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AASC: Othello - Claude Heater: Nabucco - Theatre of Yugen - Oakland Symphony - James Tissot


David Latulippe in conversation with maestro Michael Morgan about the Oakland Symphony's new season....

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with actors L. Peter Callender and Michael Ray Wisely (pictured), about the production of Shakespeare’s Othello by the African American Shakespeare Company (AASC), which runs from October 12-27 at the Marine’s Memorial Theatre (609 Sutter St.) in San Francisco, opening the company’s 25thseason.

AASC artistic director L. Peter Callender plays the title role for the first time in his career. Michael Ray Wisely makes his company debut as Iago. Set in contemporary Washington DC and Syria, the production will focus in on Othello’s status as an outsider, one who grew up with a strong Muslim background, as part of a military gang in Africa. Opposing cultures, roles, customs, families, traditions and Othello’s marriage to a young Christian white woman all play a part in how the tragedy unfolds. 

Following last year’s succes of the concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, the Claude Heater Foundation is going to present a concert version with full orchestra and chorus of Verdi’s opera Nabucco, on October 20 (3pm) at the Congregation Sherith Israel (2266 California St.) in San Francisco. We talk with dramatic soprano Juyeon Song, who is co-founder & director of the Claude Heater Foundation, and also the lead singer in this production. 

From the Theatre of Yugen, we talk with artistic director Nick Ishimaru and artistic associate Shannon Davis, who both perform in their Halloween show Puppets & Poe, which runs through November 2 at NOHSpace, the company’s venue at 2840 Mariposa Street in San Francisco. 

Puppets & Poe brings together a troupe of unique performers - circus performers, dancers, musicians, actors, poets, writers - who have combed through literally all of Poe’s writings, to create this show of mystery and the macabre to kick off the Halloween season. 

Plus, we talk with music director and conductor Michael Morgan of the Oakland Symphony, about the 2019-20 season which opens on October 11 (8pm) at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland with a concert titled Hot as Hell/Cool Jazz. On the program the Prologue from the opera Mefistofele, by Italian composer-librettist Arrigo Boito (1842 - 1918), performed together with the Oakland Symphony Chorus and children’s chorus. Plus a new work by pianist Taylor Eigsti, featuring Josiah Woodson on trumpet. 

Open Air’s regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, reviews the remarkable life and oeuvre of the enigmatic French-born painter James Tissot (1836-1902) in the first exhibition dedicated to this artist on the US West Coast,  James Tissot: Fashion & Faith at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, through February 9, 2020. Also, a review of Just Mercy, the opening film of the Mill Valley Film Festival, featuring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. 

Open Air with host David Latulippe; heard live on Thursday, October 10 at 1pm. Listen now or anytime...