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Spirit and Bones ~ Silent Night Elegy ~ Chekhov's ‘Ward 6’ ~ Tea With the Dames

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with choreographer Sarah Bush about the world premiere of her new dance project Spirit and Bones,  which features an intergenerational cast of 15 women, from ages 23 to over 70. All performing artists are Bay Area dance luminaries, who have created their own masterworks, institutions and legacies in the dance world. 

Among them are Joanna Haigood, Elvia Marta, Priscilla Regalado, Richelle Donigan, Joan Lazarus and Sue Li Jue.  Spirit and Bones is an evening-length production which highlights female resilience in times of darkness, the tenacity of the solo woman, and the ferocious love and strength generated by community. The performance features an original score performed live by Skip the Needle, a rock/soul/funk project out of Oakland. Members and composers Vicki Randle and Julie Wolfe will also be in the KALW studio and join the conversation.  

Spirit and Bones runs October 26, 27 (8pm) and 29 (7pm) at the Wilsey Center for Opera at the War Memorial Building (401 Van Ness Ave) in San Francisco. 

From new play theater Central Works in Berkeley, we talk with actors Ed Berkeley and Richard Frederick about their roles in Gary Graves’ adaptation of Ward 6, an 1892 short story by Russian writer Anton Chekhov. The narrative is set in a shoddy provincial hospital in the remote backwoods of the Russian countryside with a special unit for the mentally insane, Ward 6. 

Dr. Andrei Ragin (Richard Frederick) is the director of the hospital, who develops a strange friendship with Ivan (Ed Berkeley), a remarkable inmate of the mental ward. Performances are through November 11 at the historic Berkeley City Club (2315 Durant). 

We have a conversation with American composer Kevin Puts, about the San Francisco Symphony’s world premiere performance of his Silent Night Elegy, an instrumental piece based on his own, Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night from 2011. 

The orchestra performs Silent Night Elegy under the baton of Romanian-born conductor Cristian Măcelaru. Concerts are on October 25, 26 and 27 (8pm). Also on the program: the suite from Richard Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier, Lalo’s violin showpiece Symphonie espagnole with violinist Ray Chen as soloist, and another new composition, Masquerade by Anna Clyne. 

Plus, our regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, reviews two movies: Tea with the Dames (Nothing Like a Dame), a documentary with and about four of the world’s most celebrated actresses: Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith; and also the movie The Old Man & the Gunan American crime comedy, written and directed by David Lowery, featuring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and Sissy Spacek. And he gives a preview of Late Czarist Russian Artistic Brilliance, a two-day program of lectures, discussions, and musical performances about Russian art, music, and literature from the twilight years of Czarist Russia, at Humanities West on November 2 and 3. 

Open Air with host David Latulippe, heard live on Thursday, October 25, at 1pm. Listen now or anytime…