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This week in the Bay Area - February 12 to 16 2014

This week, San Francisco Ballet welcomes the Hamburg Ballet for two performances of John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (see more).

Hélène Bouchet and Ivan Urban in Neumeier's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
© Holger Badekow

The Hamburg Ballet is at the War Memorial Opera House on February 12 at 7.30 pm and February 13 at 8.00 pm. For more information and tickets, visit the San Francisco Ballet website.

Jerusalem continues its successful run at the San Francisco Playhouse. Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it: “Jez Butterworth’s gorgeous, expansive new play keeps coming at its audience in unpredictable gusts, rolling from comic to furious, from winsome to bawdy.” Tickets can be ordered online via the Playhouse website, or by calling the box office on (415) 677-9596 open Tuesday to Saturday 1:00 pm-6:00 pm.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now - Celebrating the Legacy of African American Arts & Culture. A wide-ranging program of performances is taking place until March 8, at venues in San Francisco and Oakland, with highlights including works by Nora Chipaumire, Gregory Dawson, Joanna Haigood, Portsha Jefferson and Robert Moses.

This week’s performances - from February 13 to 15 - feature renowned choreographer and dancer Nora Chipaumire, a former member of the acclaimed dance troupe Urban Bush Women, in a program entitled Miriam. A deeply personal work, featuring an unusual staging and format, Miriam invites the audience to grasp the concept of being an outsider, a piece described by The Performance Club as “..... challenging, dark, brave and exquisite”. Dance Magazine writes that Chipaumire “has become a rock star of downtown dance, with a majestic quality that blows everything else out of the water”.

Norah Chipaumire’s Miriam is at San Francisco’s YBCA Forum, at 8.00 pm. For reservations and further information, call 415.978.ARTS (2787) or visit tickets.ybca.org/single/EventListing.aspx

The SFJAZZ Center has a series of programs so popular this week that most of them are either already sold out, or almost there! The first features Malian master musician, Bassekou Kouyate playing the ngoni, at the Miner Auditorium, on February 12, and this one is sold out. You might want to check for returns on the day, though http://www.sfjazz.org/events/season2/basseko-kouyate.

The following evening, February 13, features a return to SFJAZZ by Cécile McLorin Salvant - a concert which is most definitely sold out - however you can check for returns on the day. Ms McLorin Salvant appears at the Miner Auditorium - see http://www.sfjazz.org/events/season2/c%C3%A9cile-mclorin-salvant.

Claudia Villela & Harvey Wainapel play Stan Getz’s 'Getz/Gilberto in the Joe Henderson Lab on February 13 and 14. February 13 is sold out, but there are still some tickets available for February 14 - see http://www.sfjazz.org/events/season2/villela-wainapel.

Kate McGarry and Keith Ganz appear at the Joe Henderson Lab on February 15 and 16. A favorite artist at SFJAZZ, Kate has firmly established herself in the first rank of jazz singers, and her appearance with her husband, Keith Ganz, celebrates the release of their first live duo album, Genevieve and Ferdinand. Her 2009 Palmetto release, If Less Is More… Nothing Is Everything, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album and she’s won Rising Star Vocalist honors in the DownBeat Critics Poll three times. All About Jazz writes: "Kate McGarry certainly has that ‘thing’ that Duke Ellington wrote a song about, and her music does mean a thing." Find out more about Kate and Keith’s performances here.

Cal Performances presents Sweet Honey in the Rock on Wednesday, February 12, in a performance entitled Forty and Fierce! This renowned African-American female a cappella ensemble from Washington DC has a firmly-rooted following in the Bay Area, and celebrates four decades of sacred music of the Black church, music of the the civil rights movement, and songs representing the struggle for justice everywhere. The Grammy-nominated group - featuring vocalists Carol Maillard and Louise Robinson (co-founders), Aisha Kahlil, Nitanju Bolade Casel, and American Sign Language interpreter Shirley Childress Saxon - will perform selections covering blues, spirituals, gospel, hip-hop, reggae and jazz.

Sweet Honey in the Rock appear at Zellerbach Hall on Wednesday, February 12, at 8.00 pm. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at calperformances.org, and at the door.

There’s also a performance for Bay Area school children on Thursday, February 13, at 11.00 am. Tickets are available in advance only. Go to the Cal Performances website to register.

Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winner, Kitaro, debuts his “Symphonic World Tour 2014” at the Green Music Center on February 14. Appearing with his ensemble and the Santa Rosa Symphony, conducted by music director, Stephen Small, Kitaro includes performances of his most memorable music from Silk Road and Kojiki. An internationally acclaimed composer and musician, Kitaro is one of the founding architects of the New Age category of music - influenced by American rock and R&B, and combining electronic artistry with elements of traditional Japanese music and Western pop.

The concert takes place at Weill Hall, Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, at 8.00 pm on Friday, February 14. For further information please visit the Santa Rosa Symphony website.

This weekend, the Santa Rosa Symphony presents Sons of the Fjord - a program of music by Matre, Grieg and Sibelius. The Symphony is conducted by Bruno Ferrandis - and French pianist, Philippe Bianconi, is the guest artist in a performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto. In addition to solo recitals and chamber music, M Bianconi has performed with leading orchestras and conductors in major concert halls and festivals around the world. Le Figaro writes of his playing as “gorgeous”, adding: “Bianconi is capable of covering a great range of emotions without losing his clarity and brilliance”, and the Washington Post describes his playing as “always close to the soul of the music, filling the space with poetry and life”.

The program opens with the American premiere of Resurgence by multiple award-winning Norwegian composer, Ørjan Matre, and closes with Sibelius’ Symphony No 2. It takes place at Weill Concert Hall, Green Music Center, from February 15 through 17. More details are available on the Santa Rosa Symphony website, and information on tickets can be found on http://www.santarosasymphony.com/myAccount.asp.

Classical KDFC’s regular Saturday morning broadcast, Live from the Met, this week features Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow) by Richard Strauss, with libretto by Hugo Hofmannsthal. It’s 10 years since the Metropolitan Opera last presented this legendary production by opera director and designer, the late Herbert Wernicke, and in this performance Vladimir Jurowski leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and a cast which includes Anne Schwanewilms and Torsten Kerl as the otherworldly Empress and Emperor, and Johan Reuter as Barak. Christine Goerke, the dramatic soprano star, returns to the Met as the Dyer’s Wife, whose shadow the Empress must win to free herself from a fatal decree.

Sung in German, the opera is broadcast live on Classical KDFC at 10.00 am (PST) on Saturday, February 15. Log onto the KDFC website for tuning frequencies or to listen to the live broadcast.

The Society Cabaret at the Hotel Rex http://societycabaret.com/ presents Love! A Valentine Cabaret, starring Jessica Fisher, Christopher M Nelson and G Scott Lacy, at 8.00 pm. See more at: http://societycabaret.com/#sthash.ujjbeO1C.dpuf

On Saturday, February 15, the Cabaret features Sandy and Richard Riccardi. In a performance described as ‘tastefully raunchy’, they present an all-comedy musical show, described by New York’s Cabaret Scenes Magazine as “a fun-filled hour of lampoons, jabs and jibes on a host of topical subjects”. More information is available on http://societycabaret.com/

The Chinese Culture Center celebrates Chinese New Year with a Spring Festival on Saturday, February 15. With a theme entitled Old School/New School, the Festival features performances from Starr King Elementary School and Pacific Wushu; dance from China Dance Theatre, Jerry Christopher Lin, and Shan Yee Pool Ballet; traditional Chinese lion dance by Yau Kung Moon; and art activities, featuring calligraphy from Justin Hoover and Chris Treggiari of SanFranStudios and Golden Mountain Calligraphy Society.

The Festival also celebrates the opening of the first solo art exhibition in the United States by modern Chinese abstract art pioneer Fong Chung-ray - which runs from February 15 to May 31. Between Modern and Contemporary: Fong Chung-ray focuses on the artist’s mature work, featuring styles which include calligraphy, splashes of acrylic, and found materials such as sheets of plastic.

The admission-free Spring Festival takes place on Saturday, February 15, from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm, at the Chinese Culture Center. For more information, please visit www.c-c-c.org

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