Monthly Archives: April 2018

IDF@SV TICKETS FOR FESTIVAL CONCERTS!

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW for the Showcase Performance, Jun 22, 7 p.m. and the Gala Festival Concert, June 23, 3 p.m. and the Festive Dinner after the Festival Concert. Unique and wonderful experiences that celebrate the best of dance. Buy your tickets now; the acclaimed the Festival artists perform to full houses every time. Audiences embrace these performances by peerless artists.  To buy your tickets: Mail a check made to The Lively Foundation to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Avenue/Mountain View, CA/94041. OR if you prefer to use a credit card: please (1) go to the landing page of livelyfoundation.org (2) scroll down the page to see the PAYPAL logo (3) click on that. Follow the easy directions for making a donation. (4) Please email livelyfoundation@sbcglobal.net to let us know how many tickets for which date. OR Tickets available at the door. PLEASE bring cash or check and ID.

THE SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE program encompasses premieres of work from the Festival’s Choreo-Cubator©; an Awardee of the 2018 Choreography Competition, Sam Tribble’s amazing work on the Cyr, a circus art; and premier performances by guest artists. All tickets are $10. Complimentary refreshments. Attend the Showcase and you get a two-for-the-price-of-one ticket to the Festival Concert. FANTASTIC DEAL!

Audreyanne Delgado-Covarrubias

THE GALA FESTIVAL CONCERT presents the Tap Dance Star Audreyanne Delgado-Covarrubias whose wit and incredible quickness makes the audience gasp and applaud; Physical Comedy & Tap artist Megan Ivey whose feet never seem to touch the ground; Etta Walton invites the audience to join her in her amazing Line Dances–no one stays seated when they can dance with Etta. It is a concert to make you laugh and to make your spirits soar. Performances by Awardees of the 2018 Choreography Competition, Ballroom dance by Kris Mola with partner Yuriy Kuvshynov; contemporary dance by Marlene Garcia’s dancers Jessica Bozzo & Coryn Ware.

Above, L to Rt: Awardees Kris Mola with Yuriy Kuvshynov; Marlene Garcia  General Admission tickets, $20; tickets for those over age 65 or younger than 10, $12; Sponsor tickets are $35. Sponsor ticket holders will have reserved seats and a tax deduction. Group tickets for 5 or more available, please contact livelyfoundation@sbcglobal.net

DINNER and a SHOW! “What are you doing after the show?” Don’t rush off; join audience members and artists at Amici’s pizzeria just a block and a half away for a festive, pizza celebration after the show. Please let us know that you will attend so we can be sure Amici’s staff is ready for us! Add $25 to your ticket cost. That’s all it takes to make the fun continue. Performance will end around 5 p.m. We will probably arrive at Amici’s around 5:30. PLEASE RSVP; we need to count you in to reserve our table. Response by June 21 would be great. Mail your check made out to The Lively Foundation to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Ave/Mountain View, CA/94041     QUESTIONS? contact livelyfoundation@sbcglobal.net

 

AMADEUS: Movie of Mozart with SF Symphony

Near the end of Amadeus, the award winning movie from 1984 which was presented by the San Francisco Symphony, April 6 & 7, with the SF Symphony present playing the film’s score and the SFS Chorus present performing the vocal music, there is a moment when a coffin is lifted out of a coach. As men walk forward carrying the coffin, the viewer noticed the coffin’s smaller end flap open and shut. Something was wrong with this picture. The coffin is tipped, a bundle covered in white cloth slides out; it lands on a pile of other bundles in a big ditch. That bundle was the body of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mozart (1756-1791) painted by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Dead at age 35, Mozart’s celestial music goes on.

This is a painful, gorgeous movie. Seeing it with live music accompaniment was a great benefit as hearing the music created in the  moment made Mozart’s life’s work all the more real. The SFS Chorus had provided the vocal music in the film, another plus to the movie/live music experience. Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, the Symphony, Chorus, Choral Director Ragnar Bohlin all deserved the continuing cheers of the audience. “Wolfie,” as his wife Constanze calls him in the movie, wrote more than 600 works. That’s right, 600 works of perfect beauty; turn off the computer, now ( when you finish this short article is ok, too.)

Tom Hulce enacted Mozart in Amadeus

Tom Hulce’s performance as the “loved by God” composer is breathtaking. He has the outrageous giggle, bawdiness, conscience-free, child-like behavior and the focused concentration of a true genius when at work. F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri, the competitive, court composer devoured by jealousy, captures the many sides of a man capable of appreciating how extraordinary Mozart’s music is and still wanting to destroy him. Both actors were nominated for Best Actor Academy Awards; that time Salieri won.

F. Murray Abraham as Salieri in Amadeus

The movie is so powerful that it is difficult to remind oneself that this is fiction based on some historical fact and a lot of historical rumor. No one can know what caused Mozart’s death. His grave was not marked; there is no hope for posthumous analysis. Renal failure is one interpretation, but more than one hundred explanations have been given. The rumor that Salieri poisoned Mozart was alive and well long after both composers were gone. In 1830, Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian author, wrote a play based on the rumor. The movie is based on the play by Peter Shaffer who drew on Pushkin’s work.

The movie plus live music phenomenon is made possible by a fancy computer rig. One  could see the laptop on the Conductor’s podium. There was a pulsing, large, white dot and different lines which seemed to coordinate the entrances for music and chorus. Timing is everything. The live participants must not be even a nano-second early or late as the dialogue and some on-the-film music go on. It is a wonder. The 2018-2019 season offers films such as Jurassic Park and Mary Poppins with live music.

The problem with the rumor is that it is so believable. Artistic rivalry and deadly jealousy, not so surprising as one might wish. The audience experiences the suffering of a man who was, as the play’s Salieri sees, composing as though angels dictated to him. The loss of what more music he might have created is impossible to measure. Redwoods killed by drought, right whales going extinct, children made asthmatic by air pollution: all those losses of life and liveliness and the loss of Mozart himself. Humans got lucky that he was here at all. What if, after its few productions Don Giovanni had simply disappeared? We would all be less than we could be and not know it.

SF Symphony: Transcendent Concert of Berg & Mahler

Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director

It is rare to hear a concert by the San Francisco Symphony that is not superb, gorgeous, interesting, entertaining. One can easily run out of fresh adjectives and re-use the same ones that are useful to describe the experience of a beautiful performance of beautiful music. The concert on March 24, 2018, however, soared into another realm. Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the program of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto (1935) with violinist Gil Shaham as guest artist and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor (1902). The performance surpassed any expectations.

Albano Maria Johannes (Alban) Berg (1885-1935)

Berg’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is doubly tragic. Berg died the day before Christmas the year he wrote the concerto; the concerto was his last completed work. It was written to commemorate Manon Gropius, daughter of Alma Mahler Werfel, Mahler’s widow, and architect Walter Gropius. At age eighteen, Manon died from polio. Berg had known her since her childhood. He wrote “To the Memory of an Angel.” on the manuscript. He dedicated the work to Louis Krasner, a violinist based in Boston who had asked Berg early in 1935  to write a concerto for him. Krasner played the premiere, 1936, in Barcelona. The concerto sums up the passages of the life lost so young. It has two two-part movements. The first is Andante-Allegretto; the second Allegro-Adagio. The Andante has an ethereal, daydreaming atmosphere: a girl watching clouds scud through the sky. The Allegretto is playful and dancing. In the last part, the drama of the girl almost growing up and then twisted with pain grabs the listener physically just below the ribs. The structure of the music in the Adagio refers to a chorale of the Lutheran church that prays “It is enough! Lord, if it pleases You.” The terror of Manon and for her; the need for resignation in the face of inevitable death; the struggle of life to remain alive is reenacted in the soloist striving over the other strings. In the end, the solo violin seems to resolve the pain. There can be acceptance and a fitting harmony with loss.

Gil Shaham, Violinist

Gil Shaham is an extraordinary violinist. His gifts are of the heart as well as in his hands. He plays with verve and power and also tenderness and anguish. His presence as a performer lights up all of Davies Hall.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 travels from sounds of a funeral to renewal of life. There is so much variety of emotion, experience, exaltation on the way that the listener’s senses rocket from depths to heights and back again. Holding one’s breath, afraid to miss any single event in this music it is as though by living with the music one can experience multitudes of lives from the inside rather than from observation. Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas is justly renown for conducting, teaching, expanding Mahler’s audience. The SF Symphony met every challenge of the music and fulfilled their Maestro’s vision. This is the Mahler symphony with the Adagietto, now so famous that it is often played as a separate piece on classical radio. This quiet, very slow movement could be “Mahler’s heartache” as described by the late music writer, Michael Steinberg, or it could be the most purely sensuous classical music ever written. The symphony ends with raucous, joyful music shouting with exuberance. The listener lived in the music as Michael Tilson Thomas seems to have every phrase and its musical meaning in every cell of himself.

Conducting without a score, the Maestro reminded me of Charles Dickens traveling the world, taking all the parts to enact scenes from his novels. Now, imagine someone else, not the writer of Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Dickens’ Bleak House being able to recite and act the whole of one of those enormous books with nearly countless characters, events, plots, subplots, descriptions of landscapes and ballrooms. That’s what Michael Tilson Thomas does conducting Mahler. It was a transcendent performance.

Hedgehog Highlight on Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, livelyfoundation.org/wordpress/?p=669     Hedgehog Highlight on Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, livelyfoundation.org/wordpress/?p=1585

www.sfsymphony.com, gilshaham.com, michaeltilsonthomas.com

photo of Michael Tilson Thomas courtesy the San Francisco Symphony