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S.O.B.

Metroactive's Selective Guide to the Best in Bay Area Symphony, Opera and Ballet
Santa Clara Valley | East Bay | San Francisco

By Philip Collins


Santa Clara Valley

Emily Ray
Conductor Emily Ray leads the Nova Vista Symphony January 19 at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

Nova Vista Symphony
January 19
Under the direction of Emily Ray, Nova Vista Symphony continues to explore the less-traveled roads of orchestral repertoire in its first program of 1997. Concerto for Horn and Orchestra by 20th-century composer Kurt Atterberg of Sweden, Tchaikovsky's Suite from Swan Lake and Bernstein's Overture to Candide promise adventurous listening and challenging work for this industrious community enterprise. Hornist Bruce Luttrell, a 10-year veteran of Nova Vista Symphony, will be the featured soloist in the Atterberg. Luttrell has performed with a number of Bay Area orchestras and soloed with Lake Highlands Symphony Orchestra in Texas.


January 19; 2:30pm; Robert C. Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills; 408/245-3116.


Lily Afshar
Classical guitarist Lily Afshar performs January 24 at Le Petit Trianon in San Jose.


Lily Afshar
January 24
As we approach the millennium, the guitar holds a prominent lead as the late 20th century's instrument of choice. Guitar virtuosi hail from disparate points on the globe these days, although Lily Afshar of Tehran is the first Mid-Easterner to attain world-wide acclaim on the instrument. With a highly regarded recording of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 25 Caprichos de Goya and several international awards under her belt, Afshar's reputation is peaking rapidly. The South Bay Guitar Society hosts Afshar for a rare Bay Area appearance with a program that includes Spanish Dance No. 5 by Granados, Omar's Fancy by Bogdanovic, two pieces from 24 Caprichos de Goya, Britten's Nocturnal and other works.


January 24; 8pm; Le Petit Trianon, 72 N. Fifth St., San Jose; $10; 408/292-0704.


New Century Chamber Orchestra
January 24
This superb string ensemble barely took time off for the holidays since presenting its season opener with Frederica von Stade in mid-December. For its first concert of 1997, the conductorless ensemble offers up Rossini's brisk, melodious String Sonata No. 4 in B, Alberto Williams' Primera Suite Argentina Para Instrumentos de Arco, Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and the rarely performed Sinfonietta for Strings by Academy Award-winning film composer Bernard Herrmann. The orchestra has enjoyed a 100 percent increase in subscription sales for the 1996-97 season, and anyone who has heard them would surely understand why. No matter where one lives in the greater Bay Area, this expert unit plays within earshot.


January 24; 8pm; Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Castro and Mercy streets, Mountain View; $10/$22; 415/903-6000.


Master Sinfonia
Music Director David Ramadanoff's programming for the Master Sinfonia, the resident orchestra for Foothill College and College of Notre Dame, is challenging enough to make most professional orchestras sweat, and the caliber of their playing is always up to the task. The third concert of the ensemble's 1996-97 season offers a handsome pairing of 19th- and 20th-century vantages, with Respighi's Trittico Botticelliano for Chamber Orchestra and Mendelssohn's too-seldom-encountered Symphony No. 3 in A minor (Scottish)."The program also features the yet-to-be-announced winner of the College of Notre Dame Concerto Competition.


January 25; 3pm; Foothill College Main Theater, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills; call 415/573-1366 for ticket information. Also January 24; 8pm., College of Notre Dame theater.


Tosca
High romance, political intrigue and seductive melodies make Tosca one of the richest finds in operatic literature. Puccini's entrancing adaptation of Sardou's drama about a coquettish ingenue's transformation into a martyr provides utmost occasion for romantic musical bliss of the like that this composer is famous for. Madeline Abel-Kerns and Dawn Jensen Farry alternate nightly in the title role, as do William Gorton and Frederick Winthrop as the unduly persecuted Cavaradossi. Composer Henry Mollicone, faculty member at Santa Clara University, conducts, with stage direction by David F. Ostwald.


February 14-16, 21-23; Friday-Saturday at 8:15pm; Sunday at 2pm; Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; $30; 415/924-9999.



East Bay

Budapest Festival Orchestra
It should hardly come as a surprise that the Budapest Festival Orchestra would have a little Bartók (Transylvanian Dances and Romanian Folk Dances) up its sleeve for its U.S. tour. Actually, Béla Bartók--once the enfant terrible of Hungary--has become standard fare for symphony orchestras everywhere. The general public is finally catching up to his hot-rod rhythms and spicy dissonances--aspects that kept him on probation with the mainstream for the better part of this century. Also in store are Mendelssohn's very, very familiar Violin Concerto in E minor (with Robert McDuffie as soloist) and Brahms' unfailing Symphony No. 1 in the leadoff position. Ivan Fischer conducts.


January 24; 8pm; $14-$26; 510/642-9988.


New Century Chamber Orchestra
The New Century Chamber Orchestra gets busy across the Bay Area with Rossini's String Sonata No. 4 in B, Alberto Williams' Primera Suite Argentina Para Instrumentos de Arco, Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and a rare string thing by film composer Bernard Herrmann.


New Century Chamber Orchestra
January 25
This superb string ensemble barely took time off for the holidays since presenting its season opener with Frederica von Stade in mid-December. For its first concert of 1997, the conductorless ensemble offers up Rossini's brisk, melodious String Sonata No. 4 in B, Alberto Williams' Primera Suite Argentina Para Instrumentos de Arco, Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and the rarely performed Sinfonietta for Strings by Academy Award-winning film composer Bernard Herrmann. The orchestra has enjoyed a 100 percent increase in subscription sales for the 1996-97 season, and anyone who has heard them would surely understand why. No matter where one lives in the greater Bay Area, this expert unit plays within earshot.


January 25; 8pm; St. John's Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., Berkeley; 415/393-4400.


Cowell and His Legacy
There are unsung heroes in every profession, but in music, the term takes on a literal meaning, which in the case of the late composer Henry Cowell (1897-1965) is regrettably accurate. This gifted composer, teacher and overall visionary provided inspiring mentorships for John Cage and Lou Harrison, brought the study of world music to the fore as early as 1930 and invented countless avant-garde techniques during the first decades of this century that to this day are still considered "cutting edge." Cal Performances presents a well-deserved three-day tribute, including numerous piano works of the composer, along with scores by those he influenced and taught. The lineup of pianists is staggering, a long list of the Bay Area's best, including Julie Steinberg, Sarah Cahill, Gene Tyranny and Karen Rosenak.


January 31-February 1 at 8pm; February 2 at 3pm; Hertz Hall, UC-Berkeley, Bancroft Way and College Ave.; $16; 510/642-9988.



San Francisco

New Century Chamber Orchestra
January 27
This superb string ensemble barely took time off for the holidays since presenting its season opener with Frederica von Stade in mid-December. For its first concert of 1997, the conductorless ensemble offers up Rossini's melodious String Sonata No. 4 in B, Alberto Williams' Primera Suite Argentina Para Instrumentos de Arco, Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and the rarely performed Sinfonietta for Strings by Academy Award-winning film composer Bernard Herrmann. The orchestra has enjoyed a 100 percent increase in subscription sales for the 1996-97 season, and anyone who has heard them would surely understand why. No matter where one lives in the greater Bay Area, this expert unit plays within earshot.


January 27; 8pm; Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; 415/392-4400.



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