A Swingin’ Holiday

The steady hand of Lauren Jonas continues to reseed Diablo Ballet with novel works, interpreted by dancers new to its ranks. As its 23rdnd season approaches, the company continues to grow in every direction, apparent in its “Swingin’ Holiday and more” program at the Dell Valle Theater on November 14.  ...

La Forza del Destino, English National Opera

"La Forza del Destino," (The Force of Destiny) is hard to stage. Verdi's marvellous music, including a grandiose overture, is one of his best, yet it strays from being a must-see opera for new audiences. This week, the English National Opera (ENO) unite with New York’s Metropolitan Opera to take  ...

Don Giovanni

The Academy of Vocal Arts’ mounts Mozart’s "Don Giovanni" every few years and it always seems to show them at their best. Their 2011 production, directed by the Tito Capobianco, and had the lusty Don Giovanni, in flagrante delicate all during the overture in just his breeches as he pretends  ...

Bizarro Con 2015

It was sometime after the man in the mushroom cap sang a song about earwigs yet well before Werner Herzog's nihilistic re-imagining of "The Wizard of Oz" that I realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Instead, I was sequestered at the delightfully bohemian McMenamins hotel in Troutdale, Oregon (just  ...

The Magic Flute, SF Opera

To the many interpretations of “The Magic Flute,” San Francisco Opera has added one with the distinction of looking like an animated cartoon. The company’s current production, which debuted in 2012, appears by turns Disney, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera; it has a vernacular English libretto (by outgoing General Director David  ...

Disgraced, Berkeley Rep

Who are you? I mean, really? Are you who you want to be, pretend to be or who your mother told you you ought to be? This, I think, is the question at the heart of Ayad Akhtar’s searing “Disgraced,” the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama that raises more questions than  ...

Pirates of Penzance

        "The Hypocrites," an ebullient, talented young musical troupe from Chicago is storming the beaches of Berkeley Rep (and Penzance) in their loving send-up of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "Pirates of Penzance." These performers are so gifted in both voice and acting that they  ...

The Propelled Heart, Lines Ballet

          According to Lines Ballet’s current program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the propelled heart locates a voice for the body in motion. Artistic Director Alonzo King is famous for the broad-spectrum musical talent he invites in, notably Zakir  ...