Concerts, Opera and Theater in June

By Nina Beckwith

Performing arts companies generally end their regular seasons in May, but there is now so much going on in June that it looks like a whole new season. All the better for concert, opera and playgoers!



Chanticleer, the internationally-acclaimed 12-man vocal ensemble, which has just won another Grammy, wraps up its 25th anniversary season with a concert that explores the profound connection between music and healing.

Sound in Spirit combines early music with contemporary works to explore vocal music which crosses time and cultures to cure ills and soothe souls.

Sound in Spirit concerts this weekend, May 30, at 8 p.m. and June 1 at 3 p.m. at magnificent Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. (Also in Berkeley, June 7 in the First Congregational Church)

For tickets, call 800/407-1400 (City Box Office) or go online.

On June 15, Chanticleeer gives a free concert to celebrate its 25th anniversary, including repertoire from past concerts and recordings. That concert is at 3 p.m, Regency Center, Sutter at Van Ness.

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SFSymphony June Festivals are always popular and built around fascinating themes. That means hurry to get remaining tickets.
Wagner,Weill and the Weimar Years

This year, the theme is Innocence Undone: Wagner,Weill and the Weimar Years. Michael Tilson Thomas sets the scenes in Germany: between the wars, the years of the Weimar Republic, of art that was sensational, erotic and new, and in the 19th century as embodied in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, the tale of a seafarer condemned to sail the seas for all eternity, or until he finds redeeming love. MTT conducts The Flying Dutchman in a semi-staged production in Davies Hall featuring baritone Mark Delavan, a SF Opera Center graduate who now sings in all important opera houses, and Jane Eaglen, one of the great Wagnerian sopranos of our time. Wagner's tremendous orchestral sonorities are the most prominent presence in this, his first groundbreaking opera. Performances on June 11, 13, 15, 19 and 21. On June 14, one evening only, soprano Laura Claycomb, another SF Opera Center graduate now in a major international career, sings songs of Innocence Lost by Wagner and by Weimar composers, and MTT conducts. On June 20 and 22, for in the Weimar years, MTT conducts German chanteuse Ute Lemper in Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins cabaret songs of biting social satire written with Bertolt Brecht. For tickets, call SFSymphony, 864-6000, or go online. * * * * * *
La damnation de Faust
At the War Memorial in June and July, SFOpera embarks on the latter part of its 2002-3 season with a thrilling opera new to the company, The Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz, master of French Romanticism, who was born 200 years ago. Sung in French with English subtitles and conducted by SFOpera music director Donald Runnicles, this is one of the most powerful and beautiful musical settings of Faust's fatal bargain with the devil. La Damnation De Faust runs from June 10
to July 3.
La Cenerentola
Rossini's deliciously hilarious take on the Cinderella story, La Cenerentola, is pure joy, with a sparkling cast, including the local debut of tenor Juan Diego Florez, fresh from much-praised performances at the Met. Conductor is Patrick Summers, a SF Opera Center graduate who is now music director of Houston Grand Opera. La Cenerentola runs from June 7 to July 6.
Il Trovatore
Verdi's superbly dramatic Il Trovatore rounds out the season. One of the Italian master's towering works, this splendid production will be conducted by Marco Armiliato with Marina Mescheriakova, Richard Margison and Dolora Zajick, another SF Opera Center alumna, in the role of the gypsy Azucena, the role that launched her international career. Il Trovatore runs from June 15 to July 5. For details and tickets, call the box office at 415/864-3330 or visit the website. Ask about low price student rush tickets, on sale two hours before each performance. An hour before, there is a talk about the opera, free to ticket holders. THEATER
The Three Sisters
It is not often that we have the chance to see a masterpiece by one of the world's greatest playwrights, Anton Chekhov. The ACT production of The Three Sisters, now at the Geary Theater, is an opportunity which should be grasped quickly. It runs only until June 8. The Three Sisters is Chekhov's compassionate study of the illusions and disillusions, frustrations, and disappointed dreams that undermine the three sisters' lives and those of the men around them. The sisters Olga, Masha, and Irina live in a provincial garrison town. The men are military officers stationed there, except for their brother Andrei, his new wife Natasha, and a teacher in the local high school who is married to Masha. The sisters' dream is to return to Moscow, where they grew up: only in Moscow can they be happy and fulfilled. Their brother does not dream: he sits in his room all day playing the violin. Restless Masha has a brief, doomed affair with the colonel of the garrison, while Natasha quickly takes over the whole household; she is domineering, selfish and cruel, the only truly evil character Chekhov created. He called the play a drama, a description he gave to no other work. Written in 1900, the play also looks ahead to the political and social upheavals that Russia was shortly to undergo. Along with tragedies, it brings us several of Chekhov's most memorable characters and it is filled with humor and flashes of wit. The ACT production may not be the strongest or the most subtle interpretation of this great play, but it will move you and inspire thought and reflection. Carey Perloff, artistic director of ACT, has directed and most of the leading roles are taken by actors of her core company, notably Marco Barricelli as the colonel, Rene Augesen as Masha, and Gregory Wallace as Kulyigin, her husband. Running until Sunday, June 8th The Three Sisters is at the Geary Theater, Geary Street near Mason. Call the box office, 749-2228, or visit the website. * * * * * * ACT's Young Conservatory New Plays Program,, an important training ground for promising new actors, is giving the world premiere of a new play Moontel Six by Constance Congdon. Set on the moon in the not so distant future, the play follows the intergalactic adventures of a group of genetically altered Earth teens pursued by the residents of an exclusive gated community, Moonstead Estates, who hate having adolescents with questionable genes near their perfect children. How can the teens save themselves and return to Earth? Sounds like fun. Moontel Six runs from June 19 to 29 at the Zeum Theatre in Yerba Buena Gardens, Howard and Fourth Streets, near the MerryGoRound. Tickets are $10 for students, seniors and educators at Geary Theater box office at Mason. Call 749-2228 or visit the website. ** * * * *
Phil Stockton and Robert Parsons in
The Lonesome West.
Photo by David Allen
Magic Theatre is presenting The Lonesome West, by Martin McDonagh whose The Beauty Queen of Leenane ran in London and then in New York where it won four Tony awards. "Mr McDonagh has made a convincing argument that Irish drama is quite healthy," wrote the NY Times. "In the Lonesome West there is evidence of an exhilaratingly original voice." Set in a fictional Irish village in County Galway, the play is "a deadly comedy," both hilarious and exciting, about two brothers locked together by a terrible secret. The Lonesome West opens June 20 and runs until July 6 at the Magic Theatre, Bldg. D, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan, where there is plenty of parking (also Muni bus 28) and glorious views of the Bay. For tickets, call 441-8822. For more information, visit the website. * * * * * *
The Male Intellect
Other new plays: The Male Intellect: an oxymoron, a one-man show by writer/actor/comedian Robert Dubac, is billed as a clever comedic expose on romance and dating. June 10-29, at the Marines Memorial Theatre, Sutter Street at Mason. For tickets call toll-free 877/771-6900 or go online. And then there's Thwak, (yes, Thwak,) which will open the new Post Street Theatre. A live-action cartoon run amok, Thwak, called "wildly creative, wildly funny, inspired anarchy," is by Australian performers Shane Dundas and David Collins, aka The Umbilical Brothers, who serve up new vaudeville, skewering pop culture along the way.
Shane Dundas and David Collins in "Thwak"
The Post Street Theatre, at Number 450, a former assembly hall which used to be Theatre on the Square, is just off Geary. Tickets for Thwak at the box office, 321-2900, and Ticketmaster outlets. A new Broadway-bound musical Wicked, has it world premiere and tryout run in SF at the Curran Theatre. (That's where Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme opened to raves and I'm sure the producers of Wicked are hoping and praying their show will go and do likewise.) Starring Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and Robert Morse as the Wizard, Wicked is the untold story of the Witches of Oz. Apparently a lot happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in. Wicked music and lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin); director is Joe Mantello, who staged Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera. Wicked opens May 28 and plays through June 29 at the Curran on Geary. Tickets at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office, Market Street at Eighth, through Ticketmaster at 512-7770.