Out There :: Stars of the Future Dazzle Today

  • by Roberto Friedman
  • Saturday December 19, 2015
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Classically trained voices in full flight can really captivate an audience. Out There was in the captivated house last Saturday night as the San Francisco Opera Center presented "The Future Is Now: 2015 Adler Fellows Gala Concert" in San Francisco's newly renovated Herbst Theatre.

The concert showcased the acclaimed Adler Fellows from SFOC's prestigious young artist training program in a gala concert of opera scenes and arias with Stephen Lord, music director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra .

SFOC director Sheri Greenawald introduced the program featuring sopranos Julie Adams , Jacqueline Piccolino and Maria Valdes; mezzo-sopranos Zanda Svede and Nian Wang; tenor Chong Wang; baritones Edward Nelson and Efrain Solis; bass-baritone Matthew Stump; bass Anthony Reed ; and pianists-apprentice coaches Ronny Michael Greenberg and Noah Lindquist . Named for former San Francisco Opera General Director Kurt Herbert Adler , Adler Fellowships offer advanced young artists intensive training, coaching, professional seminars and performance opportunities. Adler Fellows, selected from artists who have participated in the Merola Opera Program, perform supporting roles in SFO productions. The program has nurtured the development of more than 150 young artists since its inception, including such international stars as sopranos Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson and Deborah Voigt , among many others.

The entire program scintillated, including such highlights (to OT's ears) as Stump as Argante in George Frideric Handel 's Rinaldo; Svede as Polina in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Pikovaya Dama (The Queen of Spades); Solis as Figaro in Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville ); Adams as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's La Forza del Destino; Nelson as Fritz in Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die Tote Stadt (The Dead City); Reed as Michel in Ambroise Thomas' Le Caid; and Adams and Nelson as Tatiana and Onegin in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. But really, the entire program was a delight, and the full house at Herbst thundered with deserved ovations. Onward to stardom with these heavenly voices!

Brother Spirit

Last week we told you about our annual viewing of the stop-motion animation Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This week we went to a screening of works by the stop-motion animation auteurs Stephen and Timothy Quay at the Roxie Theater. Like Rudolph, the Quays' films are meticulously detailed and full of fanciful visions. Unlike Rudolph, they are not in the least bit heart-warming.

The dark, mysterious dream-worlds of the Brothers Quay suppurate on the screen like the mutant spawn of Franz Kafka and E.T.A. Hoffmann. The American identical twins, working in London, create elaborate miniature sets populated by eerie monstrous puppets. Their ooky-spooky short films play out like elaborations of private nightmares. The three Quay works on the Roxie program, curated by director and Quay acolyte Christopher Nolan , featured the hidden life of broken pencils and lead shavings (In Absentia); the demon will of a porcelain doll (The Comb); and the nightmarish netherworld that comes to life in Street of Crocodiles. Filling out the program, Nolan's new short film Quay takes us inside the brothers' warren-like studio. Not for the faint-hearted or the philistine.

East Side Story

The Oakland-East Bay Gay Men's Chorus will offer its holiday concert series A World of Wonder under the direction of guest conductor William Sauerland . Formerly with the renowned vocal ensemble Chanticleer , SF-based countertenor and educator Sauerland is currently the artistic and music director of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. The concerts take place on Sat., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m., and Sun., Dec. 20, 4 p.m., at the Odell Johnson Theater, Laney College, 900 Fallon St., Oakland. That's just across the street from the Lake Merritt BART station. Tickets: 1 (800) 706-2389 or oebgmc.org/tickets.

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