Cal Performances has announced its plans for the 2018-19 season, continuing its Berkeley RADICAL project, with strands called ‘Citizenship’ and ‘Women’s Work’. Executive and Artistic Director Matias Tarnopolsky (who recently announced he’ll be leaving at the end of this season to become President of the Philadelphia Orchestra) presented the lineup with Associate Director Rob Bailis.
The complete schedule can be found at the Cal Performances website.
The Mark Morris Dance Group pays tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a work that was a co-commission from Cal Performances (its premiere last year was, fittingly, in Liverpool). It has a score by jazz pianist Ethan Iverson, both original music, and adaptations of the songs from the album. It’s one of the very early offerings, coming the first week of the season, right after the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plays a Duke Ellington-inspired concert at the Greek Theatre, with Wynton Marsalis and the Late Show’s Jon Batiste as special guest. At the end of that week, Yo-Yo Ma gives a recital of all six of the unaccompanied cello suites of J.S. Bach in another Greek Theatre performance.
The ‘Citizen’ strand of Berkeley RADICAL (Research And Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, and Learning) this season includes a co-commissioned oratorio by composer Jimmy Lopez and librettist Nilo Cruz (who together wrote the opera Bel Canto a few seasons ago). It’s called Dreamer, and it’s about immigration, based on the real stories of many Bay Area (and Cal student) immigrants they interviewed in doing research for the piece. The West-coast premiere will take place in March, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra. Berkeley is also one of only five stops in the U.S. the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and conductor Daniel Barenboim will make while on tour. The orchestra, which is made up of Israelis and Arabs has been proving the helpful role music and shared culture can play in reducing conflict between groups of people. There are also dramas, including a German adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People by Berlin’s Schaubühne theater company, and Barbershop Chronicles by Nigerian-born Inua Ellams.
‘Women’s Work’ includes the mariachi singer Aida Cuevas in concert, singing tunes made famous by Juan Gabriel; Sasha Waltz & Guests performs a revival of her groundbreaking Körper (Bodies), a work that uses the bodies of 13 dancers in a variety of interactions and tableaux, combining architecture and movement. Another work, which was a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Festival is Mouthpiece, by the Quote Unquote Collective – two women play different halves of the same character’s brain: a woman whose mother has recently died. Big Dance Theater (which Tarnopolsky points out is neither Dance nor Theater) presents 17c, a work that looks at the misogynist Diary of Samuel Pepys through the lens of a feminist contemporary of his, mixed with music and spectacle.
Other Cal Performances favorites return: Peter Sellars stage directs a performance of Orlando di Lasso’s Tears of Saint Peter, sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale; there are also appearances by the Takacs Quartet, the Silkroad Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Tallis Scholars, Murray Perahia, David Finckel and Wu Han, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns for its annual residency in April.