Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fresh Voices X / Phillip George

This year San Francisco Opera will present no new operas, but Goat Hall Productions / San Francisco Cabaret Opera will produce ten this month alone.

Billed as Fresh Voices X, the extended weekend of June 17-20 features contemporary works "xploring" the dark sides of life yesterday and today in two programs styled as X at the Heart of America" and X in the Soul of Europe and Beyond.

The former theme, while including stories of loneliness and alienation, celebrates the spirit of adventure and the will to survive. The latter entails re-tellings of classic tales with new twists. All performances feature a panoply of talented singers, accompanied by pianists Hadley McCarroll and Keisuke Nakagoshi, under the direction of Harriet March Page.

Program A (8pm, Thursday, June 17, and Saturday, June 19) presents the world premiere of Trifles by John G. Bilotta, to a libretto of John F. McGrew, after the story and play by Susan Glaspell. The soulful five-member cast (Michael Desnoyers, Alexandra Jerinic, Nathan Kondrat, Nathaniel Marken, and Maria Mikheyenko) and six-piece chamber orchestra will be conducted by Martha Stoddard. The instrumental ensemble is additionally featured in Mark Alburger's Job: A Masque, where God (Nanette McGunness) and Satan (Crystal Philippi) play dice with human lives (Marilyn Pratt, Kate Bautch, Sarita Cannon, and Heather Lauren Klein)

The evening also includes a fantasy re-creation of an "Xpresident" in Chris Whittaker's George Bush: The Last Hundred Days,with Meghan Dibble, Chelsea Hollow, and Marken; the irony-soaked one-woman (Raina Simons) show Life is Fine by Edward Knight; and the Daniel Felsenfeld / Elizabeth Isadora Gold role reversals of The Bloody Chamber, where Bela Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle gets a new ending from Jo Vincent Parks, Indre Viskontas, and McGuinness.

Program B (Friday, June 18, 8:00 pm & Sunday, June 20, 7:00 pm) will leave one yearning for more in The Hunger Art, by Jeff Myers / Royce Vavrek, with a lean-and-mean cast of Joshua Beld, Justin Marsh, Eliza O’Malley, Sophia Santulli, and Dibble. David Garner's Medea Alone, with Kristen Brown, and Mark Narin's Theresa Kren, featuring Katherine Howell and Tristan Robben will give new meaning to danger, while the Alden Jenks / Frank Polite Letter from Linda (Viskontas and Cannon) and Robert Denham's Sutter Creek (where Wayne Wong is joined by Bautch, Cannon, and Klein) will provide poignancy and humor.

All performances will be held at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Advance tickets sales are $20 general admission and$15 seniors, students, and Theatre Bay Area members. Tickets at door are $25 and $20. Seats may be reserved online (goathall.org) or by calling 415-289-6877 or email (hartmpage@aol.com).