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The Case of the Vanishing Firefish - California Symphony: Brahms Fest - Snapshot @ West Edge Opera

Ashima Yadav

Open Air with host David Latulippe; 30 January 2020; California Symphony segment. Producer: Niels Swinkels...

Open Air with David Latulippe; 30 January 2020; Snapshot - West Edge Opera segment. Producer: Niels Swinkels...

This week, on another web-exclusive edition of Open Air, KALW’s weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with co-founder and director Vinita Sud Belani from theatre company EnActe Arts, about The Case of the Vanishing Firefish, a fantasy fiction voyage inspired by both Harry Potter  and The Da Vinci Code

The Case of the Vanishing Firefish  is a new play, based on the original novel Ayesha and the Firefish, written by London-based tech and digital entrepreneur Ajay Chowdhury, who is a founding investor in Shazam. The novel is is based on a series of bedtime stories told by Chowdhury to his daughters. 

The Case of the Vanishing Firefish  revolves around a 10-year old girl named Ayesha (Daya Dipak, pictured), who lives in London with an overworked hedge fund manager Mom and a former hedge fund manager, now stay-at-home Dad who enjoys Feng Shui  and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, leaving the intelligent, intrepid Ayesha free to explore Hermione style adventures with a complete lack of caution, in an attempt to solve the disappearance of bioluminescent phytoplankton in the world’s oceans. 

The production features feature video projections by designer and film director, David Murakami. Performances are January 31-February 2  at the Cubberley Theatre (4000 Middlefield Road) in Palo Alto. 

We have a conversation with music director Donato Cabrera about the all-Brahms concerts that he conducts with the California Symphony on Saturday February 1 (8pm) and Sunday 2 February (4pm), at the Lesher Center for the Arts (1601 Civic Dr.) in Walnut Creek. 

On the program Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 and No. 6, the Symphony No. 3 and the Concerto for Violin and Cello, with as soloists cellist Oliver Herbert, and violinist Alina Kobialka, who were both members of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra when Cabrera led that ensemble.  

Plus, an edited conversation Sarah Cahill had on "Revolutions Per Minute" with curator Brian M. Rosen and several composers about Snapshot, by West Edge Opera, showing new works of opera in an informal concert setting, produced together with Earplay New Chamber Music Ensemble. 

The works discussed: "Gilberto" by Nicolas Lell Benavides, and librettist Marella Martin Koch, about a young Latino American who celebrates one last night out dancing with his friends in Oakland's historic Sweet's Ballroom before shipping off to the Korean war. 

Also on the Snapshot  program: Eighteen Melodies for Hujia, with music and text translation by Joan Huang, with a score that echoes the ancient Chinese wind instrument named in the title; El Canguro, (music: Peter Michael von der Nahmer; libretto: Cynthia Lewis Ferrell), about an impoverished young woman in the South American rainforest who bears babies that her father then sells to the lucrative adoption market; and Moon, Bride, Dogs  (music: Ryan Suleiman; libretto: Cristina Fríes) which is  a surreal reimagining of a deeply troubling fairy tale, in which the moon greets a mysterious girl who has fallen from the sky.

Snapshot  performances are on Friday January 31 (8pm) at Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline St.) in Berkeley; and on Saturday February 1 (8pm) at the Taube Atrium Theater (401 Van Ness Ave) in San Francisco.

Open Air, with host David Latulippe, taped live for broadcast online on Thursday, January 30, 2020. Listen now or anytime…