Arts & Events

Stunning Shostakovich 8th Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday June 02, 2019 - 11:01:00 AM

Dmitri Shostakovich may be at one and the same time both the most intensely political composer and the most intensely personal. In so much of his music – symphonies, trios, string quartets, operas – Shostakovich wrote musical meditations on the life of his country, the Soviet Union, and in doing so he also meditated upon his own difficulties in coming to grips with the political realities of his era, the Stalin years. Born in 1906, Shostakovich came of age after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. At age eighteen, he wrote his Symphony No. 1, presenting it as his graduation piece at the Leningrad Conservatory. With this success, Shostakovich burst on the scene as a much-heralded Soviet composer. -more-

Theater Review & Preview of Festival--'Orphelin 2.0' by Effervescent Théâtre de la Feuille of Hong Kong at the Ongoing San Francisco International Arts Festival

Ken Bullock
Friday May 31, 2019 - 10:22:00 AM

A bright, energetic theater troupe from Hong Kong, Théâtre de la Feuille, performed their own updated version of the ancient Chinese story 'The Orphan of Zhao' with brilliant mime and acrobatic ensemble work, all in the service of a fine, crystalized sense of storytelling, to open the first full weekend of two for the San Francisco International Arts Festival at Fort Mason on San Francisco's northern waterfront. -more-

Spectacular Eifman Ballet from St. Petersburg at Zellerbach Friday to Sunday

Ken Bullock
Friday May 31, 2019 - 10:21:00 AM

Cal Performances closes its 2018-19 season by featuring the spectacular Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg with 'The Pygmalion Effect,' four performances from Friday at 8 through Saturday (2 & 8) to Sunday at 3. -more-

Vilde Frang Performs Elgar’s Violin Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday May 31, 2019 - 10:24:00 AM

Young Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, who debuted in San Francisco in 2014 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, returned to Davies Hall for three performances, Thursday-Saturday, May 23-5, with the San Francisco Symphony led by guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski. I attended the Saturday, May 25 performance. Vilde Frang was featured as soloist in Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor, Opus 61 (1910). For some reason, this concerto is rarely heard. It has only been performed here twice: once in 1985, and again in 1998, both times with Pinchas Zukerman as soloist. Though bursting with Romantic lyricism, it is also fiendishly difficult. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar:
Berkeley Public Meetings and Civic Events for June 2 - 8, 2019

Sunday June 02, 2019 - 11:04:00 AM

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Berkeley Historical Society presents --"Yeasty Times, the Experimental School Program"-- from 3-5 pm, at 1931 Center St. Moderated by Joanne Tien and with an expert panel discussion. Free admission and for more information --see:


The 16th Berkeley World Music Festival, noon – 8 pm, at People’s Park and throughout Telegraph Ave.; and Sunday Streets provides dance areas, crafts, with children’s activities each day, --see:

Roses in Bloom -an Acoustical Series, from 3 – 5 pm at the Rose Garden. -more-