KQED’s Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great events around the Bay Area this week.
We couldn't fit in all the shows we wanted to this week -- a reminder of how culturally lucky we are in the Bay Area. Here are two big ones: The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir is hosting an interfaith gospel conference, with a free performance on Saturday, April 29, at the Oakland Convention Center. Details here. And the Berkeley Symphony is closing its season with a rare performance of Shostakovitch's Symphony No. 13 ("Babi Yar"), with Christian Reif conducting. Details here. Now for the show.
April 28: Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill always finds creative ways to mix entertainment with spirituality. They've invited Kev Choice and his ensemble along with Lateef the Truth Speaker, Zion I, Foxtails Brigade, students from the Oakland School for the Arts and others for an evening titled Music of the Spheres. That's an ancient concept describing how the planets and the stars create a grand galactic music as they orbit. It's a tough standard, but these terrific local bands should be up for it, and the cause is just. The event is a fundraiser for the fight against child trafficking. Details here.
April 27- May 14: My Name is Rachel Corrie may be a litmus test on your feelings about Israel. It's a play about the young American activist, a native of Olympia, Washington, killed in Gaza in 2003. She was run over by an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer, as she protested Israeli efforts to demolish a house that the IDF said was hiding a tunnel for smuggling weapons. A documentary about Corrie shown at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival eight years ago drew strong protests from supporters of Israel, and we may see that again, with lots of comments already online on a story by J Weekly. The 2005 one-woman play, based on Corrie's diaries and letters, is by actor/director Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner, with actress Charlotte Hemmings as Corrie. Details for its run at the Magic Theatre are here.
April 28-30: We’re in the realm, now, of scholarly obsession with a great musical payoff, we hope. Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Music Director Nicolas McGegan has always wanted to mount a full production of Jean Philippe Rameau's opera-ballet The Temple of Glory, with a libretto by Voltaire, one of the great political satirists of the age. It was first performed at Versailles for King Louis XV in 1745, but it hasn’t been done since then (except for a music-only ballet suite) because nobody could find a complete copy. It turns out UC Berkeley's Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library has what may be the only existing edition with music, lyrics and stage directions. So now McGegan is leading three performances of the piece with the help of Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall this weekend. There's a nice topicality to the libretto, says McGegan, a commentary by Voltaire for kings and, perhaps, presidents. “A great king, worthy of glory, is not a conqueror or a tyrant, but one who makes his people happy.” Details here.