Monthly Archives: February 2013

Michala Petri: Recorder Virtuosa

Michala Petri, the extraordinary musician who makes her music on the recorder, performed a thrilling concert, February 10, at the Center for Performing, Menlo-Atherton, presented by Music@Menlo(see photo below). Are you, Dear Reader, one of those who thinks that the words “Thrilling” and “recorder” could not belong in the same sentence? If so, it’s time to tune in to Ms Petri’s artistry. The recorder is much more widely performed in Europe, but there are contemporary composers rediscovering the surprising versatility of what Ms Petri calls “the simplest of instruments–only eight finger holes.” Ms Petri’s recording of The Nightingale, a work for choir and recorder, received  Grammy nominations for Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The Latvian composer, Ugis Praulins based the work on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble recorded it with Ms Petri. The recorder’s heyday was the Baroque era, and Ms Petri’s performance demonstrated the great variety of musical explorations and achievements by composers of grandeur, complexity, and endless invention: Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli. Ms Petri performs without any extras, no arm waving or posturing. She picks up her instrument and lets her faster-than-a-speeding-bullet fingers fly with perfect precision. The result is music one feels and feels one sees sculpting the air, reinventing what one thought was time. Her gifted companions were oboist Allan Vogel and harpsichordist John Gibbons. For more about this performance, Ms Petri, and the recorder, look for the next in print issue of The Hedgehog.petri-eblast-web.091334

Zheng Cao (1966-2013)

Lively sadly says good bye to Zheng Cao, a lovely lady, kind and warm human being, a beautiful mezzo soprano. Zheng and Leslie met when Leslie wrote a feature article for Asian Week about the many gifted Asian Americans at the San Francisco Opera. They met again when Leslie’s feature, New Faces of Opera, was the cover story on the first issue of The Hedgehog, the international arts review, in December, 1996. Zheng was known for her effervescent performances of Mozart, her touching portrayal of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and  in 2008 she sang the lead role in The Bonesetter’s Daughter, SFOpera’s premiere of Stewart Wallace’s opera of Amy Tan’s book. Zheng Cao’s generous spirit was well represented when, even though very ill, she appeared in Feb., 2012, to announce the creation of the Merola Opera Program Zheng Cao Fund which will go to support either mezzo sopranos or Asian Americans. Take a bow, Zheng Cao! You made the world a better place with your music and your presence. cao-zheng

AXIS Dance Company in Lively’s Festival

Exciting news for Season II of the International Dance Festival-Silicon Valley.

AXIS Dance Company will teach a workshop class on the Full Day of

Dance, Sat., Aug. 24, and perform in the concert, Sun., Aug. 25. The class is open to everyone, whatever their physical condition. AXIS integrates movement of individuals in wheelchairs or using other physically necessary aides with movements of “able bodied” dancers. They create a beautiful exploration of the mysteries of movement. Don’t miss this great opportunity!

Judith Smith & Sonsheree Giles, AXIS Dance Company, photo: Trib LaPrade

Judith Smith & Sonsheree Giles, AXIS Dance Company, photo: Trib LaPrade

Lively’s Blog Live Again!

Great news! Our hero, Bini, at netmegs, has put wordpress on our website.

This will allow us to give the world Lively’s news and the Hedgehog’s Highlights

again. After Apple pulled the plug on the program that kept our website going,

we were not able to update it, but now we can. Just in time to announce that our

Lunar New Year Luncheon, Meet Us at Ming’s is on for March 2nd at noon. Don’t

miss it; it’s always great fun, and the food is amazing. Good to be back.