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Wide variety of performances in the Bay Area this week

Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge
Courtesy San Francisco Symphony - with permission

From Davies Symphony Hall to the SFJAZZ Center and the San Francisco Playhouse, to an open-air theater in Sonoma, and Berkeley Rep, there’s no shortage of top-class entertainment in the Bay Area this week.

Rock singer, guitarist and songwriter, Melissa Etheridge, joins the San Francisco Symphony and conductor Sean O’Loughlin for two performances at Davies Symphony Hall this week. With her bluesy vocal style, this Oscar and Grammy Award-winning artist performs some of her classic hits, and material from her latest studio album, with all the passion for which her music is known.

The performances take place at Davies Symphony Hall on July 30 and 31. For more information and tickets, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

In complete contrast, the Symphony, led by Edwin Outwater, presents an evening of music by Beethoven on Friday. Entitled The Beethoven Revolution, the program features the Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, the Triple Concerto - in which the Gryphon Trio makes its SF Symphony debut - and the Symphony No 5 which will have its ‘revolutionary secrets’ revealed. Music critic, Matthew Guerrieri - author of The First Four Notes (those famous first notes of the Fifth Symphony) - also makes a guest appearance.

The Beethoven Revolution takes place at Davies Symphony Hall on Friday, August 1st. For tickets and more detail, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

The SFJAZZ Center presents two great programs this week - Cantuária Sings Jobim and Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers. Vinicius Cantuaria - Brazilian singer, guitarist, composer, drummer and percussionist - is considered one of the great interpreters of the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim. In this series of concerts - in which he sings to his own guitar accompaniment - he pays tribute to the man whose name is synonymous with Brazilian music.

The performances take place in the Joe Henderson Lab from July 31 - August 3.

As part of its Keyboard Colossus Series, SFJAZZ presents a series of performances by Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers. Eight-times Grammy winner Valdés has spent much of his career as an exponent of Latin music, but since the release of his 1998 Blue Note CD Bele Bele En La Havan, he has gained a reputation as one of jazz’s foremost pianists, of whom All About Jazz says: "He can tickle the ivories with the soft grace of Bill Evans and dazzle with the thunderous dexterity of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson".

Chucho Valdés appears with Gastón Joya (bass), Rodney Barreto (drums), Yaroldy Abreu Robles (congas) and Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé (bata) in the Miner Auditorium from July 31 to August 3.

For tickets, and more information on both series of concerts, visit www.sfjazz.org.

The Transcendence Theatre Company presents the second program in its Special Artist Series at the end of the week, with Carrie Manolakos and Morgan Karr in Concert. These singer-songwriters - and Broadway sensations - will be performing their own original music under the stars at the Landmark Winery in Sonoma Valley on August 1st and 2nd.

On Broadway, Carrie appeared as Sophie in Mamma Mia, and she also played Elphaba on the second national tour of Wicked. Her debut album, Echo, is in the top 100 of the Singer/Songwriter iTunes pop charts, and her performance of the Radiohead classic, Creep, became an internet sensation. Morgan Karr appeared in the 8-time Tony Award and Grammy-winning musical, Spring Awakening. His song Eyes is currently on Beatport’s top 10 charts and his self-titled EP appeared in the iTunes top 100 Singer/Songwriters in the first week of its release in 2011.

For more information on Carrie Manolakos and Morgan Karr in Concert, and to buy tickets, visit the Transcendence Theatre Company website.

If you’ve not yet seen the San Francisco Playhouse production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, you still have time to treat yourself to a wonderful evening’s entertainment - great melodies, smart lyrics, and sparkling performances.

For tickets and more information, visit www.sfplayhouse.org.

And if you’ve not managed to catch a performance of Monsieur Chopin at Berkeley Rep, Hershey Felder’s celebration of the life and works of the Poet of the Piano has had its run extended to August 10. Featuring many of Chopin’s most beautiful compositions, Felder “carries a rapt audience along on a wave of true, powerful, and wordless passion,” says the Boston Globe.

Further information and tickets available at www.berkeleyrep.org