CARNEGIE HALL OPENING NIGHT – Tonight on PBS’ GREAT PERFORMANCES

Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony
celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 90th Birthday
DVD of live concert now available

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Tonight at 9:00 pm tune into KQED Channel 9 and KQED-HD for GREAT PERFORMANCES. The broadcast features San Francisco Symphony’s September 24th opening of Carnegie Hall’s 2008-09 Season – an all-Leonard Bernstein gala concert. “A birthday bash!” says conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Simultaneously, it is the release date of the DVD – CARNEGIE HALL OPENING NIGHT 2008: A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein. The 90-minute program will repeat at 3:00 AM Thursday, October 30th. It will also be broadcast on KQED Life on Thursday, October 30th at 8:00 PM and repeated on Friday, October 31st at 2:00 AM.

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LEONARD BERNSTEIN, Composer & MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, Conductor

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“In this program, we are going to try and celebrate the range of Bernstein’s musical interests,” said Tilson Thomas. “There will be some of the most familiar music from some of the great shows and ballets, but also some really challenging pieces that come from his last opera, A QUIET PLACE, as well as a kind of gala show of music – some of the most mournful, some of the most irreverent, some of the most blithely innocent, some of the most self-consciously tortured: the whole range of the possibility of his music to amuse, to delight, to provoke, to question.” The DVD of the concert also includes SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) interviewing soprano Dawn Upshaw, baritone Thomas Hampson and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, each of whom performed with the Orchestra. The DVD is now available for sale exclusively through the SFS online store at SFSymphony.org/store and shopthirteen.org, and beginning Tuesday, January 13th through iTunes, AMAZON.COM, and other online and retail outlets.

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DAWN UPSHAW & CHRISTINE EBERSOLE

The Orchestra’s sold-out Carnegie Hall concert kicked off a New York City-wide tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein, who would have celebrated his 90th birthday this year. Airing in high definition and 5.1 surround sound, the performance features music from a wide variety of Bernstein’s stage works, from such early triumphs as WEST SIDE STORY and ON THE TOWN to later works MASS and A QUIET PLACE. MTT leads the SFS in Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Danzón from Three Dances from FANCY FREE. Frequent SFS collaborators Dawn Upshaw and Thomas Hampson join the Orchestra for selections from A Quiet Place, and Hampson and Yo-Yo Ma perform “To What You Said” from SONGFEST. Ma also performs Bernstein’s Meditation No. 1 from Mass. Upshaw is featured as soloist on “What a Movie” from Trouble in Tahiti, and vocal and drama students from The Juilliard School perform “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. Broadway star Christine Ebersole sings “I Can Cook, Too” from ON THE TOWN, and Upshaw, Hampson, Ma, and Ebersole unite to perform the rousing finale, “Ya Got Me,” from the same show.

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YO YO MA, Cellist & THOMAS HAMPSON, Baritone

Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969 and Laureate Conductor from 1969 to 1990, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) brought his own particular New World sensibility to classical music. Equally at home in a Broadway theater or concert hall, the beloved “Lenny” – who performed at Carnegie Hall more than 400 times during his career – had an enthusiasm for an understanding of music far beyond his classical realm, extending into jazz, world music, American song, and 1960s pop and rock. Michael Tilson Thomas, who first met the maestro in 1968, was a close friend and colleague for many years, and, in 1971, succeeded him as conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts on national TV. CARNEGIE HALL OPENING NIGHT 2008: A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein inaugurates the hall’s 118th season and is a production of Carnegie Hall and Thirteen/WNET New York in association with the San Francisco Symphony. Directed by Gary Halvorson, it is produced by John Walker and Mitch Owgang, with David Horn as Executive Producer. The DVD is available on SFS Media. SFS Media was formed in 2001, when the SFS became the first U.S. orchestra to create its own recording label. Since 2002, SFS Media has released the Orchestra’s CD recordings of eight of the nine complete Mahler symphonies, and has expanded the successful project to include all of the composer’s works for voices, chorus and orchestra. The most recent release is Mahler’s DAS LIED VON DER ERDE featuring tenor Stuart Skelton and baritone Thomas Hampson. SFS Media is also home to KEEPING SCORE, the SFS’s national project designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds. Keeping Score encompasses a national PBS television series, multiple websites, a Peabody Award-winning public radio series, documentary and live performance DVDs, and an education program for K-12 schools to further teaching through the arts by integrating classical music into core subjects.

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LEONARD BERNSTEIN, 1945 — CARNEGIE HALL, Opening Night 2008

“It’s so wonderful to be able to celebrate such a great artist,” says conductor Michael Tilson Thomas “as someone who was such a great friend to so many people, whose music still seems to reach out and embrace us. And it’s fascinating because we think of him as such an enthusiastic, up-up-up hyper kind of guy and yet so many of his pieces, West Side Story included, end so quietly, so questioningly. Why is that? These pieces, of course, are a real portrait of the man who wrote them. And there’s no way at this late date we’re going to be able to airbrush Leonard Bernstein into being some kind of avuncular Jewish Santa Claus. He was a real guy, with real demons, and real questions. Lots of them unanswered, like right at the end of West Side Story. They’re all there in the music.”

Add these recordings to your Classical Library. Click on the titles to purchase on-line.

DVD – A CELEBRATION OF LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2008 –The San Francisco Symphony inaugurates the hall’s 118th season. A production of Carnegie Hall and Thirteen/WNET New York in association with the San Francisco Symphony.

DVD – KEEPING SCORE: Revolutions in Music – Beethoven’s Eroica (2006) – Retracing Beethoven’s steps through Vienna’s aristocratic ballrooms and Austria’s rustic villages, MTT explores how Beethoven channeled hs fears of deafness, his admiration for Napoleon, and his obsession to prove himself the greatest composer of his time and to write a piece that forever changed what a symphony would be.

DVD – KEEPING SCORE: Copland and the American Sound (2006) – Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony explore the music of Copland and the cityscapes, landscapes, and social and political developments that shaped it. Bonus Features include the live performance of Copland’s Appalachian Spring by the SF Symphony and MTT shot in high definition, presented in 16:9 widescreen and 5.1 surround sound. It also includes two alternative 5.1 channel surround sound audio mixes: “Musician” and “Audience” points of view. Optional closed-caption subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. 116 minutes.

DVD – KEEPING SCORE: Revolutions in Music – Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (2006)
In this DVD, Michael Tilson Thomas and the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony take you from the salons of St. Petersburg to the villages where Stravinsky found inspiration in the earthly power of Russian folk music and dance. MTT then retraces Stravinsky’s journey to the cultural crossroads of pre-war Paris. There, in collaboration with the great impresario Diaghilev and his star dancer Nijinsky, Stravinsky developed the shocking, erotic, and violent evocation of pagan Russia that became The Rite of Spring.

DVD – KEEPING SCORE: MTT on Music, the Making of a Performance, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony – MTT delves into the notes and symbols that make up Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony, and unlocks the drama, pathos, elation and despair within. This DVD recorded in 5.1 surround sound audio and presented in widescreen format includes a narrated graphic history of Tchaikovsky and subtitles in German, French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.

CD – BERNSTEIN: A Quiet Place – Leonard Bernstein leads the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Featuring Chester Ludgin, Beverly Morgan, John Brandstetter, and Peter Kazaras.

CD – BERNSTEIN: Fancy Free – Disc includes Overture to Candide, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, On The Waterfront, symphonic suite, and Dance Episodes from On the Town. Leonard Bernstein conducts the New York Philharmonic.

CD – LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Mass – Kent Nagano leads the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester. Featuring Jerry Hadley, William Elliott, Maeretha Stewart, etc.

CD – TO THE SOUL: Thomas Hampson Sings the Poetry of Walt Whitman – Featuring Baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Craig Rutenberg. Walt Whitman’s poetry set to music by Kurt Weill, Charles Ives, Ned Rorem, Frank Bridge, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more.
SONGFEST

DVD – WEST SIDE STORY – Featuring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris, directed by Robert Wise, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and winner of 10 Academy Awards.

Visit Seán on YouTube:
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
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See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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