At a glance ……

The Omar Sosa Quartet – Courtesy SFJAZZ

Omar Sosa in residence at SFJAZZ

Cuban pianist Omar Sosa – “… one of the truly illuminated minds of world jazz ….” (Billboard) is causing something of a stir on the San Francisco jazz scene this week – he’s in residence at SFJAZZ for four performances. In two of these, Sosa performs with his Quarteto AfroCubano – Ernesto Simpson on drums, electric bassist Childo Tomas and Leandro Saint-Hill on saxophone and flute. Sosa’s special guest is percussionist John Santos, one of the founding artistic directors of SFJAZZ.

These performances are followed by an evening with the Omar Sosa JOG Trio, with Joo Kraus on trumpet, percussionist Mino Cinelu, and special guest Yosvany Terry on saxophones. In his final performance, Sosa appears as part of the GFS Trio, with Trilok Gurtu on percussion and Paolo Fresu on trumpet and flugelhorn.

High praise for Sosa comes from the Chicago Tribune, which writes: “Although Cuba has produced more than its share of leonine jazz pianists, Sosa stands out among them because of the crystalline beauty of his touch and the nimbleness of his technique”.

For more information and tickets, visit

Saleem Ashkar – Courtesy Saleem Abboud Ashkar

Saleem Ashkar in recital in Berkeley

Saleem Ashkar – who, according to the Berliner Morgenpost balances “thoughtfulness and virtuosic abandon with playfulness and beauty of sound” – gives a recital of music by Beethoven at Hertz Hall in Berkeley this week. He was given his opportunity to shine by none other than Zubin Mehta who invited Ashkar to perform the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra when he was just 17 years old.

For more information and tickets, visit the Cal Performances website.

Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and Peter Mattei as Onegin in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – © Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Met Opera’s Eugene Onegin Live in HD

In its current Live in HD broadcast series, the Metropolitan Opera this week presents Tchaikovsky’s heartrending adaptation of Pushkin’s verse novel, Eugene Onegin.  This production – a revival of Deborah Warner’s staging which opened the Met’s 2013-14 season – is led by British conductor Robin Ticciati, and hosted by Renée Fleming.  It stars Anna Netrebko as the naïve heroine Tatiana, Peter Mattei in the title role, with Alexey Dolgov as Onegin’s one-time friend Lenski, Elena Maximova as Tatiana’s sister Olga, and Štefan Kocán as Prince Gremin.

According to the New York Times, “Ms. Netrebko put everything on the line during the great ‘letter scene’ … Her distinctive sound, warm and sumptuous with a dusky cast, and her raw intensity combined to convey the longing and fear embedded in every phrase”. Of the “charismatic baritone” Peter Mattei, the New York Times wrote that he “…. sounded lustrous as the title character, vividly conveying Onegin’s transformation from the aloof, coldhearted bachelor who patronizingly rejects Tatiana to the heartbroken man who realizes, too late, that he loves her”.

Eugene Onegin will be staged at the Metropolitan Opera at 12.55 pm ET on Saturday, April 22, and transmitted live to cinemas across the country. Follow this link to find San Francisco cinemas and screening times.

Eugene Onegin will also be broadcast live in the Bay Area on Classical KDFC on Saturday morning at 9.55 am. Visit for frequencies, or to listen online.

Ragnar Bohlin and Capella SF – Courtesy Capella SF

Capella SF performs in Berkeley

Ragnar Bohlin, director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus for nearly a decade, is the inspiration behind the formation of the 24-voice Capella SF, regarded as one of the Bay Area’s most exciting new artistic ventures. This program includes music by Bach, Ola Gjeilo (a World Premiere) and Arvo Pärt, and the performance takes place at Hertz Hall in Berkeley on April 22.

For more information and tickets, visit the Cal Performances website.

Pianist Murry Perahia – Courtesy San Francisco Symphony

Murray Perahia in recital at Davies Symphony Hall

The San Francisco Symphony presents American pianist Murray Perahia in recital at Davies Symphony Hall on April 25 with a program of great masterworks for piano. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Murray Perahia is one of today’s most sought-after pianists, having performed with the world’s leading orchestra’s in major international music centers around the globe. Currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Mr Perahia is also an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, holds honorary doctorates from Leeds University and Duke University, and in 2004, was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.

His recital program, at Davies Symphony Hall, includes Bach’s French Suite No 6, Schubert’s Impromptus, D.935, Mozart’s Rondo in A minor, and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C minor, Opus 111.  For further information and tickets, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

Marc-André Hamelin – © Sim Canetty-Clarke


Leif Ove Andsnes – © Chris Aadland

Hamelin and Andsnes in recital

There’s an unusual opportunity to see internationally acclaimed pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin make a joint appearance in a two piano/four-hands recital, presented by San Francisco Performances early next week. The program is interesting as well, featuring three rarely-heard works – one of which is Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring performed as a Concerto for Two Pianos, the format in which Stravinsky originally published the score in 1913. It was this version which the composer played, with Claude Debussy at a private party in the home of French critic Louis Laloy. The other works on the program are Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro in E-flat major, and Debussy’s En Blanc et Noir.

Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin appear at the Herbst Theatre on April 25. For more information, and tickets, visit

The cast of ‘Noises Off’ at the San Francisco Playhouse – © Jessica Palopoli

Noises Off continues successful run at SF Playhouse

Susi Damilano’s marvelous production of Michael Frayn’s priceless comedy Noises Off continues to delight audiences at the San Francisco Playhouse. Acknowledged as one of the most popular plays in the world, this play-within-a-play, strips to the bare bones the backstage antics involved in producing a farce, in the process making fun of the world of the theatre, and those who move within its rarefied atmosphere, in truly hilarious fashion.

For more information, and tickets, visit the San Francisco Playhouse website.


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