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Drama, jazz, Minelli and the Met - all in the Bay Area this week

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The new production at the San Francisco Playhouse is entitled simply Bauer, but it’s a production which packs a powerful punch. Commissioned from Bay Area playwright Lauren Gunderson by Playhouse Directors, David English and Susi Damilano, it portrays an episode during the latter years of the life of Rudolf Bauer regarded as one of the most important exponents of ‘nonobjective art’ of the 20th century. Following a feud which erupted between the Guggenheim Museum and himself during the 1950s, Bauer put down his paintbrush and never painted again.

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Although historically accurate, Bauer is a representation of Gunderson’s ‘freshly imagined’ meeting between Bauer, his wife Louise, and Hilla Rebay, a former long-time lover of his and one of the Guggenheim’s most trusted curators. It’s compelling, humorous, tender and tragic - utterly superb and not to be missed.

Bauer - starring Ronald Guttman, Stacy Ross and Susi Damilano - runs at the San Francisco Playhouse until April 19. For further information and tickets, contact the box office on 415-677-9596 or visit www.sfplayhouse.org.

Running concurrently with this production is a restrospective of the work of Rudolf Bauer at the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco.

SFJAZZ has a star-studded program scheduled for this week - with every performance sold out. South African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela opened a two-night season last evening, and appears again tonight (March 26). Wayne Shorter with his quartet takes over in the Miner Auditorium as of tomorrow, running through Sunday. Even though all performances are sold out, it’s worth checking for returns on the day - you might be in luck. For more information, visit www.sfjazz.org.

San Francisco Opera yesterday announced the release of a new DVD/Blu-ray recording of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess - a production in which America bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Laquita Mitchell head an exceptional ensemble cast, under the direction of conductor John DeMain. Production is by Francesca Zambello

Distributed worldwide by Naxos, the DVD (RRP $24.99) and Blu-Ray (RRP $39.99) releases are available from all major retailers and from the San Francisco Opera Shop. This is the first live recording of Porgy and Bess available on Blu-ray and the first new DVD release in over twenty years. It also features bonus material including interviews with cast and creative team members.

To watch video clips of San Francisco Opera’s Porgy and Bess, follow this link

Contemporary dance company, ODC/Dance celebrates its 43rd season this week, with a world premiere entitled boulders and bones, choreographed by Brenda Way and KT Nelson, and inspired by the work of visual artist, Andy Goldsworthy.

The season, which includes collaborations with Zoë Keating, Alexander V Nichols, and RJ Muna, also features the 2013 success, Triangulating Euclid - created by ODC Artistic Directors Brenda Way and KT Nelson in collaboration with NY choreographer Kate Weare - as well as Kimi Okada’s Two if by Sea, and the acclaimed Brenda Way work, Unintended Consequences: A Meditation.

Performances take place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and tickets may be obtained by calling 415.978.ARTS (2787), online at www.ybca.org or at the box office, 701 Mission Street at 3rd.

The fabulous Liza Minelli appears at Davies Symphony Hall for one night only this week - on Friday, March 28. Legendary star of Broadway and silver screen, Liza Minelli has won four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy. With her septet, she performs a selection of classic American standards from her repertoire, including New York, New York and Cabaret.

For tickets, please visit the San Francisco Symphony website where there’s also a video clip of Ms Minelli performing Cabaret live at the Palais des congrès de Paris.

And on the subject of cabarets, Society Cabaret at Hotel Rex presents the premiere of One for My Baby this weekend, starring actress and singer Daisy Egan. Not only does Daisy star in this cabaret performance, but she also wrote the script. The performance is directed by Drew Droege, with musical direction by Brandon James Gwinn. One for My Baby is described as ‘part monologue, part cabaret with jazz and pop standards’ as Daisy tells her story in an evening of comedy and song.

Daisy Egan is the youngest actress ever to win a Tony Award - for her performance as Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, and for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk and an Outer Critic Circle Award. One for My Baby is in the Salon Room at Hotel Rex (562 Sutter Street, between Mason and Powell) on March 28 and 29. Tickets can be arranged online at www.societycabaret.com.

Smuin Ballet wraps up its 20th Anniversary Season this weekend in Carmel. The XXtremes Winter Dance Series features Jiří Kylián’s acclaimed Return to a Strange Land, set to four pieces for solo piano by Czech composer Leoš Janáček, created as a tribute to Kylián’s mentor John Cranko. The program also features Dear Miss Cline, a lighthearted and colorful romp set to the music of Patsy Cline, by Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, and one of Michael Smuin’s most acclaimed works, Carmina Burana, set to Carl Orff’s 1937 dramatic cantata of the same title.

Smuin Ballet appears at Sunset Center, San Carlos Street between 8th and 10th Streets, Carmel on March 28 and 29. For tickets, call the Sunset Center on 831-620-2048, and for further information, call (415) 912-1899 or visit www.smuinballet.org.

Live from the Met, the Saturday morning broadcast by Classical KDFC, this week features Bellini’s bel canto showpiece, La Sonnambula, in a revival of Mary Zimmerman’s intriguing staging, set in a rehearsal room where singers are rehearsing a production of La Sonnambula which is, in turn, set in a Swiss village.

This performance stars Diana Damrau as Amina - the sleepwalking heroine - in her first ever performance in this role, Mexican tenor Javier Camarena as Elvino, her lover, and Italian bass Michele Pertusi as Rodolfo. Marco Armiliato, who has conducted more than 300 Met performances, leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

For more information on the production, please visit www.metopera.org. Tuning frequencies for Saturday morning’s broadcast (March 29) can be found on www.kdfc.com, where you can also listen online.

San Francisco Opera’s next Schwabacher Debut Recital takes place on Sunday, March 30, one of the engagements in which the talented young artists of San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program appear each year throughout Northern California.

In this performance, Maria Valdes, Zanda Švēde, AJ Glueckert and Hadleigh Adams appear in a presentation of In the Memory Palace by New York Festival of Song’s Steven Blier, featuring Gabriel Kahane’s The Memory Palace, and works by Frank Bridge, Stephen Sondheim, Heitor Villa-Lobos and R&B singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.

The recital takes place at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco, on Sunday, March 30, 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330, or visit www.sfopera.com/operacenter for more information.

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