May 30, 2024
From a new "Romeo and Juliet" in San Jose to a play about a wolf boy in Berkeley, there is a lot to see and do in the Bay Area this weekend.

From a new “Romeo and Juliet” in San Jose to a family-friendly opera in Walnut Creek to a play about a wolf boy in Berkeley, there is a lot to see and do in the Bay Area this weekend and beyond.

Here is a partial roundup.

Classical picks: ‘R&J’; S.F. Opera gala; ‘3 Feathers’

Opera companies are launching the 23-24 season in style: “Romeo and Juliet” at Opera San Jose, a gala concert at San Francisco Opera, and a fairy tale work at Solo Opera highlight the calendar for this weekend. Here’s a look.

“Romeo and Juliet”: Charles Gounod’s romantic take on Shakespeare’s tragedy of star-crossed lovers opens Opera San Jose’s fall season in a new production by company general director Shawna Lucey. Tenor Joshua Sanders is Romeo, and sopranos Melissa Sondhi and Jasmine Habersham alternate as Juliet. The cast also features baritone Efrain Solís as Mercutio and tenor Alex Boyer as Tybalt. Joseph Marcheso conducts.

Details: Sept. 9-24; California Theatre, San Jose; $50-$195; 408-437-4450; operasj.org.

S.F. Opera’s Gala Concert: It’s a big weekend for San Francisco Opera: the company launches its 101st season with an Opening Night Concert hosted by star tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak. They and additional artists will perform a selection of opera solos and duets, conducted by company music director Eun Sun Kim. And serious opera lovers won’t want to miss the next day’s annual Free Opera in the Park in Stern Grove: it’s a tradition.

Details: Concert 8 p.m. Sept. 8; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; $30-$300; Stern Grove concert 1:30 p.m. Sunday; free; 415-864-3330; sfopera.com.

“The Three Feathers”: Solo Opera director Sylvia Amorino brings this enchanting, family-friendly opera by Lori Laitman and librettist Dana Gioia to Walnut Creek for two performances. With soprano Shawnette Sulker singing the central role of the Princess, the production features a 15-member cast, full orchestra, and 21 members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, on a beautiful set designed by Peter Crompton.

Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 8 and 2 p.m. Sept. 10; Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; $25-$55; 925-943-7469; lesherartscenter.org.

— Georgia Rowe, Correspondent

It’s a festive weekend

The Bay Area’s late summer festival season is in full swing. Here are some highlights for this weekend.

Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival: Eat gumbo, jambalaya, chowder, crawfish, calamari and more while listening to live music on three stages, including Pete Escovedo on Sept. 10. Also included are jet ski races, live cooking demos, a carnival and wine and beer pavilions.

Details: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9-10 in Old Town Pittsburg; $20, free for kids under 12; free shuttle; www.pittsburgseafoodandmusicfestival.com

Mountain View Art & Wine Festival: This 51st festival will feature artisan booths, food and wine, entertainment, a collaborative paint temple, Gabby’s Dollhouse and other children’s activities and a Pigskin Lounge for football viewing.

Details: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 10; along Castro Street; mvartwine.com.

Solano Avenue Stroll: One of the East Bay’s largest street festivals, this 47th annual event boasts 400 artisans, jewelers, makers, entertainers, food purveyors and community booths.

Details: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10; along Solano Avenue in Berkeley and Solano, with early “strollish” on Saturday to support merchants; free admission; solanoavenueassn.org

Antique Autos in History Park: History San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club host the the largest annual antique auto show in the West, with pre-1946 vehicles. Trolley rides, music, children’s activities are also included.

Details: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 9; 635 Phelan Ave., San Jose; $10 general, $8 seniors, $5 youth; historysanjose.org/programs-events/

— Linda Zavoral and Brittany Delay, Staff

Flower Piano sprouts again

The annual Flower Piano happening in the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is a happy extravaganza that invites pianists, accomplished or rank amateur, to plunk themselves down at any of the dozen pianos scattered throughout the garden’s 55-acre expanse.

But professionals are also engaged to entertain at various points during the festival, which opens with a special event tonight and runs through Sept. 12. One definite highlight will be Bay Area radio host and nationally renowned pianist Sarah Cahill’s 1 p.m. Saturday collaboration with fellow keyboardist Regina Myers on the U.S. premiere of a piece by Japanese composer Mamoru Fujieda, “Sprites in the Large Camphor Tree.” The duo will perform several other pieces, including works by Meredith Monk and Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Details: Admission to the festival is free after the $10 general admission to the Botanical Garden; advance tickets are recommended; sfbg.org/flowerpiano.

— Bay City News Foundation

Shakti returns

During the freewheeling heyday of the rock/jazz fusion era in the 1970s, one of the most revered guitarists making the scene was John McLaughlin. His otherworldly fretwork talents were matched with a restless yearning to bring rock and jazz to places no one had brought them to. He founded the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971 with such other explosive talents as drummer Billy Cobham and keyboardist Jan Hammer, and the band became revered for its dizzying and complex sound merging jazz, rock, psychedelia, classical Indian music and other sounds. After the group, beset with internal divisions, dissolved, McLaughlin formed Shakti with acclaimed tabla master Zakir Hussain to further explore the marriage of rock and Hindustani and Carnatic Indian music forms.

Like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti developed a passionate following with its intense, complex and brilliantly delivered songs and performances. The band toured extensively for several years before largely going quiet, although McLaughlin and Hussain rejoined in the 1990s to form a band called Remember Shakti that performed and recorded for several more years. Then in 2020 McLaughlin and the Bay Area based Hussain reunited again as Shakti (just Shakti), adding vocalist Shankar Mahadevan and other musicians. The band in June released its first album in 46 years, “This Moment.” The band has since launched its first major tour in 16 years, with two Northern California stops. More about the concerts is here.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at UC Davis’ Mondavi Center; $29-$95; www.mondaviarts.org; 8 p.m. Sept. 9 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco; $50-$175; www.sfjazz.org.

— Bay City News Foundation

Pack mentality: In Hansol Jung’s new play “Wolf Boy,” the 6-year-old “Boy” at the center of the story decides he relates more to wolves than humans. And you can hardly blame him. ““Wolves suck at being alone,” the boy, Jeenu, observes at one point. “Wolves need family.” But this Korean-born lad’s journey toward being part of a family is not exactly a traditional one. He is adopted by a young American couple who subsequently decide they can’t handle him, especially after they begin to prepare to have their own biological child. So they decide to “rehome” Jeenu via the internet, and he winds up at the home of a lesbian couple, one of whom is an aspiring boxer.

It’s a harrowing turn of events for poor Jeenu told with humor, poignancy and puppetry, as “Wolf Boy” explores what it means to be a family, and to need others, in the fractured landscape that is the 21st century. After a well-received off-Broadway debut last year, “Wolf Boy” is getting a production by Berkeley’s Shotgun Players.

Details: Through Oct. 1; Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley; $30-$46; also available for live-streaming Sept. 14 and 21 and on demand ($20 each); shotgunplayers.org.

— Bay City News Foundation

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