During the summer months the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) offers their Summer & the Symphony concert series, which departs from the strictly classical repertoire with a more diverse set of offerings, including the usual round of fireworks on the Fourth of July. Nevertheless, the classical side of the repertoire is not entirely neglected. As I did about a year ago, I wanted to review those opportunities that may satisfy those who prefer the classical repertoire here in San Francisco.
As usual, the first of these will be the annual free concert given by SFS in Stern Grove. This year will see the return of one of the more impressive soloists to perform with SFS, soprano Measha Brueggergosman. With Edwin Outwater (formerly SFS Assistant Conductor) on the podium, Brueggergosman will perform four songs by Henri Duparc, “L’invitation au voyage,” “Phidylé,” “La vie anterieure,” and “Au pays où se fair la guerre,” as well as a selection of songs by George Gershwin. Outwater will also conduct Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” as will as the Suite pastorale by Emmanuel Chabrier and the first suite that Georges Bizet compiled of music from his opera Carmen.
This concert will be presented as part of the annual Stern Grove Festival. The entrance to Stern Grove is as the northwest corner of 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. The performance will take place on Sunday, July 7, at 2 p.m. Like all Stern Grove Festival events, no tickets are required; and the concert is free.
SFS will also participate in this summer’s America’s Cup Concert Series. Assistant Conductor Teddy Abrams will present a program entitled Best of Tchaikovsky with the San Francisco Symphony. Violinist Nicola Benedetti will join SFS to perform the Opus 35 violin concerto in D major. The other Tchaikovsky selections will include two of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s best-known overtures, his “overture-fantasy” inspired by William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” and the Opus 49 “1812 Overture” in E-flat major. The program will begin with the popular waltz from the Opus 66 score composed for the ballet The Sleeping Beauty.
This concert will be presented at the America’s Cup Pavilion, which will be San Francisco’s first outdoor waterfront concert venue. It will be located between Piers 27 and 29 on the Embarcadero. The performance will take place on Saturday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are being managed by Live Nation and sold online through an event page on the Ticketmaster Web site. Prices, including handling fees, are $20 and $40 for bleacher seating and $40 and $89 for seating on the floor. The event page includes an interactive map to facilitate seat selection.
This summer there will also be a second free concert. This will include repeat performances of two of the Tchaikovsky selections, “Romeo and Juliet” and the Sleeping Beauty waltz. There will also be music from Aaron Copland’s score for the ballet “Rodeo,” along with Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” The program will begin with the overture from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 84 incidental music composed for the play Egmont by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It will also include John Williams’ music for the opening credits of the film The Cowboys.
This free concert will be presented in Dolores Park, located at the corner of Dolores Street and 18th Street in the Mission; and it will take place on Sunday, July 21, at 2 p.m.
Finally, there will be three classical concerts in Davies Symphony Hall. They will all begin at 7:30 p.m. Here is a summary of the specific dates, giving conductor, soloist, and selections for each of the programs along with a hyperlink to the specific event page on the SFS Web site:
- Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Teddy Abrams conductor
Valentina Lisitsa piano
Beethoven Egmont Overture, Opus 84
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Opus 37
Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92
- Friday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Teddy Abrams conductor
Benjamin Grosvenor piano
John Williams Overture to The Cowboys
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Bernstein Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
- Tuesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Edwin Outwater conductor
Nikki Einfeld soprano
Hugh Russell baritone
San Francisco Symphony Chorus Ragnar Bohlin, director
Orff Carmina Burana
Ticket prices for these concerts range from $15 to $75, except for the final concert, whose range is $35 to $146. There is also a half-price discount for all those aged seventeen and younger that applies for the first two concerts. Tickets may be purchased through the event page given in the above hyperlinks. They are also available at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street or by calling 415-864-6000.