KQED's Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great shows around the Bay Area this week.
March 31-April 3: Bach composed a number of motets for double chorus, always for special occasions, and the American Bach Soloists (ABS) have programmed a full evening of these ethereal choral works. Music director Jeffrey Thomas led the ensemble in two of these pieces,"Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" and "Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir" at the 2012 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, but ABS has added works for double chorus they say have only recently been attributed to Bach, which sounds like a promise of musical discovery. Details for the concert in Belvedere, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Davis are here.
March 30-April 23: Needles and Opium is a play about Miles Davis and his love for French singer Juliette Greco and heroin in the Paris of 1949, as well as movie director Jean Cocteau's dalliance with New York City and opium the same year. It's an odd concept, but exactly what we might expect from French-Canadian theater director Robert Lepage. This revival of Lepage's 1989 piece will be performed in a cube hanging over the American Conservatory Theater's Geary Stage with an acrobat playing Miles Davis. Lepage's work, at its best, is always a dazzling, disorienting puzzle. Details for the San Francisco run are here.
April 6-16: In The Town Hall Affair, New York's The Wooster Group brings to life a real-life debate from 1971 between the writer Norman Mailer, a hardcore macho chauvinist, and some of the biggest names in second wave feminism, including Germaine Greer, Jacqueline Ceballos, and Susan Sontag. The play is based on a documentary about the evening, Town Bloody Hall, made under challenging conditions by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. The theatrical result should be maddening and enlightening. Details for the run of Town Hall Affair at Z Space in San Francisco are here.