RUFUS WAINWRIGHT – Program changes for this week’s concerts with SF Symphony

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane has withdrawn from his San Francisco Symphony (SFS) conducting appearances scheduled for November 11—13 due to illness. Conductor Michael Francis will lead the Orchestra in the world premiere of the SFS-commissioned Five Shakespeare Sonnets by composer and vocalist Rufus Wainwright. The program will also include Symphony No. 2 by Kurt Weill and Darius Milhaud’s Le Création du monde. This is Francis’ debut with the San Francisco Symphony. During the last week of October he made his U.S. conducting debut with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

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MICHAEL FRANCIS

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation. He is the son of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and brother of Martha Wainwright. Rufus has achieved his success by carving out his own singular sound in the worlds of rock, opera, theater, dance and film. Wainwright’s much acclaimed first opera, Prima Donna the Story of an Opera, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009. The opera debuted in London at Sadler’s Wells in April 2010, and its North American debut in Toronto at the June 2010 Luminato Festival. He has composed a musical adaptation of Shakespeare Sonnets with noted Director Robert Wilson at the Berliner Ensemble which premiered in April of 2009. With the success of the performances, and encouragement from San Francisco Symphony, Wainwright was further inspired to create full orchestrations for the Sonnets. “One cannot immerse themselves in Shakespeare’s sonnets,” Wainwright said, “and not be submerged, drowned, and finally resurrected a better human being. They are, hands down, the greatest works ever written.”

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RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

Wainwright has released eight albums and two DVDs to date, and has appeared on numerous soundtracks and compilations, as well as collaborating with artists such as Elton John, David Byrne, Rosanne Cash and Keane. His newest album  titled, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, was released earlier this year. His album, Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall, was nominated for a Grammy. It was released concurrently with a live DVD (Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!) capturing his celebrated Judy Garland tribute performance at the London Palladium in 2007. His previous album, Release the Stars, went Gold in Canada and the U.K.

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ABOUT MICHAEL FRANCIS
Considered to be one of the brightest young conducting talents, Michael Francis was first recognized as such in 2006 when, while on tour, he was pulled from the bass section of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and placed onto the podium for a rehearsal of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4. The future of his conducting career was cemented by three successive emergencies: in 2007, with 12 hours’ notice to replace Valery Gergiev for the BBC’s Gubaidulina Festival; one month later and on two hours’ notice to replace composer/conductor John Adams in a performance of Adams’ works with the LSO at the Philharmonie Luxembourg; and in January 2009, when he was asked to replace André Previn. The request to replace Previn came in on New Year’s Eve. It involved getting two distinct programs ready in six days for four concerts in three cities, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony. As a result of his success and the great critical praise which followed, the Symphony immediately engaged Francis to conduct additional concerts. In April 2010, Francis joined forces with Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducting a series of concerts in Tokyo and Taiwan. This month he makes his debut with the New York Philharmonic. He is joined by Mutter for the world premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s newest piece for violin and orchestra, Lichtes Spiel.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, 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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