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Ballet, cabaret, opera and jazz still to come in the Bay Area this week

Smuin Ballet dancers Ben Needham-Wood and Erin Yarbrough in 'The Man I Love' a number from 'Dancin' With Gershwin'
Smuin Ballet dancers Ben Needham-Wood and Erin Yarbrough in 'The Man I Love' a number from 'Dancin' With Gershwin'
Photo: Keith Sutter

Smuin Ballet opens the final program of its 20th anniversary season in San Francisco this weekend. The XXcentric Spring Dance Series features two world premieres - Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (everything but the kitchen sink) by Val Caniparoli, and But now I must rest by Amy Seiwert. Also on the program is Michael Smuin’s classic, Dancin’ With Gershwin.

Dancin’ With Gershwin features some of Broadway’s most popular numbers - such as Summertime, Do it Again and The Man I Love - with vocal and instrumental recordings by Marilyn Monroe, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Carmen McRae and Michael Feinstein.

Amy Seiwert - Choreographer in Residence at Smuin Ballet - drew her inspiration for But now I must rest from the music of the Cape Verdean “barefoot diva”, Cesária Évora, combining contemporary movement with the themes of longing, love, history and hope.

In Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino, Val Caniparoli - internationally renowned choreographer, and principal character dancer at San Francisco Ballet - highlights the versatility of the Smuin dancers. Set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, his work is described as “blending high energy athleticism with wit and reflective beauty”.

Smuin Ballet appears at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco from May 2 to 11, before moving to the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek (May 16 and 17), the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (May 21 to 25) and the Sunset Center in Carmel (June 6 to 7). Tickets are available by calling the individual venues or online at

On the first Friday of every month, Society Cabaret at San Francisco’s Hotel Rex presents Curtain Call, with Bill Cooper and Barry Lloyd. In what’s described as “a freewheeling party” and “a truly enjoyable evening”, singers are invited to drop by, and maybe get the chance to perform a song or two from the stage. Further details of the performance on Friday, May 2, from

Then on the first Saturday of each month, Society Cabaret presents Cabaret Showcase - an opportunity for future cabaret artists to present a prepared, mini-cabaret - to show what they can do, and get some professional experience. This Saturday - May 3 - features Ali Gallo, Ben Montrym and Geoffrey Katz. Details on

At Zellerbach Hall on May 2, Cal Performances presents the Marcus Shelby Orchestra in The Legacy of Duke Ellington: 50 Years of Swing! In a special collaboration with California Shakespeare Theater, Marcus Shelby - Bay Area teacher, composer, arranger, bassist and band leader -celebrates with his orchestra the legacy of America’s master of jazz, with music spanning the 50 years of Ellington’s career.

The first half of the program features guest appearances by Faye Carol and violinist Mathew Szemela, performing jazz standards such as Creole Love Call, Black Beauty and C Jam Blues. In the second half, Shelby and his orchestra will be joined by actors from California Shakespeare Theater for Such Sweet Thunder, a 12-part musical suite by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, inspired by the work of William Shakespeare.

Further information and details are available at

On Saturday, May 3, in another Cal Performances production, David Finckel (cello) and pianist Wu Han - Musical America's 2012 Musicians of the Year - present The Unfolding of Music, a program of chamber music, as part of their residency activities on campus and in the community.

The program - of music by Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Britten - will be performed at the First Congregational Church, Berkeley. For tickets and further information, visit the Cal Performances website.

Saturday morning’s Live from the Met broadcast on Classical KDFC features Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece, I Puritani, set in the 1640s during the war between Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads and the Royalists faithful to the Stuart monarchy. Acclaimed Russian soprano, Olga Peretyatko, makes her debut as the mad heroine, Elvira - a role which she has performed at Lyon Opera and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee stars as Arturo, and Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien is Riccardo - both making company role debuts. Elvira’s father, Giorgio, is sung by bass baritone Michele Pertusi.

In this revival of Sandro Sequi’s 1976 production, the Metropolitan Orchestra and Chorus will be led by Italian conductor, Michele Mariotti, Olga Peretyatko’s husband, and marks the first time that they will have performed I Puritani together.

More information on I Puritani can be found on the Metropolitan Opera website. The live broadcast on KDFC starts at 10.00 am on Saturday, May 3. Tuning frequencies for listeners in the Bay Area can be found on, where you can also listen live - wherever in the world you are.

Santa Rosa Symphony presents its Spring Rhapsody this weekend, with Bruno Ferrandis conducting, and Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker as guest soloist. It’s a program of popular works - Debussy’s Printemps, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

The Paganini Rhapsody is one of a number of works which Jon Kimura Parker has performed over the past few seasons - others being the Tchaikovsky No 1, and concertos by Barber, Gershwin, Grieg, Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven. He has given command performances for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the United States Supreme Court, and for the prime ministers of Canada and Japan, and is an Officer of The Order of Canada, the highest civilian honor of his country.

Find out more about Sant Rosa Symphony’s Spring Rhapsody - on May 3, 4 and 5 at Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University - by visiting

ODC/Dance is giving two family performances on Saturday afternoon, May 3, at JCCSF, featuring Brenda Way’s Breathing Underwater and Kimi Okada’s Two if by Sea. ODC is known for its creative energy - a style, says the New York Times, “built on risk and nerve”, and for the athleticism and spirit of its dancers. As a special bonus at these performances, children will be invited onstage for a special dance lesson.

Find out more on the JCCSF website.

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