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This week in the Bay Area - March 11 to 13

Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the LA Phil
Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the LA Phil
Photo: Vern Evans

There’s so much going on in the Bay Area at the moment that the weekly round-up is being presented in two parts - here are the events taking place from Tuesday to Thursday.

With the San Francisco Symphony away on its European tour, Davies Symphony Hall welcomes the Los Angeles Philharmonic for two performances this week. The LA Phil plays under the direction of its charismatic Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel - Musical America’s Musician of the Year in 2013.

The first concert, on Tuesday, March 11, features as its main work Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Symphony No 5 - a dynamic performance by the LA Phil, frequently heard on the international airwaves - and one which is sure to enthrall the San Francisco audience. The opening work is John Corigliano’s Symphony No 1 - commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1988, and winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Composition in 1990, the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance and for Best New Composition in 1991, and the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album in 1996.

Visit the San Francisco Symphony website for further information and tickets.

The second concert by the LA Phil features a very popular guest artist here in San Francisco - pianist Yuja Wang - with her sensational performance of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No 3. Maestro Dudamel follows this with Brahms’ melodious Second Symphony.

More detail, and information on tickets, can be found on the San Francisco Symphony website.

San Francisco Ballet returns to the War Memorial Opera House with its spectacularly successful production of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella which played to packed houses last season. Brought back by popular demand, this co-production with Dutch National Ballet was inspired by the works of the Brothers Grimm as well as Charles Perrault’s adaption of the well-loved folk tale.

There is no fairy godmother, pumpkin coach or clock striking midnight in this production, but there is a living, dancing tree to which Wheeldon refers as “the deliverer of all things magic”, and the traditional seasonal fairies have been replaced by four spirits to guide and protect Cinderella. With Wheeldon’s touch, a highly imaginative creative team and Prokofiev’s gorgeous score, this unique presentation of Cinderella has proved to be an utter delight.

Cinderella is at the War Memorial Opera House until March 23. For tickets and further detail - including a video clip - visit the San Francisco Ballet website.

Cal Performances presents Focus on Flamenco this week, in two separate performances. Ballet Flamenco Eve Yerbebuena takes to the stage on March 12 with a thrilling presentation of what’s described as the “explosive footwork, powerful movements and innovative choreography” of Eva Yerbebuena. Winner of six major Spanish choreographic awards, and with performances in venues as far-flung as Sydney Opera House, Theâtre de la Ville, and Opera de Dusseldorf, Yerbebuena is regarded as one of Spain’s most exciting performers. She’ll be accompanied by guitarist Paco Jarana.

Flamenco vocalist Estrella Morente takes the spotlight on Friday, March 14, with a program which includes La Estrella from her 2012 Grammy-nominated album, Autorretrato. Ms Morente - part of a true flamenco dynasty - was heard on the soundtrack of Pedro Almodóvar's film Volver. She’ll be accompanied by four members of the Carbonell family.

Focus on Flamenco takes place at Zellerbach Hall on March 12 and 14. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at http://www.calperformances.org, and at the door.

SFJAZZ welcomes a return visit this week by piano superstar Hiromi, with her Trio Project, an ensemble which includes electric bass master Anthony Jackson and British drummer Simon Phillips. Hiromi, an original improviser and composer, is known for her unusual approach to the sound produced by her ensemble, in which instruments aren’t confined to their traditional roles. “I want to treat the three instruments as three pieces of an orchestra,” she says, “and extend the sound.”

Hiromi: The Trio Project is at the Miner Auditorium from March 13 to 16. Further information available at sfjazz.org.

SFJAZZ presents a monthly concert series at the Joe Henderson Lab featuring the Bay Area’s most gifted musicians re-imagining a famous recording of a jazz legend. SFJAZZ Hotplate takes place on the second Thursday of each month, and March 13 features tenor saxophonist Howard Wiley with Ornette Colman’s The Shape of Things to Come. The setting is informal, and you’re invited to drop in for a drink and listen to some of the best jazz on the local scene.

Howard Wiley is at the Joe Henderson Lab on March 13 from 8.00 to 9.30 pm. More information at www.sfjazz.org.

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