This past June the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) announced that the featured guest artists for the 2015–16 Opening Gala would be the actor Patrick Stewart and baritone Nathan Gunn. Stewart would be featured in the role of Henry Higgins in selections from My Fair Lady (music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner). It was also announced that the program would begin with a performance of Ottorino Respighi’s “Roman Festivals.”
Yesterday it was announced that soprano Alexandra Silber would also appear to take the role of Eliza Doolittle alongside Stewart’s Higgins. Silber sang the role of Maria in Davies Symphony Hall in 2013 when SFS gave a concert performance of the complete score for Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, a performance that was subsequently released on SFS Media the following year. It was also announced that Gunn would sing selections from two of the major classic Broadway musicals by the team of composer Richard Rogers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, Carousel and South Pacific. Additional artists remain to be announced, and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) will conduct.
Specifics for this occasion are worth repeating: The concert will begin at 8 p.m. in Davies on Thursday, September 24. Tickets are now available through the SFS event page. Single tickets are only available in the 1st Tier ($300) and 2nd Tier ($170). They include the complementary pre-concert wine reception that takes place in the Davies lobby beginning at 7 p.m. and access to the after-party in the Tent Pavilion at 10 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 415-864-6000 and at the Davies Box Office, located on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue at Franklin Street.
Also available for purchase are formal dinner packages which include all the benefits of single ticket admission along with a 5 p.m. cocktail reception, a 6 p.m. dinner, and preferred seating for the concert. There are four options:
- Patrons’ Dinner: cocktails in the Davies Lobby; dinner in the Tent Pavilion
- Wattis Room Dinner: cocktails in the Davies Lobby; dinner in the Wattis Room (adjacent to the Davies Box Office)
- Symphony Supper: cocktails in the South Light Court of City Hall; dinner in the Grand Rotunda of City Hall
- Symphonix Dinner Party: cocktails in the South Light Court of City Hall; dinner in the North Light Court of City Hall
Prices begin at $425. Each option has its own hyperlink on the event page, which provides further information about the benefits, the different price levels, and the amount of the price that is tax-deductible. These packages are also available by contacting the Volunteer Council at 415-503-5500. Décor for all venues (Davies, the Tent Pavilion, City Hall, and Grove Street) will be provided by Blueprint Studios and GotLight. All dinners will be catered by McCall Associates.
Traditionally the Opening Gala is followed by the All San Francisco Concert. This is a special performance in Davies for San Francisco social service and neighborhood organizations, as thanks for the work these groups do to enrich the lives of and serve the citizens of San Francisco. Volunteers and employees are invited to this concert from such organizations as Huckleberry Youth Program, La Casa de las Madres, the Boys and Girls Club, and others. Organized through the Orchestra’s Volunteer Council, the annual All San Francisco Concert has been underwritten by Wells Fargo for over 30 years. Attendance is by invitation only, and all invitations have already been awarded.
Because of the SFS European Summer Festivals Tour, it was decided that the All San Francisco Concert would be held prior to that tour. As a result, the concert will take place tomorrow night (Thursday, August 20). Pianist Yuja Wang, who will join MTT and SFS for the tour, will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 58 (fourth) concerto in G major. The program will begin with Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 43b set of variations on a theme and conclude with Beethoven’s Opus 55 (“Eroica”) symphony in E-flat major (his third). (The first two works on the program will be performed again the following night at the first of two tour preview concerts that MTT has prepared.)
The Opening Gala will still be followed by the first two subscription concerts of the 2015–16 season. These will also feature a performance of “Roman Festivals,” which will conclude, rather than begin, the program. The featured soloist will be pianist Daniil Trifonov, who will join MTT in a performance of Frédéric Chopin’s Opus 21 concerto in F minor. The instrumental works on the program will be Maurice Ravel’s orchestral version of his “Menuet antique” and the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s opera La scala di seta (the silken ladder).
This concert will be given two performances, both at 8 p.m. in Davies, on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26. Tickets are now available through the SFS event page. Ticket prices are between $15 and $158. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 415-864-6000 and at the Davies Box Office, located on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue at Franklin Street.