The third production in the SF Opera Lab series of concerts being presented by San Francisco Opera (SFO) between March and May will feature musicians of the SFO Orchestra performing in two chamber music recitals given the collective title ChamberWORKS. Each of the programs will provide a unique combination of instrumental and vocal resources, performing compositions that, due to non-standard requirements, are seldom encountered at chamber music concerts. The performers on the first program will be violinist (and SFO Concertmaster) Kay Stern, cellist Emil Miland, hornist Kevin Rivard, and pianists John Churchwell and Mark Morash, along with tenor Brian Thorsett. The second program will feature current Adler Fellow soprano Julie Adams, as well as Craig Reiss and Jenny Cho on violin, Sergey Rakitchenkov on viola, Thalia Moore on cello, Olga Ortenberg-Rakitchenkov on harp, and Noah Lindquist on piano.
The first program will present the world premiere of “Bourne to Shelley” by Shinjhi Eshima setting the words of the poet Scott Bourne, scored for tenor, horn, and piano (Churchwell). Those same resources will be used for two other works on the program but with Morash taking the piano part. The program will begin with Franz Schubert’s D. 943 “Auf dem Strom” (on the stream), setting a poem by Ludwig Rellstab. This is one of two songs written during the last year of Schubert’s life that requires an obbligato part for an additional instrument. The other work set for tenor, horn, and piano will be Benjamin Britten’s third canticle (Opus 55), a setting of Edith Sitwell’s poem “Still Falls the Rain.” Rivard will also perform a virtuoso concert étude, a solo piece composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2000. The remaining instrumental works on the program will be David Conte’s 2011 piano trio (Morash playing with Stern and Miland), Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken VI/D1 duet for violin and cello (Stern and Miland), and Lou Harrison’s 1995 suite for cello and piano (Morash accompanying Miland).
The second program was only recently finalized and will involve an ambitious collection of relatively short compositions. The harp will be featured in a solo performance of “Whirlwind,” one of five preludes that Carlos Salzedo composed in 1917. There will also be an arrangement by Robert Boulay for viola with harp accompaniment of one of Marin Marais’ suites for viol. Adams will sing four selections, André Previn’s 1995 “Vocalise” (with Moore and Lindquist), Ernest Chausson’s “Chanson perpétuelle” (Opus 37, scored for voice and string quartet), Amilcare Ponchielli’s “Eternamente” (with Moore and Lindquist), and “Morgen” from Richard Strauss’ Opus 27 collection, accompanied by Reiss on violin.
Both of these concerts will be performed at 8 p.m., the first on Thursday, April 7, and the second on Wednesday, April 20. The venue will be the Taube Atrium Theater, part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. All tickets will be $35 for general admission seating. Tickets may be purchased online through two hyperlinks on the ChamberWORKS event page on the SFO Web site or by calling the SFO Box Office at 415-864-3330. Tickets will also be available at the door one hour before each show begins.