing the acclaimed 2011 Adler Fellows in concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, takes place on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.

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