The title of this season’s fundraising Gala for the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) is entitled An Afternoon With Amadeus. As usual, the event will be structured around a performance, preceded by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception and featuring a live auction. As may be guessed from the title, all music will be by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, according to the Web page for this Gala gathering, the context will be a little (to say the least) unique:
As you enter the grand ballroom of the Emperor Joseph II, circa 1786, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Ben Simon) is preparing his orchestra for the premiere of a new symphony. Mozart’s mistress Nancy (Lara Nie) and his wife Constanze (Gillian Clements) tussle for the attention of their beloved Amadeus.
Things quickly get complicated (and hilarious) with the conflicting agendas of father Leopold (Justin Simon), arch-rival Antonio Salieri (Jory Fankuchen) and the prickly Archbishop of Salzburg (Steve Hoffmann).
(Eat your heart out, Peter Shaffer.)
Music Director Benjamin Simon will, of course, be conducting SFCO. (Impersonating Mozart comes with the job.) Mezzo Nie will be the vocal soloist, and the instrumental soloists will be Concertmaster Robin Sharp and flutist Tod Brody.
In the past I have provided a summary of the items that will be offered at the auction, making it only fair that I do this again:
- A private dinner party featuring pianist Jon Nakamatsu
- A week’s stay at a private apartment in Paris (not the one in Texas)
- A private tour and dinner at Google Headquarters
- Front row seats at a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, performed by the San Francisco Opera, packaged with an exclusive backstage tour during intermission, a six-course tasting dinner at the Taj Campton Place, and an overnight stay at any San Francisco Kimpton Hotel
- A private violin recital by Sharp
- A western family weekend getaway (three days and two nights) at the Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley
- A classic multi-course Russian dinner at the Los Altos home of Board member Yulia Morsey, including chamber music performed by the SFCO All Stars
- A week’s stay in a private home in Steamboat Springs with a $1000 airfare allowance
- A special tasting of Italian wine and food hosted by KDFC announcer Dianne Nicolini with music provided by a featured SFCO artist
- Shabbat dinner at the home of Benjamin Simon with special guests storyteller Joel Ben Izzy and cantor Stephen Saxon
- Four tickets to one of three performances by the S. Lawrence String Quartet at the new Bing Concert Hall on the Stanford University Campus, including a backstage tour
- Chamber music at your next private event provided by the SFCO All Stars
This Gala event will take place on Sunday, March 23, beginning at 4 p.m. with the wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. The venue will be the City Club, located on the tenth floor of 155 Sansome Street in the Financial District. Online ticketing is being handled by Eventbrite, and a hyperlink to the necessary secure page for purchasing tickets may be found on the Web page for the gala. Basic admission is $150 per person with a special $75 rate for those aged eighteen and under. Higher level categories at $250, $1500, $2500, and $5000. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-692-3367.