San Francisco Symphony
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / UPDATED JANUARY 12, 2018
(High resolution images of Michael Tilson Thomas and Emanuel Ax are available for download from the San Francisco Symphony’s Online Photo Library. Photo credit L to R: Stefan Cohen, Lisa Marie Mazzucco)
SEASON-LONG CELEBRATIONS OF BERNSTEIN’S BIRTH CENTENNIAL CONTINUE WITH PERFORMANCES OF CANDIDE, JANUARY 18–21
Candide cast includes tenor Andrew Stenson in the role of Candide, soprano Meghan Picerno as Cunegonde, soprano Vanessa Becerra as Paquette, soprano Sheri Greenawald as The Old Lady, baritone Hadleigh Adams as Maximilian, and baritone Michael Todd Simpson as Narrator and voice of Voltaire/Pangloss
Emanuel Ax performs Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14, January 11–13
January 11–13 concerts also include R. Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) conducts the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in two unique concert programs during the month of January. January 11–13 concerts include Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and R. Strauss’ lively tone poem Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, which follows the story of a spirited and sometimes mischievous hero. The program also features internationally acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto. Schoenberg’s 1942 Piano Concerto is written as a single-movement work with four sections and includes neoclassical elements similar to the large form music of Mozart, while still utilizing his iconic twelve-tone technique. The two concertos, though written nearly 200 years apart and harmonically very different, are both rooted in the Viennese tradition.
On January 19–21 MTT and the SFS continue the season-long celebration of Bernstein’s birth centennial with performances of a full concert version of the composer’s satirical comic operetta Candide, featuring an all-star cast that includes tenor Andrew Stenson as Candide, soprano Meghan Picerno as Cunegonde, soprano Vanessa Becerra as Paquette, soprano Sheri Greenawald as The Old Lady, baritone Hadleigh Adams as Maximilian, and baritone Michael Todd Simpson as Narrator and voice of Voltaire/Pangloss, as well as members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin. Candide is Bernstein’s adaptation of Voltaire's 1759 novella Candide, ou L’Optimisme. The tale follows the wide-eyed hero Candide whose trips to distant points of the globe invariably turn into dismal misadventures, much though he may be assured by his idealistic tutor Doctor Pangloss that everything is for the best. It is a satirical coming-of-age narrative that explores issues of social justice, religion, politics, and the meaning of “optimism.” The concert version of Candide presented in these performances was created for the Scottish Opera in 1988—the score carried the notation “Adapted for Scottish Opera by John Wells and John Mauceri”—and was unveiled by that company on May 19, 1988, at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. This version of Candide has been performed by the SFS once before in April 1993, with David Zinman conducting.
January 19–21 concerts include a special pre-concert “Informance,” in lieu of the regular “Inside Music” lecture. Nina Bernstein Simmons and George Steele have created a unique pre-concert presentation with piano accompaniment to offer audiences greater insight into Candide. The presentation is designed to be informative and entertaining, an ‘informance.’ The work will run about 30 minutes in length and feature Leonard Bernstein’s son, Alexander Bernstein, for the first two performances, and his daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons for the following two performances. Peter Grunberg will accompany all four performances on the piano. The “Informances” will begin at 7pm on January 18, 19, & 20, and 1pm on January 21.
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