Upcoming and Noteworthy

What's ahead on The Classical Network? Catch some of these great programs coming your way.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Harvey Fierstein’s 35-year-old Tony-winning play "Torch Song Trilogy" is now slimmed down and called simply "Torch Song" in a new Broadway production with Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruhl. Theater critic Howard Shapiro reviews the production this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday (11/16) at 8 am and Saturday (11/17) at 10 am.

The mass Se la face ay pale of Guillaume Dufay is a mix of medieval strictness and Renaissance freedom, which is to be expected written as it was by the man who bridged both periods.  Hear a performance of this great mass on this week's Distant Mirror  as David Munrow directs the Early Music Consort of London. Later in the program music from the Chantilly Codex as the Ensemble P.A.N. performs selections by Baude Cordier, Jean Vaillant and Franciscus Andrieu.  Join Allan Kelly Friday night at 10.

An opera based on an 18th century Chinese work called the “pinnacle of Chinese fiction” by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang is this week’s Sunday Opera (11/18 3:00 p.m.).  “The Dream of the Red Chamber” is a huge work that features some forty main characters and over four-hundred secondary characters.  In this San Francisco Opera version, the focus has been fine-tuned by librettist David Henry Hwang.  

Teaching has its side effects, and one of those is the need for “calendar art”!  The Dress Circle program this week (11/18 7:00 p.m.) is an off-shoot of that need as we present a Thanksgiving program – of sorts.  In the past, we’ve looked at family, food, and “thanks” as themes, but this time, we wanted to share with you some of the theatergoing events for which we’ve been thankful over the years.  

If you were looking for them they were not hard to find - maybe it was the tell tale bulge of the portable cassette player from their jacket pockets or that curiously large briefcase they lugged as if it were the most ordinary of things to be taking into a performance in Zurich, New York, or Rome. Eyes shifting, they took their seats. They were the pirates, those denizens of the not so secret world of illegal opera recordings. They lived in the shadows and wanted nothing more than to go unnoticed.

Between the Keys' Bagatelle Buffet on November 13th

Nov 12, 2018

This week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys is devoted to the art of the piano Bagatelle, with music by Beethoven, Ježek, Sibelius, Howard Ferguson, Dvorak, Poulenc, Edison Denisov, Saint-Saëns, Marie Jaëll, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nikolai Kapustin and Edison Denisov. There’ll also be a Bagatelle by the Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler, who is the creator, producer and host of Between the Keys.

We could all use some levity just now, and there will be an afternoon of it when this week’s Sunday Opera (11/11 3:00 p.m.) features the San Francisco Opera production of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” where a poor and rebellious nephew and his beloved teach his conniving uncle a lesson about love and family.  The cast includes Maurizio Muraro in the title role, Lawrence Brownlee is his nephew Ernesto, and Heidi Stober as Ernesto’s beloved Norina.  

On Wednesday, 11/7 at noon we'll hear bass Kodi Meyer in Johannes Brahms' Vier ernste Gesaenge.  Also on the program are Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in B minor, K 87 and Mozart's String Quartet in C, "Dissonance."  Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wednesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

Beaumarchais’ trickster Figaro is the central figure on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/4 3:00 p.m.) in the San Francisco Opera production of Giaochino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”  Luca Meacham is the wily Figaro, Daniela Mack the lovelorn Rosina, and Rene Barbera the fickle Count Almaviva.  Joining them are Alessandro Corbelli as the greedy Doctor Bartolo, Andrea Silvestrelli as Don Basilio, and Catherine Cook, Edward Nelson, and Efrain Solis as Berta, Fiorello, and Ambrogio.  Giuseppe Finzi conducts.  

We begin a series from the San Francisco Opera on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/28 3:00 p.m.) with Umberto Giordano’s love story set during the French Revolution based loosely on the life of its title character, the poet Andrea Chenier.  The production features Yonghoon Lee as Chenier and Anna Pirozzi as his love, Maddalena.  The remainder of the cast includes George Gagnidze, Joel Sorenson, Robert Pomakov, Catherine Cook, Jill Grove, and David Pershall with Nicola Luisotti conducting.  

We’ll be going “down to the sea in ships” on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/21 3:00 p.m.) with an encore production of Jake Heggie’s version of “Moby Dick.”  Jay Hunter Morris leads the cast as Captain Ahab, and he’s joined by Joshua Guerrero as the Greenhorn (Ishmael), Morgan Smith as Starbuck, Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg, and Jacqueline Ehols as Pip.  The performance features James Conlon leading the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra.  

Viva VERDI – viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia (long live Victor Emanuel King of Italy) – a patriotic slogan used to promote national unification, at a time when the Italian peninsula was divided into separate states.  This program’s focus will be on musical unification, collaborative efforts featuring prominent Italian composers – including Antonio Vivaldi (in the serenata “Andromeda Liberata”) and Verdi himself (one of 13 composers to participate in the “Messa per Rossini”).  Give your undivided attention.  It’s Italian unification in music, this Sunday at 10 pm.

A trickster and a vengeful husband are featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/14 3:00 p.m.) in Giacomo Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” from his collection “Il Trittico” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Paglicacci” from Los Angeles Opera On Air.  The afternoon begins with Placido Domingo as the scheming Schicchi who tricks the bickering Donato family out of part of their inheritance by pretending to be their dead relative, Buoso, and writing the will Buoso left unfinished.  Joining Domingo are Andriana Chuchman as Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta, who sings the much loved aria “O mio babbino caro,” her beloved Rinuccio is Arturo Chacon-Cruz, and Meredith Arwady as the imperious Zita.  

For this week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys , the Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler presents a program of piano etudes.

“Yes, I know, we recently did an all-etudes program, I confess,” says Jed. “But the genre is so vast, so diverse and so interesting that one program cannot do it justice. Nor two or three for that matter.”

A recurring theme in opera deals with forbidden love that leads to a tragic ending, and this week’s Sunday Opera (10/7 3:00 P.M.) is a version of that in Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” from LA Opera On Air.  Angela Meade stars as the titular Druid princess who falls in love and secretly has children with the Roman proconsul Pollione (Russell Thomas) against the laws set forth by her father, Oroveso (Morris Robinson).  

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