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A roundup of productions in the Bay Area this week

The St Lawrence String Quartet
The St Lawrence String Quartet
Photo: Eric Cheng

A slightly quieter week in the run-up to Easter, however there are still some fine productions on offer in the Bay Area.

Stanford Live presents a Good Friday Concert with the St Lawrence String Quartet, featuring Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, with readings by the Rev Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life at Stanford.

This seven-section work represents the seven short phrases traditionally attributed to Jesus during his crucifixion, as gathered from the four Christian Gospels. It was commissioned in either 1785 or 1786 for the Good Friday service at Cádiz Cathedral in Spain. Haydn adapted it for string quartet in 1787, as an oratorio in 1796, and approved a version for solo piano as well.

This free concert takes place in Stanford's Memorial Church at 5.00 pm on April 18. For further information, please visit the Stanford Live website.

Society Cabaret at Hotel Rex this weekend features Meg Mackay and Billy Philadelphia. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as the “First Couple of San Francisco Cabaret”, this husband-and-wife team have had rave reviews for their performances across the country, and each has also achieved considerable success as an individual performer.

Meg Mackay and Billy Philadelphia are in cabaret at Hotel Rex on April 18 and 19. Tickets can be bought at the door, by calling the Box Office at 415-857-1896, or online.

The Salon Series of intimate events at Hotel Rex are popular with those who have an interest in art, literature and music - to drop in for a drink, to dine or simply spend an evening in good company. For more information visit the hotel’s website.

Classical KDFC’s Live from the Met broadcast this Saturday features Richard Strauss’s elegant romance, Arabella. Starring Swedish soprano, Malin Byström, as the beautiful Arabella, this performance features Michael Volle in his Met debut as Arabella's wealthy suitor, Mandryka. Also making their Met debuts are German soprano, Juliane Banse as Arabella’s sister, Zdenka, and tenor Roberto Saccà as Matteo, the man for whom Zdenka longs.

In its first Company performance since 2001, Arabella will be performed in a revival of Otto Schenk’s 1983 production, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be led by French Maestro Philippe Auguin, one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation.

Bay Area listeners to Classical KDFC can hear this performance of Arabella in a live broadcast on Saturday, April 19, at 10.00 am. For tuning frequencies, or to listen online, visit www.kdfc.com.

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet presents the 2014 BFA Senior Showcase on Saturday afternoon, April 19. This grand finale to the four-year college course undertaken by these 11 BFA students is one of the last performances of their undergraduate career. Included in this performance - which also features second-year students from the LINES Ballet Training Program - are new contemporary ballets by Sandrine Cassini and Gregory Dawson, as well as FUR by Maurya Kerr and Uri Sands’ Onomatopoeia.

The performance takes place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 2.00 pm. Tickets are available through the YBCA Box Office, and may be purchased in person, online or over the phone at (415) 978 2787.

Opera San José brings its 30th Anniversary Season to an end with a production of Don Giovanni, Mozart’s two-act opera based on the legends of the fictional libertine and seducer, Don Juan. With Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, Don Giovanni is one of the most frequently operas performed worldwide.

The title role will be shared by resident baritones, Zachary Altman and Evan Brummer, and that of Donna Anna by resident sopranos, Cecilia Violetta López and Jennifer Forni. The role of Don Ottavio will be shared by resident tenors, James Callon and March Shreiner.

The performances - running from April 19 through May 4 - will be conducted by George Cleve - apart from those on April 26 and 27, when Assistant Conductor, Anthony Quartuccio, will take over. Maestro Cleve - founder and music director of the Bay Area’s Midsummer Mozart Festival - is known as one of the world’s most devoted interpreters of Mozart’s music.

Don Giovanni will be sung in Italian with English supertitles, and the eight performances take place at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San José Box Office, online or by phone at (408) 437 4450.

The San Francisco Playhouse production of Bauer ends its world premiere run on April 19, and if you’ve not yet seen it, you might still be able to get a ticket. Lauren Gunderson’s compelling drama is set in the latter part of the life of Rudolf Bauer, one of the most important exponents of ‘non-objective art’ of the 20th century. Bauer stars Ronald Guttman in the title role, with Stacy Ross as Hilla Rebay - Bauer’s former lover and curator at the Guggenheim Museum - and Susi Damilano as his wife, Louise. The production moves to New York in September, where it will have its Off Broadway debut at New York’s 59E59 Theatres.

San Francisco Opera presents The Gershwins'® Porgy and Bess℠ at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco on April 21. This high-definition screening is an encore performance of Francesca Zambello's 2009 production for San Francisco Opera, with John DeMain leading the San Francisco Opera and Chorus (Chorus Director, Ian Robertson). It has now been released as a part of the Company’s Grand Opera Cinema Series.

The title roles of Gershwin’s operatic masterpiece are sung by American bass-baritone Eric Owens, and soprano Laquita Mitchell, and the cast includes Lester Lynch as Crown, Chauncey Packer as Sportin’ Life, Angel Blue as Clara, Karen Slack as Serena, Alteouise deVaughn as Maria and Eric Greene as Jake.

Tickets are available via sundancecinemas.com and at the Sundance Kabuki Box Office (415) 346 3243.

Porgy and Bess has also been released on DVD/Blu-ray, as part of San Francisco Opera’s collaboration with EuroArts Music International. This release marks the first live recording of Porgy and Bess available on Blu-ray and the first new DVD release of the work in more than 20 years. Distributed worldwide by Naxos of America, the DVD/Blu-Ray releases are available from all major retailers, the San Francisco Opera Shop and the newly-launched San Francisco Opera Online Shop. The recording also features bonus material, including interviews with cast and creative team members.