Is Here We Are Stephen Sondheim’s Falstaff?

Stephen Sondheim’s self-reverential Here We Are

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim notoriously resisted the idea that his musicals were operas. He would recoil at any comparison between his score for Here We Are, the show he was still tweaking at his death two years ago, and Verdi’s for Falstaff, but it keeps nagging at me.

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Sleek and lively Bach and Schubert in San Francisco

United StatesUnited States Legion Chamber Music – J. S. Bach, Schubert: Alexander Barantschik (violin), Peter Wyrick (cello), Anton Nel (piano and harpsichord). Presented by San Francisco Symphony, Gunn Theater at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 3.12.2023. (HS)

Alexander Barantschik (violin), Anton Nel (piano), Peter Wyrick (cello) take bows after the Schubert Trio © Harvey Steiman

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A high-level cast and ‘La Dolce Vita’ setting charm from the get-go in San Francisco Opera’s The Elixir of Love

United StatesUnited States Donizetti, The Elixir of Love: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of San Francisco Opera / Ramón Tebar (conductor). War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, 26.11.2023. (HS)

Pene Pati (Nemorino) drunk on the ‘elixir’ and members of the chorus © Kristen Loken/SFO

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Gustavo Dudamel and a cuatro virtuoso take San Francisco Symphony on a great ride

United StatesUnited States Ortiz, Grau, Brahms: Jorge Glem (cuatro), San Francisco Symphony / Gustavo Dudamel (conductor). Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, 25.11.2023. (HS)

Ovation for Odisea with composer Gonzalo Grau, cuatro soloist Jorge Glem and conductor Gustavo Dudamel © Harvey Steiman

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Breathing forests and village weddings energize the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen

United StatesUnited States Stravinsky, Smith: James McVinnie (organ), Lauren Snouffer (soprano), Kayleigh Decker (mezzo-soprano), Paul Appleby (tenor), David Soar (bass), Hillary Leben (animator), San Francisco Symphony Chorus (director: Jenny Wong). San Francisco Symphony / Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor). Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, 18.11.2023. (HS)

Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony perform Stravinsky’s Les Noces (animation by Hillary Leben) © SFO

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