Shades, Ghosts and Birds: San Francisco Ballet’s Program 3

My first glimpse of the magic that is “The Kingdom of the Shades” came when I was sixteen, via the opening sequences of the film The Turning Point. The music, the image of twenty-four women attired in white, descending a tiered ramp through silvery lighting, striking arabesques in perfect synchronicity, haunted me. Particularly once I got some … Read more

Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16”

Back in 2014, I attended Ballet San Jose’s “Neoclassical to Now,” the opening program of their dance season. Balanchine’s Serenade and Jorma Elo’s Glow-Stop were recognizable and memorable, but I knew nothing about the evening’s third piece, Israeli choreographer’s Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16. During the intermission just prior, someone dressed in a dark suit jacket … Read more

Be my Lupercalia Valentine

So, a hunt for the origins of Valentine’s Day produces a variety of conflicting stories. Allow me to share my findings. Everyone seems to agree that centuries before Valentine was ever born, a festival called Lupercalia was celebrated annually. Back in the 700’s BC, Rome was but a shepherd settlement and hungry packs of wolves prowling … Read more

High Drama: Frank Almond and the Lipinski Strad

One doesn’t think of the career of a professional violinist as being fraught with peril and high drama, but on the night of January 27th,  violinist Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and founder of the popular “Frankly Music” series, was leaving a chamber music performance in Wisconsin when a stranger approached him … Read more