By Joseph Sargent
For a rare chance to hear some free opera right in your own backyard, don’t miss the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s upcoming production of Handel’s Alcina! A concert version of this treasured opera will be performed Saturday, March 5th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 6th at 2 pm, in the Conservatory’s Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall at 50 Oak Street.
Alcina is a sorceress who bewitches men into loving her before turning them into stones, animals and plants. The opera’s story centers on the knight Ruggiero, who has fallen under Alcina’s spell, and his fiancée Bradamante’s efforts to rescue him. “We chose to perform Handel’s Alcina because it is filled with astonishingly beautiful music,” says Corey Jamason, co-director of the Conservatory Baroque Ensemble, which is producing the opera. “Although the story is at first glance somewhat incredible, involving a sorceress and a magic island, it is in truth a very modern story which explores love in all its different aspects.”
Aside from the chance to hear some exquisite music by fine singers, the Alcina production offers a glimpse into the Conservatory’s burgeoning historical performance program. Over the last several years this program has grown by leaps and bounds, presenting early music through the baroque ensemble as well as through faculty concerts, guest artist appearances and master classes by celebrated artists. Each spring the program focuses on one large-scale composition, with Alcina serving as this year’s capstone.
Of course, the Conservatory also offers hundreds of additional performances of all stripes, with concerts and recitals happening on a daily basis. Highlights of the spring season include several performances by an outstanding student orchestra, new music under the BluePrint series, and master classes and recitals by world-renowned pianist Menahem Pressler and violinist Robert Mann.
Tickets are required for the free performances of Alcina and can be obtained by calling the Conservatory Box Office at 415.503.6275. For more information, visit sfcm.edu.