From San Francisco to the South Bay, the classical music scene is off to a thrilling start this month.
Two operas — the world premiere of San Francisco Opera’s Antony and Cleopatra and the new Marriage of Figaro at Opera San Jose — kick off the season with must-see performances. Also on the calendar are innovative programs by the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the San Jose Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony’s fall appearances at Berkeley.
Here are five recommended autumn spots.
World Class Couple: The San Francisco Opera kicks off its centenary season with the world premiere of “Antony and Cleopatra.” The highly anticipated new opera by Bay Area composer John Adams is based on Shakespeare’s plays and other classical sources. Elkanah Pulitzer will helm the production and set the epic power struggles of the ancient world in the glamor of 1930s Hollywood. Conducted by theatrical company music director Eun-sung Kim, the cast includes bass-baritone Gerald Finley and soprano Amina Edris in the lead roles of iconic lovers.
detail: September 10-October 5; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco. $26-$422; $25 for tickets to the September 18 live streaming matinee. www.sfopera.com.
a happy marriage”: Opera San Jose kicked off the season with The Marriage of Figaro, a new production of Mozart’s opera set in colonial India, featuring Maya Kehlani as Susanna, Efrain Solis as Figaro and Count Almaviva. It features Eugene Blancoveanu and an amazing cast including dancers. Silicon Valley-based Mosaic America is committed to giving Brad Dalton’s staging a colorful, kinetic Indian vibe. Conducted by Vishwa Subaraman.
detail: September 10-25. California Theater, San Jose. $55-$195; www.operasj.org.
Berlin Broadcast: The New Century Chamber Orchestra is in its 30th season of musical radio drama featuring songwriters’ work from the years leading up to World War 30. In “Berlin 1938: Broadcasts from a Vanishing Society”, music director and concertmaster Daniel Hope leads the ensemble, with three special guests (vocalists Thomas Hampson and Horst his Maria Mertz, pianist Peter Grunberg ) interweaves music with contemporary news.
detail: September 16-18. Presidio Theater, San Francisco. $30-$87.50; ncco.org.
“Sound the trumpet”: Symphony San Jose (formerly Symphony Silicon Valley) welcomes a new name and a new season with a concert featuring Norwegian trumpet soloist Tine Sing Herses joining conductor Andrés Cardenas and orchestra in Henri Tomasi’s Trumpet Concerto Start the season. The program also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture”, Ravel’s “The Grave of Couperin” and Robert Schumann’s “Symphony No. 3, Rhenish”.
detail: October 1st at 8:00 PM and October 2nd at 2:30 PM. California Theater, San Jose. $55-$115; symphonysanjose.org.
Chill and Thrill: Feel the spirit of Halloween as the San Francisco Symphony crosses the bay for a one-night-only appearance in Berkeley, presented by Cal Performances. The program kicks off with Mussorgsky’s grisly “Night on Bald Mountain” and features three eerie classics conducted by Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. Liszt’s Dance of Death, with pianist Bertrand Chamayu in orchestra, and Berlioz’s thrilling Symphonie Fantastique complete the line-up.
detail: October 21, 8:00 p.m. Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley. $35-$125; calperformances.org.