Summer Music and Dance Fill the Air 

click to enlarge Tuning up: Marin Alsop leads a full Cabrillo music festival lineup. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Tuning up: Marin Alsop leads a full Cabrillo music festival lineup.

The arts don’t go on vacation in summer. The San Francisco Opera is in session, the S.F. Symphony winds up its centennial season and begins its seasonal pops series — and here come the summer festivals!

Joe Goode

The Joe Goode Performance Group’s world premiere of “When We Fall Apart,” a evening-length work for seven dancers, explores “the intricate and fragile relationship between house and body, and what defines a home.” Award-winning Goode, known for innovatively combining dance and performance art, collaborates with architect Cass Calder Smith, famed for high-profile restaurant designs; it’s the first time the architect’s work is featured in a live stage performance. Original music is by Ben Juodvalkis of the band Battlehooch.

[June 14-30. $25-$35. Z Space, 450 Florida St., S.F. (800) 838-3006,]

‘Resounding Compassion’

Composer Shinji Eshima, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra’s double-bass player, presents two new works in “Resounding Compassion: A Concert for Peace,” a 50th anniversary benefit for the San Francisco Zen Center. The event includes a performance by butoh artist Judith Kajiwara, left; poetry by Jane Hirshfield; artist Al Farrow’s bronze sculpture of a bell (played by the San Francisco Ballet’s Pascal Molat); and San Francisco Opera violinist Asuka Annie Yano performing Mozart on a new instrument built from the beams of houses washed away by last year’s tsunami in Japan.

[8 p.m. June 4. $30-$40. S.F. Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., S.F., (415) 864-7326,]

Verdi’s ‘Attila’

Attila the Hun, the legendary fifth-century “Scourge of God,” is the subject of an early Verdi opera from 1846 that presents the character as a brave warrior rather than a ruthless barbarian. After leading a new production of “Attila” at La Scala last year, San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti, right, conducts it here, with Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role; the return of bass Samuel Ramey as Pope Leo; and featuring local debuts by Lucrecia Garcia and Diego Torre.

[June 12-July 1. $21-$288. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F., (415) 864-3330,]

Cabrillo Festival

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, America’s longest-running festival dedicated to new music for orchestras, commemorates its 50th anniversary in an expanded three-week season. Led by Music Director Marin Alsop, below, the festival features: six world premieres, three West Coast premieres, 14 composers in residence, a historic commission by Scottish composer James MacMillan, a multimedia collaboration with NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson), Emmy-winning composer Laura Karpman, an emphasis on female composers and world-renowned media design firm Obscura Digital.

[July 28-Aug. 12, $30-$50 (and numerous free events). Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. (831) 420-5260,]

‘The Mikado’

In a summer tour across the Bay Area, the Lamplighters are reviving the greatest Gilbert & Sullivan musical, “The Mikado,” about the melodic adventures of Lord High Executioner Koko, Lord High Everything Else Pooh-Bah, Mikado Jr. Nanki-Poo and lovely Yum-Yum — all in a phantasmagorical Japan that strangely resembles the London of the 1880s. The 60-year-old Lamplighters, called “a San Francisco tradition, ranking somewhere between sourdough bread and cable cars,” present the production — with a live orchestra and budget-defying, gorgeous sets and costumes — in The City for only four days.

[Aug. 16-19. $15-$59. Novellus Theater, 700 Howard St., S.F., (415) 978-2787,]

‘Dialogue of Souls’

This year’s Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, a biennial celebration of early music, explores how Western music has been shaped by encounters with other civilizations over the centuries. Philharmonia Baroque, Chanticleer, American Bach Soloists and legendary Catalan viola da gamba master Jordi Savall, below, are among artists in this year’s program. The first of Savall’s two “Dialogue of Souls” concerts focuses on music from ancient Spain, the Ottoman Empire, medieval Italy, Persia and Afghanistan. The second features Sephardic, Armenian and Turkish music.

[8 p.m. June 9, 3 p.m. June 10. $60. First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, (510) 642-9988,]

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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