Arts & Events

Around & About--Dance & Music: Mary Sano & Her Duncan Dancers with Eriko Tokaji on Piano

Ken Bullock
Saturday August 12, 2017 - 06:54:00 PM

I've written about Mary Sano before, her exquisite dancing and choreography, the important work she's doing here and in Japan to revive Isadora Duncan's legacy, here at her studio, an occasional home for all kinds of performing artists, just blocks away from where Isadora was born in the late 1870s. -more-

West Edge Opera at Pacific Pipe: A New Venue & New Operas

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 13, 2017 - 06:45:00 PM

After several successful seasons at Oakland’s abandoned train station, West Edge Opera was told by Oakland city officials that in the wake of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, for safety reasons the city could no longer permit public performances at the abandoned train station. So West Edge Opera’s General Director Mark Streshinsky set out in search of another suitable (and cheap) venue where his company could stage their 2017 Festival. What Streshinsky came up with was Pacific Pipe, a former West Oakland warehouse for a steel refurbishing factory. In this vast former industrial space, West Edge Opera is currently presenting three new operas, all rarely seen anywhere. On Sunday, August 6, I attended L’arbore di Diana/The Chastity Tree by Vicente Martin y Soler. A Spanish composer who worked in Vienna as a contemporary of Mozart, Martin y Soler shared with Mozart the services of renowned librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, who wrote the libretto for The Chastity Tree. Later in life, da Ponte considered L’arbore di Diana the best opera libretto he had written, noting that “it was voluptuous without overstepping into lasciviousness.” -more-

Sarah Chang and Asian Youth Orchestra at Zellerbach

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 13, 2017 - 06:53:00 PM

On Saturday, August 5, Cal Performances presented violinist Sarah Chang with the Asian Youth Orchestra at Zellerbach Hall in a program of music by Richard Strauss, Jean Sibelius, and Ludwig van Beethoven. With the Asian Youth Orchestra’s founder, Richard Pontzious, conducting, the evening began with the Tone Poem Don Juan by Richard Strauss. An early work by Strauss, Don Juan took up the same womanizing character made famous by Mozart’s great opera Don Giovanni. However, Richard Strauss altered the Don’s character by making his Don Juan seek the ideal woman who would be, as it were, all women in one. Because he can never find his ideal woman, Don Juan suffers from disgust and disillusionment at his predicament, and, as Strauss wrote, “This Disgust is the Devil that fetches him.” -more-