Music in ‘Angel Heart’ opera soars over storyline

It’s Sunday night, and Hertz Hall’s theater is dark but packed full of people. No one dares to move or speak as a chilling trill cuts through the silent air. More strings chime in, and the stage is illuminated to reveal a small orchestra of cellos. Their sound is crisp,
Read More…


Yo-Yo Ma quartet concert is cross-genre controlled chaos

Crowds seated in chairs, music free of audience participation and applause limited to breaks between songs are not typical sights or sounds at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre. On Aug. 24, Cal Performances brought a new kind of show to the venue — “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” a collaborative project featuring
Read More…

Emanuel Ax Photographer: J. Henry Fair

Polish pianist Emanuel Ax awes at Zellerbach

As soon as Emanuel Ax stepped onto the Zellerbach Hall stage, the anxiously chattering crowd quieted down, took their seats and burst into boisterous applause. The concert hall was filled to the brim for the world-renowned Polish pianist on Nov. 13, a testament to the artist’s acclaim. Even before the
Read More…


Fran Lebowitz goes road-tripping

In New York City, sometime in the early hours of October 30, a car made its way uptown. The streets were unusually empty for that hour (or any hour in NYC). A hurricane was in town and instead of the benign ambivalence with which the city usually greets new arrivals,
Read More…


Jazz Hands: Chucho Valdes reflects on his place among his jazz predecessors

For the uninitiated: Jazz, though underpinned by a malleable lattice of chords and rhythms, relies heavily on improvisation and invention. But originality is not always the prerequisite for inspiration. Often, performers call upon the genius of their forebears and insert snippets of past work into their performance. “Those are invoked,”
Read More…


‘Einstein on the Beach’ mesmerizes Zellerbach

Writing a review of “Einstein on the Beach” is a  profound challenge. The opera is hailed as one of the crowning artistic achievements of the 20th century and remains among the most important contributors to modern performance culture. And yet, despite the glitz and glamor surrounding the opera, the endless
Read More…