Regular readers know that we are coming up on a very busy weekend. The original summary, written last week, offered three alternatives for Sunday; but that was followed this past Monday by five more events on the same day, all in the “bleeding edge” category. Yesterday afternoon, however, I learned of yet another option for Sunday; and it deserves both attention and bit of background.
The event is the latest offering from a group that calls itself the Fête Concerts series. It was founded in 2014 by two coloraturas, Anne Hepburn Smith and Chelsea Hollow, both students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The title was chosen to indicate that each performance would be a festive occasion, such as honoring a significant birthday. As described on their Web site, the aim was “to put the ‘art’ back into ‘party’ while educating and entertaining through discussion and musical performance.” Concert dates are determined by important anniversaries in the celebrated artist’s life. As the group has developed and matured, it has acquired a Composer-in-Residence, Eric Choate, who provides a new composition that reflects on the style of the honoree. In addition, pianist Paul Dab has joined Choate, Hollow, and Smith to constitute a board of directors.
Composers to be so honored have included Richard Strauss, Aaron Copland, and Stephen Sondheim. This past September the group’s second season began with a concert in celebration of the “dynamic sister duo” of Nadia and Lili Boulanger. The second concert of the season will be held this Sunday, which is Benjamin Britten’s birthday.
The program will offer a diverse selection of Britten compositions. Dab will play his early Opus 5 suite entitled Holiday Diary, in which the “holiday” is a summer vacation, rather than a specific festive day. In addition, he will be joined by flutist Victoria Hauk for a performance of the Opus 73 “Gemini Variations,” a set of twelve variations and fugue that Britten based on an epigram by Zoltán Kodály. Participating vocalists will be sopranos Hollow and Yemonja Stanley, mezzo Johanna Bronk, and tenor Nicholas Harmantzis. Vocal works will include selections from On this Island (Opus 11), Charm of Lullabies (Opus 41), and Britten’s seven volumes of folk song arrangements. There will also be scenes from two of the operas, The Turn of the Screw (Opus 54) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opus 64). Both during intermission and after the recital, artists will join the members of the audience to discuss the music over a selection of local wine, cheese, and fresh baked goods. Party hats are also included with the price of admission!
This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 22. It will be held in the Capp Street Concert Hall of the Community Music Center at 544 Capp Street in the Mission, located between Mission Street and Sound Van Ness Avenue and between 20th Street and 21st Street. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.