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Lawrence Renes conducts ‘Billy Budd’ - Zephyrus Woodwinds Live - Gregory Taboloff: ‘The Mystic’

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with conductor Lawrence Renes (pic 2) and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn (pic 3), from the San Francisco Opera production of Benjamin Britten’s provocative and challenging opera Billy Budd

Britten’s masterpiece of law and order on the high seas is based on an unfinished novella by Herman Melville and set to a libretto by E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier. The staging of this production is by Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage and premiered at the 2010 Glyndebourne Festival. 

Lawrence Renes conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and an all-male cast of 75 artists, including 44 men from the San Francisco Opera Chorus and 8 boys from the Ragazzi Boys Chorus. Billy Budd opens on September 7 at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, and runs through September 22.

We have a live in-studio performance by members of Zephyrus Woodwinds,  a wind quintet consisting of Diana Gomez (flute), Kathy Conner (oboe), Karen Wells (clarinet), Susan Vollmer (French horn), Tom Hill (bassoon), on the occasion of their concert on September 8 (7pm) at the Swedenborgian Church (2107 Lyon Street near Washington St.) in San Francisco. 

Zephyrus Woodwinds performs a program with music from the avant-garde to the lyrical, the disruptive to the pastoral. Zephyrus will highlight lauded composers who aren’t celebrated enough - including two contemporary female composers. The ensemble performs  a multi-cultural array of works, which sing the bluesy tones of Summerland, dance the Cuban Danzón, explore medieval miniatures written for a 1939 film, celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa, and visit an American Methodist Meeting House.

Plus, a conversation with Bay Area composer-pianist Gregory Taboloff, who is soloist in his own Piano Concerto No. 1, The Mystic, in a concert on September 8 (3pm) at the Herbst Theater (401 Van Ness Ave.) in San Francisco. 

Evoking the spirit of the works of great Russian romantics, Taboloff’s Piano Concerto draws inspiration from Walt Whitman’s poem The Mystic Trumpeter. Also on the program: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute. Conductor David Ramadanoff leads an ad-hoc orchestra of pro musicians from around the Bay Area. 

Open Air with host David Latulippe; heard live on Thursday, September 5 at 1pm. Listen now or anytime...