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Fall 2005 Arts Guide:
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Melting Pot: Opera San José heats up the fall season with its production of Robert Ward's 'The Crucible,' based on Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trails. 'The Crucible' runs Sept. 10-25 at the California Theatre.

Class Acts

The symphony, ballet and opera take center stage for the fall

By Scott MacClelland

THE RICH VARIETY of fine classical music, opera and dance in Silicon Valley is well documented in what follows. In fact, the sheer quantity of excellent performance events gives the lie to those who predict that these arts are on their last legs.

Meanwhile, the critical spirit always expects the best, even while those expectations are tempered according to the resources each producer or presenter possesses. It is no secret that a spirited youth orchestra will sometimes deliver a more exciting and memorable performance than a polished professional ensemble playing a familiar warhorse.

Listed below are the best and most professional presenters, productions and artists—each with their own particular strengths—to be seen and heard this fall.

A couple of focal points for the 2005-06 seasons are worth highlighting. Henry Mollicone—favorite son, acclaimed opera composer and founder/conductor of the Winchester Orchestra—will get feted next spring during his "three-score" birthday.

To pave the way for this signal event, the California Chamber Opera is staging the newly revised version of his 1981 opera, Emperor Norton, at Le Petit Trianon, Sept. 9 and 11. In 2006, the Santa Cruz Symphony will play a piece from his opera Coyote Tales (Mar. 18-19). His new Beatitude Mass will be premiered by the San Jose Symphonic Choir at St. Joseph Cathedral, March 31 and April 1. And the San Jose Chamber Orchestra is throwing a Mollicone birthday party on April 9.

Worldwide, the season will also mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart. Among local celebrations, the San Jose Chamber Orchestra nails the exact date: Jan. 29. Symphony Silicon Valley has called on "Mozart enthusiast" George Cleve to conduct programs heavy with Mozart in December and January, and an all-Mozart bill in March. Opera San José starts a run of Don Giovanni in late April, and the Mission Chamber Orchestra includes a Mozart concerto in November.

Ballet San Jose

The season opens with Dennis Nahat's new production of Stravinsky's Firebird and a revival of Flemming Flindt's Phaedra with the Philip Glass orchestral score. Daryl Gray's new Cinema Soundtracks uses familiar movie music arranged by Bill Duncan, plus Nahat's Grand Pas de Dix to music of Glazunov for the second program. Nahat's popular Nutcracker holds sway in the second half of December.

Opera San Jose

The opera's second season at its sumptuously restored new home in the California Theatre opens with Robert Ward's The Crucible, based on the Pulitzer-winning play by Arthur Miller. Ward will be on hand for opening night. Verdi's A Masked Ball takes the stage in late November. For 2006, pay special attention to Puccini's beloved La Bohème, which offers a chance to see the source material for the movie musical Rent, which opens at Christmas. Many of the company's top singers from last season are returning. Also, the company is hosting a reception for Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey following their joint recital on April 4.

Symphony Silicon Valley

Conductor Patrick Flynn returns to open the season with Bernstein's On the Waterfront and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Composer performer David Amram will join orchestra soloists for his Triple Concerto in a program conducted by Paul Polivnik and Dennis Wilson for the second weekend set of the fall. George Cleve will conduct Mozart on the next three programs, including the Prague Symphony on Dec. 10 and 11, the Piano Concerto no. 22 with Stephen Prutsman on Jan. 21-22 and the Requiem on March 18-19.

Villa Montalvo

Classical events at Villa Montalvo's intimate Carriage House start Sept. 15 with the Ahn Trio. On Nov. 6, pianist Peter Serkin appears, followed by the Orion String Quartet, Nov. 13, and Festival of Four, Nov. 18. Robert Greenburg's four-part classical lecture series begins Feb. 5. In special performances at San Jose's California Theatre, opera stars Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey appear together April 4, and baritone Thomas Hampson joins the Library of Congress' "Song of America" tour on June 3.

San Jose Chamber Orchestra

Barbara Day Turner continues her adventure with Grazyna Bacewicz's Concerto for Strings and Brent Heisinger's EKTA for the orchestra's first concert of the season. Works by Mozart will be heard on the 250th anniversary of his birth on Jan. 29. Turner celebrates composer (and pianist) Henry Mollicone, with singers and instrumentalists on April 9.

Mission Chamber Orchestra

Conductor Emily Ray is joined by violinist Pip Clarke to open the orchestra's 10th season with Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D. Helene Wickett plays Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 9, on Nov. 5, plus works by Ibert and Avshalomov.

Steinway Society

The society hosts solo piano recitals by Enrique Graf, Oct. 9; 2001 Van Cliburn gold medallist Olga Kern, Oct. 29; Natasha Peremski, Jan. 7; Stephen Swedish, Feb. 12; the 2005 VC-gold medalist Alexander Kobrin, Mar. 26; and Frederic Chiu, May 14.

San Francisco Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas opens the symphony's Flint season on Sept. 10 with an all-Russian program that features Alban Gerhardt as soloist in Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto. Herbert Blomstedt conducts Bruckner's Third Symphony and Grieg's Piano Concerto, with pianist Lars Vogt, Oct. 14. Oliver Knussen conducts Britten, Stravinsky and one of his own works on Nov. 4, with pianist Peter Serkin. On Nov. 25, Harry Christopher will lead Handel's Messiah, and the annual Christmas Spectacular will be conducted by Vance George on Dec. 18.

Peninsula Symphony

Now in its 57th season, Mitchell Sardou Klein's Peninsula Symphony plays three concerts at Flint Center, opening Oct. 22 with Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, featuring Jon Nakamatsu, and Mahler's First Symphony. In 2006, guitarist Angel Romero is scheduled to play Celedonio Romero's Concierto de Malaga (Jan. 21).

Music

California Youth Symphony
Various locations; $6-$12; 650.325.6666

    Works by Strauss, Liszt and Holst, with solo pianist Bethany Wang—Nov. 13 at 2:30pm at Flint and Nov. 20 at 2:30pm at San Mateo Performing Arts Center
    Holiday Concert—Dec. 11 at Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, Los Altos

California Chamber Opera
Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; $20-$25; 888.88.OPERA
    Emperor Norton, an opera in one act by Henry Mollicone, and Phantom of the Opera Part II, Revenge of the Divas—Sept. 9 at 7:30pm and Sept. 11 at 7:30pm

Cantabile Choral Guild
Directed by Sanford Dole; First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto; Saturdays at 8pm; 650.424.1418
    Double Visions, works for double chorus—Nov. 19
    2006 Highlight: Mass Transit, a variety of mass settings from Renaissance to modern times—March 18

Chanticleer
All-male chorus performs throughout Bay Area; see www.chanticleer.org for details.
    EarthSongs, a concert pairing poems with choral works—Sept. 24 at 8pm at Mission Santa Clara
    A Chanticleer Christmas—Dec. 22 at 6 and 8;30pm at Santa Clara Mission
    2006 Highlight: Earthquake Mass, a rare Renaissance mass performed to commemorate the 1906 quake— March 25 at Mission Santa Clara

Los Gatos Community Concert Association
Los Gatos United Methodist Church; subscriptions $10-$50; 408.377.1106
    Montana Mandolin Society—Sept. 25 at 2:30pm
    2006 Highlight: Trio Jubile—Jan. 22

Mission Chamber Orchestra
Directed by Emily Ray; Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; Saturdays at 8pm; $17-$20; 408.293.6060
    MCO 10th Anniversary, with auction, performance and guest appearance by composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen— Sept. 10 at 6pm at Ascension Church, Prospect and Miller, Saratoga
    Evening of Enchantment, with violinist Pop Clarke—Sept. 24
    Mozart and the Classics, with pianist Helene Wickett—Nov. 5
    2006 Highlight: Night Moods, with pianist Daniel Glover—Feb. 4

Montalvo Arts Center
Classical concerts at the Carriage House, Saratoga; around $25-$50; 408.961.5858
    The Ahn Trio—Sept. 15 at 7:30pm
    Peter Serkin—Nov. 6 at 2pm
    Orion String Quartet—Nov. 13 at 2pm
    Festival of Four—Nov. 18 at 8pm

New Music Works
Cutting-edge classical; Santa Cruz; 831.425.3526
    Sound Horizons VII, a salon and competition for student composers, plus a performance by the New Music Works Ensemble—Oct. 9 at 7pm at Kuumbwa, $8/$10
    2006 Highlight: Night of the Living Composers, concert and CD-release party—Jan. 13 at 8pm at UCSC Music Center Recital Hall

Nova Vista Symphony
Directed by Nuvi Mehta; Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, Los Altos; Saturdays at 8pm: $8-$15; 408.530.0700
    Works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Borodin and Prokofiev—Oct. 1
    Works by Sarasate and Berlioz, with guest violinist Jennifer Wei—Dec. 17

Palo Alto Philharmonic
Directed by newly appointed Ann Krinitsky; Cubberley Theatre or Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto; $5-$16; 650.857.0737
    Symphony concert with selections by Rossini, Haydn and Rimsky-Korsakov— Oct. 23 at 3pm at Cubberley
    Chamber music concert—Nov. 5 at 8pm at Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium
    Symphony concert, selections by Gandolfi, Chopin and Debussy, with soloist Akimi Fukuhara—Dec. 3 at 8pm at Cubberley

Peninsula Symphony
Directed by Mitchell Sardou Klein; various venues; $27-$32; 650.941.5291
    Titans, with pianist Jon Nakamatsu—Oct. 21 at 8pm at San Mateo Performing Arts Center and Oct. 22 at 8pm at Flint Center
    Swing Fever, an evening of food and big-band music—Nov. 12, 6-11pm, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Foster City.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Directed by Nicholas McGegan; First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto; $28-$62; 415.252.1288
    Atalanta, a concert version of Handel choral work—Sept. 17 at 7:30pm
    Musica de La Noche, works by Boccherini and Arriaga—Oct. 21 at 8pm
    Vivaldi Virtuosi—Nov. 4 at 8pm
    Mozart's Messiah—Dec. 9 at 7:30pm

Redwood Symphony
Directed by Eric Kujawsky; Bayside Performing Arts Center, San Mateo; Sundays at 3pm (with lectures at 2pm); $10-$20; 650.366.6872
    Birthday Bash, with works by Stravinsky, Danny Elfman (West Coast premiere of 'Serenada Schizophrana'), Rodrigo and Bernstein—Oct. 2
    Adventure and Asylum, with works by Glinka, Adés and Brahms, with conductor Turner Link and pianist Julia Greer—Nov. 20

San Francisco Early Music Society
Period music on period instruments. First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto; Fridays at 8pm; $22-$25; 510.528.1725
    Galanterie performs the lute concertos of Karl Kobaut—Sept. 16
    Wildcat Viols perform early English songs—Nov. 4
    Ensemble Caprice plays Baroque chamber music from the court of Stuttgart—Nov. 11
    El Munco performs seasons music from Italy, Spain and Latin America—Dec. 16

San Francisco Symphony
The orchestra brings a selection of concerts to the South Bay at Flint Center, Cupertino; $29-$55; 415.864.6000
    Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky—Sept. 10 at 8pm
    Herbert Blomstedt conducts Grieg and Bruckner (Symphony no. 3) with pianist Lars Vogt—Oct. 14 at 8pm
    Peter Serkin plays Stravinksy—Nov. 4
    Handel's Messiah—Nov. 25
    A choral Christmas concert with conductor Vance George—Dec. 18 at 2pm

San Jose Chamber Music Society
The group hosts Sunday concerts by visiting ensembles and guest artists. Concerts start at 7pm, with pre-show talks at 6:15pm; Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; $19-$34; 408.286.5111.
    The Peabody Trio—Sept. 23 at 8pm and Sept. 25 at 7pm
    The Vienna Piano Trio—Nov. 6
    The Cypress String Quartet, with baritone Christopheren Numura and composer Benjamin Lees (on the world premiere of Lees' Sixth Quartet)—Dec. 4

San Jose Chamber Orchestra
Directed by Barbara Day Turner. Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; $20-$40; 408.295.4416
    Opening Act, with Ashwin Batish on tabla, Joe Hodge on drumset, Brian Belet on jazz bass and David Ward-Steinman on piano—Oct. 23 at 7pm
    Winter's Gifts, with the Choral Project—Dec. 9 at Mission Santa Clara at 8pm
    2006 Highlight: Mostly Mollicone, dedicated to composer Henry Mollicone on his birthday—April 9 at 7pm

San Jose Symphonic Choir
Various venues; 408.897.9709
    Feast of Light—Dec. 10 at St. Joseph Cathedral, San Jose
    You-Sing-It Messiah—Dec. 12 at the California Theatre
    2006 Highlight: World premiere of Henry Mollicone's Beatitude Mass—March 31 and April 1 at St. Joseph Cathedral

Santa Cruz County Symphony
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Saturdays at 8pm; Henry J. Mello Center, Watsonville, Sundays at 2pm; $14-$45; 831.420.5260
    Works by Adams, Beethoven and Bartok, with pianist Anton Nel—Sept. 24-25
    Works by Schumann, Gliere, Tchaikovsky and Strauss, with Dan Levitan on harp—Nov. 12

Schola Cantorum
Directed by Gregory Waite; multiple venues; Saturday-Sunday 8pm; $18-$22; 650.254.1700
    Timeless Baroque Treasures—Oct. 22 at 8pm at First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, and Oct. 23 at 4pm at Los Gatos United Methodist Church
    Christmas Garland—Dec. 10 at 8pm First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, and Dec. 11 at 4pm at Los Gatos United Methodist Church

Steinway Society
A series devoted to pianists. Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; Sundays at 7pm (except as noted); $20-$45; 408.295.6500.
    Benefit concert with Jon Nakamatsu— Aug. 27 at 8pm
    Enrique Graf—Oct. 9
    Olga Kern—Oct. 29 at 8pm and Oct. 30 at 4pm
    Joe Augustine Piano Trio—Nov. 13

Symphony Silicon Valley
California Theatre, San Jose; Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2:30pm; $32/$52/$72; 408.286.2600
    A Midsummer Night's Dream on the Waterfront About Beethoven, conducted by Patrick Flynn—Oct. 1-2
    American Originals, with works by Amram, Ellington and Gershwin conducted by Paul Polivnick—Oct. 29-30
    Mozart Festival, conducted by George Cleve—Dec. 10-11
    2006 Highlight: Mozart Requiem, conducted by Cleve—March 18-19

Winchester Orchestra Of San Jose
Directed by Henry Mollicone; Trinity Cathedral, San Jose; Sundays at 7pm $5-$15; 408.269.1905
    Favorite Classics, with pianist Kanako Inagawa—Oct. 30
    Family Concert with Suite From Harry Potter, with pianist Eileen Chen—Dec. 11
    2006 Highlight: A Harp, a Saxophone and Ballet Shoes, including a world premiere by pianist Paul Davies— March 26

Opera

Opera San José California Theatre, San Jose; $65-$95; 408.437.4450

    The Crucible—Sept. 10-25
    A Masked Ball—Nov. 19-Dec. 4
    2006 Highlight: Don Giovanni— April 22-May 7

West Bay Opera
Lucie Stern Theater, Palo Alto; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm; $36-$46; 650.424.9999
    The Magic Flute—Oct. 14-16, 21-23

Dance

Margaret Wingrove
The Stage, San Jose; 408.993.9233

    Two world for season opener—Jan. 5-8

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts; 408.288.2800
    Phaedra, by Flemming Flindt; Firebird, by Dennis Nahat—Oct. 6-9
    Grand Pas de Dix by Nahat; Cinema Soundtracks by Daryl Gray—Nov. 17-20
    The Nutcracker—Dec. 15-24

San Francisco Ballet
The full season begins in 2006; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; 415.865.2000.
    Nutcracker—Dec. 2-29
    2006 Highlight: An all-Jerome Robbins program—March 7-12

Smuin Ballet
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View; $18-$60; 650.903.600
    The Christmas Ballet, 2005 Edition— Nov. 30-Dec. 4

Venue Finder

Bayside Performing Arts Center 2025 Kehoe Ave., San Mateo
Bus Barn Theatre 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos
California Theatre 345 S. First St., San Jose
City Lights 529 S. Second St., San Jose
Cubberley Theatre 4000 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto
First United Methodist Church 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto
Flint Center 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino
Foothill College Smithwick Theatre 12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills
Hartnell Performing Arts Center 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas
Hillbarn Theatre 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City
Historica Hoover Theatre 1635 Park Ave., San Jose
Joint Venture Churches 6581 Camden Ave., San Jose
Le Petit Trianon 72 N. Fifth St., San Jose
Los Gatos Methodist Church 111 Church St., Los Gatos
Lucie Stern Theater 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto
MACLA Castellano Playhouse, 510 S. First St., San Jose
Martin Luther King Jr. Library 150 San Fernando St., San Jose
Mexican Heritage Plaza 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose
Montalvo Arts Center 15400 Montalvo Rd., Saratoga
Montgomery Theater Market and San Carlos streets, San Jose
Morgan Hill Community Playhouse 17090 Monterey St., Morgan Hill
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts 500 Castro St., Mountain View
Olinder Theatre 848 E. William St., San Jose
Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium 1313 Newell Rd., Palo Alto
Pear Avenue Theater 1220 Pear Ave., Mountain View
The Rep 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose
San Mateo Performing Arts Center 600 N. Delaware Ave., San Mateo
Santa Clara University Louis B. Mayer Theatre Mission Church and Fess Parker Studio Theatre 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
Saratoga Civic Theater 13777 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga
The Stage 490 S. First St., San Jose
Sunnyvale Community Center Theatre 550 Remington Dr., Sunnyvale
West Valley College 14000 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga


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From the August 24-30, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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