Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter

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The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.

• Arias for a racial justice pioneer: The American Opera Project, a New York-based organization that co-produced the Bay Area’s Opera Parallèle’s  performances of the Georgia O’Keeffe-themed work “Today It Rains” with great success last year, has an earlier feather in its cap with the 2014 world premiere of  “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line” at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. The two-hour production, buoyed by music from a Harlem Chamber Players quintet,  illuminates the life of the woman who stoked up the Underground Railroad. Now the production, with music and libretto by Nkeiru Okoye and starring Janinah Burnett in the title role, is available for live streaming at https://www.aopopera.org/tubman-video


• A virtual ‘Husband’: “Sooner or later,” Oscar Wilde once wrote, “we shall all have to pay for what we do.” Such is the fate awaiting the protagonist in his brilliant comedy “An Ideal Husband,” a highly respected politician and public servant who finds himself being blackmailed during a dinner party by an adversary who has learned of a past misdeed. Wilde juggles several themes — including the nature of honor and of corruption — as his characters maneuver for one-upmanship. It’s one of the great writer’s most popular plays, and Town Hall Theatre Company in Lafayette staged an acclaimed production of it to close out its 2016-17 season. Now the company is offering a recorded performance of “An Ideal Husband” on its website from June 11 through July 17. The show is free, but donations are encouraged. Go to www.townhalltheatre.com. Meanwhile, the company’s current streamed production, Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” is also available for viewing through June 14.


For classical couch potatoes: Gone for now are the days when we dressed to the nines to go hear an orchestra play Beethoven’s Ninth! Instead, we now have multiple opportunities for streaming symphonic bliss via our devices and TV screens in whatever sloppy garb we desire. Walnut Creek-based California Symphony’s latest offering, hilariously tagged as the “Symphony in Slippers,” fits the bill. Conductor Donato Cabrera will host a 50-minute concert program featuring George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” at 7 p.m. on June 13, highlighting clarinetist Stephen Zielinski and pianist Andrew Armstrong. This concert is free with a link to the YouTube event popping up on the website californiasymphony.org on June 13, but there will be an opportunity to donate live on air if you like what you hear.


• Globe-trekking arts: Cal Performances in Berkeley is among the many arts organizations replacing its coronavirus-canceled live performances with a steady stream of online content. Its series, “Now, More than Ever,” features videos and a blog touching on a wide variety of themed performances. A recent post, describing its foundation as a “relatively short musical journey between Germany and the Balkans,” leads to videos of the L.A. Dance Project performing “ Chaconne,” a work by artistic director Benjamin Millipied (the guy who choreographed the film “Black Swan”) based on Bach’s classic work; a tribute to Bach performed by the jazz pianist Oscar Peterson; a performance by soprano Lucia Popp of Dvořák’s “Song to the Moon,” from the opera “Rusalka,” and much more. There are 17 entries and counting, find them at calperformances.org.


Bay Area native Taylor Eigsti will perform a solo livestreamed jazz concert on June 13 to benefit his alma mater, The Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. (Photo by Gretchen Mueller, courtesy of Taylor Eigsti)

• South Bay props: It was evident pretty early in his career that jazz pianist and Menlo Park native Taylor Eigsti was a special talent. Blessed with superlative chops and a keen eye for musical interpretation, Eigsti, just 35, is now a bona fide jazz star based in New York with seven albums and two Grammy nominations to his credit. He also helped write a key song on the Grammy-winning “Miles Ahead” film soundtrack. The young musician has not forgotten his roots, however. At 5 p.m. on June 13, Eigsti will perform a solo livestreamed concert in New York to benefit one of his early training grounds, The Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. Organizers say Eigsti will perform some of his favorite tunes as well as selections from his soon-to-be released album “Tree Falls.” The performance is free, but donations to the school are encouraged. You can catch the concert at www.youtube.com/user/CSMAMV