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.
Music that moves us: The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, justly proud of its new state-of-the-art high-tech Bowes Center, has launched a fall series of live-streaming concerts on the theme of “Music and (e)Motion,” several of them with an added “boost” that will include multi-camera HD videos, composer interviews, faculty chats and mini-documentaries to enhance the presentations. SFCM’s ensemble-in-residence the Telegraph Quartet is up at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with a trio of string quartets by Eleanor Alberga, Erich W. Korngold and Ludwig van Beethoven. The recital streams live from the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, but award-winning composer Alberga will be there, virtually, speaking from London about her work during the special intermission programming. Learn more and register for the free concerts by clicking on the performance calendar at www.sfcm.edu.
Attila the killa, with arias: You wouldn’t think that a barbarian with as long and bloody a history of baaaaad behavior as Attila the Hun would get a whole opera written about him, but you’d be wrong. Giuseppe Verdi proved that back in 1846 when he brought the tyrant to the stage in Venice for the first time. Now San Francisco Opera is offering you a chance to stream its 2012 co-production with Teatro alla Scala for free this weekend by going to its website anytime between 10 a.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday. Bass Ferruccio Furlanetto tears up the stage as the titular antihero in “Attila,” and baritone Quinn Kelsey sings the role of Ezio, the general charged with protecting 5th-century Rome. Ana Lucrecia Garcia stars as Odabella, the fierce woman warrior bent on avenging her late father, and look for legendary bass Samuel Ramey, S.F. Opera’s first Attila two decades back, in a smaller role as the Bishop of Rome (a.k.a., Pope Leo I). Check it out at www.sfopera.com, and here’s a teaser: https://youtu.be/hCIZnPZ4p8g.
Plague jokes: The folks who bring us the annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show (Jewish humor delivered in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas) are back with another installment of the pandemic-themed Zoom production known as “Lockdown Comedy.” The headliner is Diane Amos, a San Francisco comedian and actress known as the “Pine-Sol Lady” for reasons no more exotic than she has appeared in ads for the household product for some 20 years. Also in the lineup are Victor Pacheco, a regular at San Jose Improv Comedy Club; Bay Area political comedian and podcaster Scott Blakeman; Lisa Geduldig, Bay Area comedian and Kung Pao Kosher Comedy founder/organizer; and Arline Geduldig, Lisa’s mom (just because).
The laughs go down at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $10-$20. You can access the show at www.koshercomedy.com/lockdown-comedy.
Invitation to ‘Utopia’: Playwright and professor Charles L. Mee is well-known among fans of avant-garde theater for his radical reworkings of classic texts and eclectic site-specific works. He reinvented Aeschylus’ ancient “The Suppliants” as an edgy modern war-between-the-sexes comedy titled “Big Love” (not to be confused with the TV show). And his 2014 work “Pool Play” has audience members sitting at the edge of a pool to watch a show about — wait for it — the history of swimming pools. His latest work, “Utopia,” which will be live-streamed by San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday, looks at the world through the eyes of a 9-year-old girl (played by Chris Steele, who is an adult) in a cafe pondering the future and other big questions and being visited by an offbeat cast of characters. The show incorporates theater, dance (performed by members of the Bay Area’s RAWdance troupe), art and animation. After its debut, “Utopia” will be available on demand through Nov. 15. Tickets are $30; go to cuttingball.com/.
All that jazz: You get the feeling that the lovely theaters at the SFJazz Center — with their exquisite acoustics — are probably loved as much by performers as they are by audiences. SFJazz won’t be hosting audiences anytime soon, but a new streaming concert series is bringing musicians back inside the center. The series’ first performance features the extraordinarily talented (and Berkeley-raised) pianist Benny Green, who performed inside SFJazz Center’s Miner Auditorium. The $10 show will also be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Monday (including a Q&A with the musician) and then available on demand through Nov. 15. Check the center’s website for new shows in the series. But that’s not all that’s going on at SFJazz. The center’s Friday night virtual concert series, Fridays at Five, continues with shows by San Francisco singer Mary Stallings and pianist Bill Charlap and his trio (Oct. 16); Bay Area blues great Taj Mahal (Oct. 23) and Mexican singer Lila Downs (Oct. 30). And from Oct. 21-25, the center will be streaming the SFJazz/Opera Parallèle production of Terence Blanchard’s acclaimed 2016 work “Champion: An Opera in Jazz,” which follows the tragic story of boxing world champion Emile Griffith. You have to be an SFJazz subscriber to access the concerts, which costs $60. Go to www.sfjazz.org.