Calendar: July 31–August 6, 2017

Friday, August 4

American Bach Soloists Festival, Jeffrey Thomas, Artistic Director
Opening Night: Water Music By Handel & Telemann. This year marks the 300th anniversary of the legendary performance of George Frideric Handel’s world famous Water Music that was performed for King George I during an evening on the River Thames. Wanting to impress his close aristocratic friends and all of London at the same time, the King and his party boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace destined for Chelsea, where dinner would be served. According to the first British newspaper (The Daily Courant), “the whole River in a manner was covered” with boats and barges of onlookers and those seeking an extraordinary (and free!) outdoor concert. The music was an instant hit and is now among the most recognizable music of the Baroque era. Paired with Handel’s music for a river is Telemann’s music about a river, in this case the Elbe as it flows through the city of Hamburg. “Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth” (“Hamburg’s Ebb and Flood”) paints nautical scenes of mythological deities—Thetis, Neptune, Naiads, Triton, Aeolus, and Zephir—culminating with a joyful movement about sailors (“Die lustigen Boots Leute” or “The merry Boat People”).

8 PM
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell (at Gough), San Francisco
$33–$85
Tickets online or 415-621-7900


Saturday, August 5

American Bach Soloists Festival, Jeffrey Thomas, Artistic Director
Free Public Colloquium: “Music’s ‘Fairest Isle’—Voices, Viols, & Visitors” Begun in the first year of the ABS Academy, Public Colloquia have provided opportunities for community audience members and performers to join ABS Academy participants and their faculty in an afternoon of inquiry, ideas, and broad perspectives on each Festival’s theme. This year’s colloquium will offer discussions about the cultural history of London in the Baroque era, the talented parade of performers and composers who traveled from abroad to participate in the city’s lively musical activities, and some of the musical forms and instruments that helped to define the nature of the English Baroque idiom.

2 PM
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak St., San Francisco
Free
415-621-7900

American Bach Soloists Festival, Jeffrey Thomas, Artistic Director
“Orpheus in Britannia” The ABS Summer Festival runs concurrently with the ABS Academy, a prestigious training program that features one of the most distinguished faculty of early music performers to be found anywhere. Each musician, highly celebrated worldwide, is a renowned artist, expert in the performance traditions of baroque music. This program, designed specifically to spotlight their gifts as powerful and dramatic performers, takes its name from the legendary ancient Greek hero who was endowed with superhuman musical skills that could move all living things, charm wild beasts, and even coax rocks and trees into movement. Selections by the greatest composers of the English Baroque—including Purcell, Jenkins, and Handel, among others—will present the unique artistry of the Academy Faculty in an enthralling showcase. Featuring Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin & viola; Max van Egmond, baritone; Corey Jamason, harpsichord; Steven Lehning, violone & contrabass; Judith Malafronte, contralto; Robert Mealy, violin & viola; Sandra Miller, flute; Debra Nagy, oboe & recorder; William Sharp, baritone; William Skeen, violoncello & viola da gamba; Kenneth Slowik, violoncello & viola da gamba; and Dominic Teresi, bassoon.

8 PM
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell (at Gough), San Francisco
$33–$95
Tickets online or 415-621-7900

West Edge Opera
The Chastity Tree (L’arbore di Diana) by Vicente Martin y Soler. If you know Vicente Martin y Soler at all, chances are good it’s from a tossed off quotation in Don Giovanni, but in their day, both Mozart and Martin y Soler enjoyed equal renown in Vienna. Both set the brilliant words of da Ponte, who rated The Chastity Tree the Spaniard’s best work. A smash hit in 1787, The Chastity Tree is a tale of purity, politics on Mount Olympus, and one unusually judgmental plant. True to fashion, West Edge unearths a hidden gem in a startling new production, which features soprano Christine Brandes and Nikki Einfeld, as well as Barihunk Malte Roesner, who makes his North American debut as Doristo.

3 PM
Pacific Pipe Oakland
1391 W. Grand Ave., Oakland
$96/$57
Tickets online or 510-841-1903


Sunday, August 6

American Bach Soloists Festival, Jeffrey Thomas, Artistic Director
Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Jeffrey Thomas leads the ABS Festival Orchestra and American Bach Choir in performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor on each Festival Sunday. A beloved tradition, the annual performances of this pinnacle work of the repertory feature instrumental and vocal soloists from the ABS Academy.

7 PM
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell (at Gough), San Francisco
$33–$95
Tickets online or 415-621-7900

Continue reading next week’s calendar . . .