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The 2014–2015 San Francisco Performances Vocal Series

Mezzo Alice Coote
Mezzo Alice Coote
courtesy of San Francisco Performances

It is time to start thinking about the many options for concert-going that will be available during the 2014–2015 season. As I did last year, I plan to work my way through the difference series of concerts offered by San Francisco Performances (SFP), each of which has its own subscription. The first to these to get under way will be the Vocal Series, which, as in the past, will consist of four concerts. The first of those recitals will be a San Francisco debut, while the remaining three will involve the return of favorite vocalists, one accompanied by a pianist who has given her own SFP solo programs. While not all details have been released, the currently available information is as follows:

  1. Thursday, September 30, 7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: Baritone Christian Gerhaher has prepared a program that balances the classicism of Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven with the modernism of the Second Viennese School. He will perform five of Haydn’s song settings of English texts, Beethoven’s “Adelaide” (Opus 46), and his Opus 98 cycle An die ferne Geliebte (to the distant beloved). The Beethoven cycle will be complemented by Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 15 cycle, Buch die hängenden Gärten (book of the hanging gardens). Haydn’s five songs will be followed by Alban Berg’s Opus 4, five songs on picture-postcard texts by the Viennese poet Peter Altenberg. Berg wrote these for medium voice and orchestra, but Gerhaher will perform with piano accompanist Gerold Huber.
  2. Sunday, January 18, 7 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: This will be a duo performance by mezzo Anne Sophie von Otter and pianist Angela Hewitt. Von Otter’s repertoire will include Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Cécile Chaminade, as well as Beethoven. Hewitt will provide piano interludes by Schubert, Brahms, and Emmanuel Chabrier.
  3. Friday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: Mezzo Sasha Cooke will return to SFP after her fortuitous (and highly impressive) debut recital when she filled in for an ailing Alice Coote this past January. Her program will include songs by Richard Strauss, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Ernesto Granados, and Kurt Weill, as well as Haydn. Her accompanist will be pianist Julius Drake.
  4. Thursday, May 28, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall: Alice Coote will give the recital originally planned for last January, a program consisting entirely of songs by French composers. This will include not only Fauré, Debussy, and Chabrier but also, Francis Poulenc, Reynaldo Hahn, Charles Gounod, Hector Berlioz, Erik Satie, and Camille Saint-Saëns. She will also be accompanied by Julius Drake.

Series tickets are now available for purchase, and the 2014–2015 season announcement can be found on the SFP home page. The Vocal Series has its own Web page from which subscriptions may be ordered. The Premium price is $270, and subscriptions are also selling for $150. The SFP home page also provides hyperlinks to PDF files of the Season Calendar and a “physical” subscription order form. Single tickets will go on sale August 4, at which time hyperlinks to the appropriate Web pages will be activated.