Yes, opera season is now upon us, but the biggest event of the week is the final Bay Area performance of Black Sabbath this Thursday at the Oracle Arena. Billed as "The End" tour, it's one final go-round for the band's original members, except for drummer Bill Ward, who had issues he couldn't resolve with his former bandmates and is being replaced by Tommy Clufetos. I caught Sabbath's show in Bristow, Virginia last month and was impressed -- they've probably never sounded better despite the fact that Clufetos is no Bill Ward (or at least better than they did in the late 70s, when the band was often performing sloppy, drug-addled sets).
Music & Opera:
The word of mouth is positive on San Francisco Opera's season opening-production of Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier. No one's raving about Yonghoon Lee's acting abilities in the title role, but kudos for the singing and staging are coming from those who've seen it. Wednesday and Saturday this week, continuing through September 30. I've no word yet on the premiere of Bright Sheng's Dream of the Red Chamber, on stage Tuesday and Sunday, continuing through September 29.
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts three symphonic pieces with the San Francisco Symphony Wednesday through Saturday: Beethoven's 5th, Haydn's 69th, and Sibelius' 3rd.
Justin Rock performs a free noon-time show in Levi's Plaza Wednesday at noon.
The Billy Hart Quartet, featuring Ethan Iverson (from the Bad Plus), Mark Turner, and Ben Street play the Joe Henderson Lab at SFJazz Thursday & Friday.
Flying Lotus and Funkadelic play the Fox in Oakland Thursday and Friday.
The New Century Chamber Orchestra begins its 25th season, its last under Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, with Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 in C Major. Also on the program are Philip Glass' Symphony No. 3, Anton Webern's Langsamer Satz, and Peter Heidrich's Happy Birthday Variations. At venues across the Bay Area Wednesday through Sunday.
It probably won't be as kick-ass as Ryhs Chatham's A Secret Rose, but the West Coast premiere of David Lang's questionnaire, which features over 100 guitars, takes place on Sunday afternoon at the SF Conservatory of Music, and it's free. Stick around afterward for "The Good Ol' Dollar Bill," a program "highlighting songs about social justice, economic inequality, and treasuring the small things in life from vaudeville and early American and British musical theatre. Works by Rodgers and Hart, Noël Coward, Marc Blitzstein, Kurt Weill, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern," also free, performers TBA as of this writing.
Scordatura, aka cellist Hannah Addario-Berry's solo and collaborative project, returns to the Center for New Music on Thursday with music from her recent album and new material from local composers.
Vinny Golia's Large Ensemble gets together to celebrate the composer's 70th birthday with -- what else -- a very large ensemble this Saturday evening in Berkeley with a lengthy roster of Bay Area musicians from the contemporary music/improv scene. They'll likely make some astounding music.
From the what-year-is-this-category, the Strawberry Alarm Clock (with The Turns) are at The Chapel on Saturday, brought to you by The Acid Test. Stay away from the Mickey Mouse blotter.
Porches is at The Independent on Sunday.
Given advance word-of-mouth, the highlight of ACT's season will likely be their coproduction with Seattle Repertory Theatre and Washington DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company of Mike Bartlett's King Charles III, a fictional take on what happens when Elizabeth dies and Charles ascends the throne with Camilla and the boys in tow. The barbed comedy garnered raves in New York and London, winning the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play.
Othello is the final production of this year's Cal Shakes season, opening Thursday night in Orinda with a great cast: Aldo Billingslea as the Moor, James Carpenter as Iago, and Liz Sklar as Desdemona. Eric Ting directs.
The San Francisco Fringe Festival continues at the Exit and PianoFight. Word is Blonde Poison is not to be missed -- it's a one-woman show based on the true story of Stella Goldschlag, who took the chance to save herself and her parents from Nazi death camps by agreeing to work for the Gestapo and inform on Jews in hiding (Friday and Saturday).
Custom Made Theatre is staging Chess, the musical featuring lyrics by Time Rice and music by Benny and Björn of ABBA. It opens Thursday for a three-week run at their Sutter Street theater.
Things Reveal Themselves Passing Away opens Friday at ZBelow. The plot concerns a couple in their early 40s making decisions about raising a family described as "a coming of middle-age comedy about ambivalence in a world of unlimited choice." Let's leave that right there, shall we San Francisco?
Bulgarian provocateur Ivo Dimchev, in partnership with SFMOMA’s Open Space and Jess Curtis/Gravity, brings a concert performance to CounterPulse on Wednesday.
The 25th West Wave Dance Festival, featuring dancers from across the Bay Area takes place at ZSpace Wednesday - Sunday.
Party and Art Exhibition: Opening night of Tom Sach's Space Program: Europa is Friday night at YBCA. Large crowds are expected for the first five-hour marathon demonstration of Sach's installation about astronauts landing on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, drilling into the ice, them heading back to Earth, with a time-out for a Japanese tea ceremony.
Barry Lyndon is at the Balboa on Thursday, while BalboaCon takes place at the theater all weekend. I put off seeing Barry Lyndon for years due to its length and its star, and when I finally sat down and watched it I regretted waiting for so long. Don't be like me.
The Castro has an entire week great programming, ranging from the cult hits of Blue Velvet and John Waters' Multiple Maniacs to the iconic Seven Year Itch and Grease (sing-a-long version).