At Davies Symphony Hall October will begin with a two-week festival that will highlight the music of Felix Mendelssohn and Thomas Adès. For the first two subscription concerts of the month, Pablo Heras-Casado will conduct both the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the SFS Chorus (whose Director is Ragnar Bohlin). There will also be two chamber music concerts given by SFS musicians, and Adès himself will appear as guest artist at the first of these.
The first subscription concert will feature the pairing of the first SFS performances of Adès’ Three Studies from Couperin with Mendelssohn’s Opus 56 symphony in A minor (“Scottish”). In addition the program will begin with the first SFS performances of two instrumental selections from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera Armide, the overture and a passacaglia. Finally, the Mendelssohn symphony will be preceded by a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s D major violin concerto, whose neoclassical structure and rhetoric can be taken as a reflection on both Lully and Couperin. Leila Josefowicz will be soloist. For this occasion the Inside Music pre-concert event, free to all concert ticket holders and beginning one hour before the performance, will consist of Adès in conversation with John Palmer. The topic for the free audio podcast hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone, which will be posted on the Program Note Podcasts Web page, will be the Mendelssohn symphony. Further details may be found at the event page for this concert.
The second concert will feature the first SFS performances of four scenes from Adès’ opera The Tempest (given as concert performances). Soprano Audrey Luna will be making her SFS debut singing the role of Ariel in three of the scenes, while Rod Gilfry will make his SFS debut in the role of Prospero in all four of the scenes. The other roles to be performed will be those of Miranda (sung by mezzo Isabel Leonard) and Ferdinand (sung by tenor Alek Shrader). Mezzo Charlotte Hellekant will also be on hand, singing in a suite taken from the incidental music that Mendelssohn composed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This will precede the Adès scenes; and the program will conclude with a performance of Mendelssohn’s Opus 60, Die erste Walpurgisnacht (the first Walpurgis Night), a secular cantata for chorus and orchestra with solo parts for alto, tenor, baritone, and bass. The Inside Music talk will be given by Peter Grunberg, and the subject for Malone’s podcast will be Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Again, further details may be found at the event page.
Adès will perform on both harpsichord and piano when he joins the SFS musicians in the first chamber music concert. The program will begin with his Opus 11, a sonata da caccia for oboe (Jonathan Fischer), horn (to be announced), and harpsichord. The final work will be Adès’ Opus 20 piano quintet, which he will perform with violinists In Sun Jang and Florin Parvulescu, violist Katie Kadarauch, and cellist Amos Yang. The second work on the program will be Claude Debussy’s sonata for flute (Catherine Payne), viola (Jonathan Vinocour), and harp (Douglas Rioth). The intermission will be followed by Maurice Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses (songs of Madagascar), settings of three prose poems by Évariste de Parny scored for voice (baritone John Brancy), flute (Payne), cello (Sébastian Gingras), and piano. This concert also has its own event page.
The second chamber music concert will feature the Opus 18 string quintet in A major by Mendelssohn. This will be performed by violinists John Chisholm and Diane Nicholeris, violists Matthew Young and Gina Feinauer, and cellist Barbara Andres. The remainder of the program will consist of two piano trios. Nicholeris and cellist David Goldblatt will join pianist Gwendolyn Mok to perform the first of Ludwig van Beethoven’s two Opus 70 trios, the “Ghost” in D major. The second half of the concert will feature Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Opus 50 trio in A minor. This concert also has its own event page.
Dates and times for these performances, all at Davies Symphony Hall, will be as follows:
- The first SFS concert will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 3, and Sunday, October 6, and at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5; ticket prices will range from $15 to $158.
- The second SFS concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12. In addition, there will be an open rehearsal at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 10. Tickets for the open rehearsal are $40 for reserved seating and $22 for general admission. They make be purchased through a separate event page. Tickets for the concert will range from $37 to $156
- The first chamber music concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 3; all tickets are $36.
- The second chamber music concert will take place on Sunday, October 13, at 2 p.m.; all tickets are $36.
There will also be a Festival Pass that will provide a 50% discount to those attending both SFS concerts and the first chamber music concert. A special Web page has been created with further information. Individual tickets may be purchased through the appropriate event pages on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open for advance sales from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Box Office is also open two hours prior to all concerts.