Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cal Performances 2010/11 Season

PhotobucketThis morning Matías Tarnopolsky, Director of Cal Performances, announced the up-coming 2010/11 season. Press conference attendees were seated on the stage of Zellerbach Hall, looking out into the auditorium, perhaps to remind us of the audiences the organization serves. Mr. Tarnopolsky began by threatening to read the press release in Anglo Saxon, in a nod to Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf recital in October. Instead Mr. Tarnopolsky kept our attention with a pithy season overview, & he was almost apologetic to be running out of superlatives to describe the performances. His talk was interspersed with video clips of on-site interviews with some of the artists. We also learned that students make up only 7% of audiences, a figure Mr. Tarnopolsky would like to double.

Highlights include major residencies by the Vienna Philharmonic, Castleton Opera Festival & the Ojai Music Festival. The Vienna Phil, led by Semyon Bychkov, will present 3 substantial programs, ending with a Mahler 6. Lorin Maazel's Castleton Opera will present Benjamin Britten's chamber operas The Rape of Lucretia & Albert Herring. The Ojai North! series will feature soprano Dawn Upshaw in a new collaboration with Peter Sellars. The chamber recitals often feature old & new works in the same program, such as Jeremy Denk's scary marathon recital of the Ligeti Etudes, Books 1 and 2, & the Bach Goldberg Variations. They may have to carry him off the stage afterward, & perhaps me from the auditorium as well.

I'm also looking forward to Gidon Kremer & the Kremerata Baltica program of Beethoven and modern composers, including Pärt, Šerkšnytė, Nyman, Auerbach and Pelecis. Alex Ross will be giving a talk on "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues: Bass Lines of Music History" from his new book, which I expect to be reading by then. Singers appearing in recital include Bryn Terfel, Jonas Kaufmann, Jessica Rivera & Ian Bostridge. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff plays the complete Bach Sonatas & Partitas, since, as Mr. Tarnopolsky said, there can never be enough Bach in a season. Robert Lepage will appear on stage in a very strange-sounding show that combines the story of an 18th century cross-dressing spy with kabuki. Details of the season will be published on the new Cal Performances Web site, which goes live at precisely 12:01am tonight.

The Opera Tattler was among the journalists in attendance, & her green headpiece attracted a fair amount of attention. She has already posted a condensed season schedule. On my way out I also met the whistling voice of Woodstock when he is singing Puccini.


The Opera Tattler said...

Sakes alive, Herr Feldheim, you truly did a better job than I at taking notes. Also, fine work tattling on me once again. Someone has to keep me in line.

Axel Feldheim said...

That is high praise indeed, coming from you! I really was impressed by Mr. Tarnopolsky's presentation skills. He even managed to keep complaints about the challenging economic climate to a minimum.

I have decided that you are fair game for tattling these days, & I hope to have more opportunities in the future.

y2k said...

How large is the Zellerbach Hall? I'm seriously considering catching Jonas Kaufmann recital in March. Prices are $40/$56/$70/$86/$100 How are the seats/acoustics in the lower price categories? Looks like single ticket goes on sale August 15; isn't that the same day as the Met? I may have to keep a couple of windows open/active. Yikes!

P.S. You SF folks get a much better selection compared to our Celebrity Series of Boston

Axel Feldheim said...

Zellerbach is fairly large, close to 2000 seats maybe? It's also rather cavernous. I don't have a lot of experience sitting in different places. I sat in the mezzanine for a dance performance that had a baroque orchestra & singers in the pit, & the sound was OK. I have a dislike of being seated under an overhang, so I would prefer seats high up rather than in the back of the orchestra. I think that the audiences at Zellerbach are unusually restless, & I sometimes find them more distracting than any deficiencies in the acoustic.

How inconsiderate of The Met & Cal Performances to schedule start of their of ticketing on the same day. I am jealous of Kissin's appearance in Boston.

The other programs include Schubert Symphony #2, Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan, Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin, Schumann #2 & Brahms 2. Wow! It was quite a coup to get Vienna Phil & Bychkov here. Mr. Tarnopolsky said he was going to treat them to a tour of wine country to make sure they are in a good mood.

y2k said...

Thanks, Axel Feldheim. I too dislike sitting below the overhang.

Since there is the time zone difference, perhaps August 15 won't be as bad as I think.

I'm most disappointed by the visiting orchestras in the 10/11 Celebrity Series of Boston. In 08/09 we had Mariss Jansons w/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. 09/10 we had Simon Rattle/BPO and Riccardo Chailly w/Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

Perhaps it has something to do with the economy, funding and ticket sales; as orchestras are probably the most expensive to book.

Axel Feldheim said...

I guess the Boston series does look deficient in symphonic offerings. However, it amazes me that full-size orchestras, along with their instruments, can tour at all these days!

Yes, there is that time difference to help you book tickets. Good luck! I imagine you poised at your computer like a broker at his Bloomberg terminal on that day.