Coming right up
by Roberto Friedman
Out There has advance word on four scintillating cultural events coming to venues near you this month.
1. San Francisco Ballet welcomes the Hamburg Ballet to the Opera House stage in Nijinsky, choreographer John Neumeier 's dance-theater epic based on the tumultuous life of dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (Feb. 13-17 & 19). Performed by the acclaimed Hamburgers for whom Neumeier serves as Artistic Director, Nijinsky sounds like pure catnip for dance-lovers. The ballet features scenery, lighting, and costumes by Neumeier, whose work includes the SF Ballet sensation The Little Mermaid. Info: www.sfballet.org.
2. Contemporary opera company Opera Parallele performs composer Osvaldo Golijov 's Ainadamar, inspired by the confrontation between poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the Fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War. Lorca lived a poetic, heroic gay life, and this opera seems right up Out There's alley. It's infused with the passion of flamenco: dancers, appearing as minor characters, have rehearsed with local flamenco legend La Tania . Should make for an interesting evening – it's unusual for dance to play such a large part in an opera.
Soprano Marnie Breckenridge heads the cast as Margarita Xirgu. Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez is featured as the poet and playwright Federico. Soprano Maya Kherani portrays Nuria, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus joins singers from the SFCM New Music Ensemble . Rounding out the cast are bass John Bischoff as Tripaldi, acclaimed gypsy flamenco singer Jesus Montoya as Ruiz Alonso, Andres Ramirez as the bullfighter, and Ryan Bradford as the teacher. Ainadamar plays Feb. 15, 16 & 17 at the YBCA Theater. Tickets ($35-$85): (415) 978-ARTS or ybca.org.
3. This month also brings the West Coast premiere of composer Ricky Ian Gordon's Green Sneakers, a 19-part song cycle for baritone Jesse Blumberg and string quartet Del Sol Quartet , about love, loss and finding solace. One of the only operas to deal with AIDS, it plays Tues., Feb. 19 (7 p.m. pre-concert lecture; 7:30 p.m. performance) at the Southside Theater, Bldg. D, Fort Mason, SF. Tickets at (415) 345-7575 or www.fortmason.org.
4. The 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair runs Feb. 15-17 at the Concourse Exhibition Center (635 8th St., SF). More than 220 booksellers from the U.S. and abroad will share their collections, including books, manuscripts, maps, incunabula, fine bindings, children's and illustrated books, ephemera and more.
This year's Book Fair has a special focus on Asian books and artifacts. An exhibit will offer Chinese, Japanese and Korean imprints, manuscripts, graphics and objects dating from the eighth century into the 20th from the rare book room of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, UC Berkeley. Three-day admission is available at www.cabookfair.com or at the door on Fri. for $25. Tickets online or at the door Sat. and Sun. are $15, and allow return admission. Fellow antiquarians, rejoice!