No offense to anything else I'm going to list here, but the biggest event this month, and possibly this year (with the possible exception of the upcoming Einstein on the Beach at Cal Performances), is the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's special presentation of Abel Gance's stupendous epic Napoleon, in a more complete version than ever seen before (all hail Kevin Brownlow), with a new orchestral score, and the spectacular three-screen finale. At the Paramount Theater in Oakland 24, 25, 31 March and 1 April. It is the ultimate in romantic spectacle and silent-movie dazzlement, and full details are here.
There's a new music pile-up at the beginning of the month: the Other Minds Festival is 1-3 March at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco; BluePrint at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents the premiere of Anosmia by Neil Rolnick, along with Stefan Cwik's Eight Miniatures for Chamber Ensemble and Philip Glass's Harpsichord Concerto (3 March); Volti presents new choral works by John Muehleisen (with texts by Gertrude Stein! *swoon*), Robin Estrada, Reena Esmail, David Conte, and Huang Ruo (2-4 March in varied locations; Carol Muske-Dukes, the current Poet Laureate of California, whose poem on the sudden death of her husband is used as the text for Esmail's piece, will attend the 2 March program in San Francisco); and 1-4 March mandolinist Mike Marshall joins the New Century Chamber Orchestra to perform his own Concerto for Mandolin and Strings while mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg performs Vivaldi; the program also includes Shaker Loops by John Adams and several other pieces, in various locations as usual with NCCO.
Charles Dutoit leads the San Francisco Symphony in Stravinsky's Le Chant du Rossignol, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra (which should make a great showcase for the band), and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concert with Arabella Steinbacher, 1-3 March. The big event at the Symphony this month is the American Mavericks Festival, which opens 8 March. I'm not going to write about in much detail here except to say that it all looks great but I'm most looking forward to hearing Meredith Monk.
Earplay continues its "focus on Feldman" with its next concert, featuring works by Morton Feldman, Ellen Harrison, Charles Ives, and Erik Ulman, is Monday, 19 March, 7:30 at Herbst Theater.
San Francisco Performances offers: the Ebene Quartet playing Mozart, Borodin, and Ravel, on 8 March; Lera Auerbach on piano with Alisa Weilerstein on cello and soprano Lina Tetriani, performing works by Auerbach, on 14 March; Pierre-Laurent Aimard, playing Kurtag, Schumann, Liszt, and Debussy, on 27 March; and Ute Lemper and the Vogler Quartet, performing Weimar-era cabaret songs, on 31 March.
San Francisco Ballet presents Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson to Prokofiev's score. They also have two mixed programs; Program 6, featuring Act 3 of Raymonda (Nureyev after Petipa), RAkU (Yuri Possokhov to a score by Shinji Eshima), and an Ashley Page world premiere (untitled both on the website and in the brochure; the brochure says the music is by John Adams, but the website says nothing about the music) looks particularly interesting, but this is an impossible month and who knows if I'm going to get to any of this.
West Edge Opera presents a manga re-visioning of The Magic Flute on 4, 9, and 11 March.
The Berkeley Playhouse presents what looks like a lively adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance at the Julia Morgan Playhouse, 25 February to 1 April.
Cal Performances has quite a full slate, including Wolfgang Holzmair singing Winterreise (4 March), Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, singing the Mass in B minor (10 March), pianists Murray Perahia (11 March) and Richard Goode (25 March), the Eco Ensemble playing Martin Matalon, Liza Lim, Aaron Einbond, and Nico Muhly (24 March); and Marin Alsop leading the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: on 30 March the program includes fanfares by Aaron Copland and Joan Tower, the Percussion Concerto by Jennifer Higdon, and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony 5; on 31 March the program is Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, accompanying Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, so you have two opportunities this month to see a great silent movie (this one as intimate as Gance's Napoleon is epic).
Shotgun Players presents The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, the first play in Tom Stoppard's celebrated trilogy about intellectual and emotional ferment in pre-revolutionary Russia, 14 March to 15 April.
The ACT Master of Fine Arts Program presents Will Eno's The Flu Season, 1-10 March, at the Hastings Studio Theater, 77 Geary Street, 6th floor. I haven't seen The Flu Season, but I've enjoyed the several Eno plays I've seen at Cutting Ball Theater, so this should be worth checking out. And speaking of the Cutting Ball, their current show, Tontawald, runs through 11 March. I hope to post a full entry about it soon, but right now I just have to say I really loved it.
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players will be playing contemporary music in San Francisco on 26 March at Herbst, featuring works by Katharina Rosenberger, Brian Ferneyhough, Olly Wilson, Geoffrey Gordon, and Heinz Holliger.
The premiere screening of Lou Harrison: A World of Music, directed and produced by Eva Soltes, will take place on 6 March at the Castro Theater, with a special performance by Terry Riley before the film. The evening is a benefit for Harrison House Music & Arts. More information here.
The pile of brochures and print-outs I use to put these monthly lists together just seemed unending this month, like one of those fairy-tale porridge pots that keep giving and giving until everyone has more than enough porridge. So here is your jam-packed month: well, not jam-packed, but porridge-packed: pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot nine days old. . . . OK, I'm already getting loopy. Good luck to the rest of you with all this.
UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot Terry Riley at Old First Concerts, Friday March 23. . . .