Arts & Events

Masquers “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”—gruesomely entertaining

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday September 19, 2013 - 09:22:00 PM
Padraic (Damien Seperi, center) searches for answers in the death of his beloved cat in the Masquers Playhouse production of “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” (bottom Alan Coyne, Avi Jacobson; background Jesse MacKinnon, David Stein, and Dan Kurtz).

“The Lieutenant of Inishmore” by Martin McDonagh sounds like an heroic Irish play. However, Martin McDonagh—master of gruesome violence and dark irony—wrote it.

Now playing at Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond through September 28, the play is about the murderous violence since “The Troubles” began anew in 1969 and lasted almost 30 years.

This play was written in the late 90’s when the violence had become extreme and often turned away from its roots toward gangsterism while being supported in part through drug-trafficking.

It’s about the misplaced affection for a pet of a hardened revolutionary for whom assassination and torture were an everyday occurrence.

Throughout, it is extraordinarily funny in that tongue in cheek Irish manner. -more-

Vanessa in Berkeley This Weekend

Friday September 20, 2013 - 03:24:00 PM

West Edge Opera, formerly the Berkeley Opera, which most recently has been playing at El Cerrito High School, will present a semi-staged concert performance of Vanessa, with music by Samuel Barber and libretto by Gian-Carlo Menotti, on Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Thrust Stage.

Marie Plette will take the title role of Vanessa, and Jonathan Khuner will conduct. Nikola Printz (Erika)was previously seen in Berkeley in a Dazzling Divas production of Cosi Fan Tutte,at the Berkeley Piano Club. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC: Del Sol Quartet at Berkeley Chamber Performances, New Century Chamber Orchestra with Daugherty Perspectives

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 20, 2013 - 09:02:00 AM

Del Sol Quartet will play a world premiere of Gatar, Calligraphy Number 11, by Iranian composer Reza Vali, along with work by Robert Erickson, Lembit Beecher, Uzbekistani composer Elena Kats-Chemin, and Thunder by Irene Sazar, 8 p.m. Thursday, September 26, at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue. A wine and cheese reception with the musicians follows, to which the audience is invited. $25, high school students free, post-high school students $12.50. 525-5211, -more-

Clerestory Sings in Oakland on September 29

By Angela Arnold
Thursday September 19, 2013 - 10:02:00 PM


Clerestory, the Bay Area’s acclaimed 9-man vocal ensemble, has engaged the services of a promising lyricist. Check out his stuff on September 28 in San Francisco, September 29 in Oakland, and/or October 6 in Lodi.

OK, this fellow has a bit of a reputation already... William Shakespeare, a giant of drama and literature, also looms large in the world of music: his clever, innately lyrical words have enticed centuries of composers. With The Bard, Clerestory kicks off its eighth season by paying homage to this greatest of English wordsmiths in songs from the Renaissance through the modern day. Many of the pieces in our program bring to life songs Shakespeare wrote into his own plays—moments in which the drama pauses to elevate a few tender lines or to relish a moment of cheerful coarseness. Familiar favorites from Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Rutter, and Jaako Mäntyjärvi are joined by new treasures from Cory Johnson, Karen Siegel, and others. Are you ‘to be, or not to be’ in the audience? Verily, we hope so! -more-

Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet at the Berkeley Arts Festival on Saturday

By Bonnie Hughes
Thursday September 19, 2013 - 09:43:00 PM

William Lang, Mark Broschinsky, Sebastian Vera, and James Rogers formed Guidonian Hand five years ago in New York City with a mission to to develop and commission repertoire as well as explore the vast possibilities for this unique instrumentation. They have been the recent recipients of major grants from Chamber Music America, the Barlow Foundation, the Jerome Fund and New Music USA (formerly Meet the Composer) and have worked exclusively with composers such as Eve Beglarian, Jeremy Howard Beck, J. Mark Stambaugh, Mary Ellen Childs and Jonathan Bepler. Recently they recorded the soundtrack for and acted in Matthew Barney's upcoming film, "River of Fundament" in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler as well as releasing their first commercial recording, "Awakening" by Jeremy Howard Beck, which they have performed all over the country. Other recent highlights were performing twice at last year's Bang on a Can Marathon and in this year's River to River Festival with choreographers Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey. -more-