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Native Writers’ Theater @ SF Playground - Harriet’s Spirit @ Opera Parallèle - Dido and Aeneas @ Opera San Jose - Peter Robinson

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This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Sarah Cahill talks with playwrights Shannon Davis and Matt Kizer about An Evening of New Native Plays (Nov 23-26) at SF Playground. Also conversations about the new opera Harriet’s Spirit (Nov 13-14), with composer Marcus Shelby and librettist Roma Olvera; and about the baroque opera Dido and Aeneas (Nov 13-28), with lead singers Nikola Printz (Dido) and Efraín Solís (Aeneas). Plus, Peter Robinson asks dramaturg Philippa Kelly: What was Shakespeare thinking?

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Sarah Cahill talks with playwrights Shannon Davis and Matt Kizer about An Evening of New Native Plays (Nov 23-26) at SF Playground. Also conversations about the new opera Harriet’s Spirit (Nov 13-14), with composer Marcus Shelby and librettist Roma Olvera; and about the baroque opera Dido and Aeneas (Nov 13-28), with lead singers Nikola Printz (Dido) and Efraín Solís (Aeneas). Plus, Peter Robinson asks dramaturg Philippa Kelly: What was Shakespeare thinking?

An Evening of New Native Plays runs November 23-26, as part of the 2021 Innovators Showcase at SF Playground, California’s leading playwright incubator and theater community hub. Presented by Native Writers’ Theater, the program includes three short new works by local Native American playwrights.

Guests are playwrights Shannon Davis and Matt Kizer, who is also artistic director of Native Writers' Theater. Matt Kizer’s Starlings centers on an Urban Indian having a crisis after hours at a museum. Shannon Davis is co-writer (with five other authors) of Braided, an “intergalactic, pan-dimensional, haunted, Noh-inspired, fall-down-the-proverbial wormhole in Native American liberation and Japanese resilience.”

Joining the conversation for SF Playground is artistic director Jim Kleinmann. The 3rd annual Innovators Showcase, which features new works by SF Playground’s entire 2021 Innovator Incubator Cohort, runs November 16 -December 5 at Potrero Stage (1695 18th St.) in San Francisco, with all shows simulcast via Vimeo Live.

We talk with composer and jazz bassist Marcus Shelby and librettist Roma Olvera about the world premiere of Harriet’s Spirit, a new opera by Opera Parallèle (Nov 13-14). This one-act opera tells the story of a young girl who is inspired by her hero, 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman, to find the courage and empowerment to overcome bullying. Opera Parallèle gives three performances of Harriet’s Spirit, at the historic Bayview Opera House (4705 3rd St) in San Francisco, the cultural hub of the city’s African-American Arts and Cultural District.

From Opera San Jose, we talk with mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz and baritone Efraín Solís, who perform the respective title roles in a new production of Purcell’s baroque masterpiece, Dido and Aeneas, (Nov 13-28). With this production, Opera San José makes its much-anticipated return to live performances at the historic California Theatre (345 South 1st Street) in San José.

Plus, Open Air’s regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, talks with Cal Shakes dramaturg Philippa Kelly about What was Shakespeare thinking?, which is also the subject of her talk at the Marin Philosophical Society on November 15, with commentary on Macbeth, The Tempest, and other plays.

Open Air with guest host Sarah Cahill, heard live on Thursday, November 11 at 1pm, to be archived thereafter at this very location until the Internet dies. Listen now or anytime… 

Niels Swinkels is a freelance journalist, musicologist, sound engineer, and radio producer. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied English and Musicology at the University of Nijmegen. Before moving to San Francisco, he was the Arts Editor, and Senior Classical Music & Opera critic for Brabants Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper. In addition to producing KALW’s Open Air, a weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, he is also a wine guy at Trader Joe’s Nob Hill in San Francisco...