San Francisco Ballet bursts into 2020

At last the San Francisco Ballet has returned to the stage at the War Memorial Opera House, commencing with their 75th anniversary performance of Nutcracker, North America’s first full-length production, a fact we SFB patrons are mighty proud of. The Nutcracker run has finished, alas, and as we burst into the New Year, my eye is now … Read more San Francisco Ballet bursts into 2020

Holiday Therapy: Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”

I first heard César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus” in December when my husband and I were living in London. While holiday shopping, I picked up a compilation CD entitled “Sacred Songs for Christmas,” drawn by the fact that some of the songs and carols were new to my American ears. Back home, I gave the CD … Read more Holiday Therapy: Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”

La Sylphide: the most important classical ballet you’ve probably never seen

   All right, a show of hands: who’s seen the 1832 ballet, La Sylphide?  {{Looks around}} Yup. I’m not surprised. And for the record, I didn’t raise my hand either. But its importance came to mind last week, as I was researching for a Top 10 Classical Ballets list and found myself indecisive about the … Read more La Sylphide: the most important classical ballet you’ve probably never seen

The Halloween-ness of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique”

It’s October, Halloween is here and I am obsessed with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Blame it on the title and mood of the symphony’s fifth movement: “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath.” Could any title be more deliciously spooky? It’s this movement, and this symphony, that make classical music people nod in recognition at the sound of … Read more The Halloween-ness of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique”

A monster, a violin – and an Oscar?

It’s rare to see the violin celebrated in popular movies, let alone those geared toward children. We can only imagine the positive effect such a film might have on youth involvement in music, though, and that’s what makes the new DreamWorks animated film Abominable so refreshing. In case you’re not familiar with it, the movie … Read more A monster, a violin – and an Oscar?