Chanticleer Goes Romantic
One of the world’s best male choruses, Chanticleer hits up its native San Francisco with bell-like harmonies and songs of desire, pain, and euphoria - basically, the sound of every emotion to ever trail hopefully after love.
Bonus: one their tracks graces the new Brad Pitt/Sean Penn movie, The Tree of Life. So if you want to hear this Grammy award-winning orchestra of voices live, check it out. (Amazing sound, no Brad Pitt - you'll have to weigh your priorities.)
June 3 and June 12. San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street. Tickets are $20-44 at (415) 392-4400. (Additional dates in Santa Clara, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and Napa.)
No disrespect meant to Pandora's fine Christmas stations, as they're one of the many reasons we dearly love the internet, but there’s just something about the rush of human voices filling a cathedral that makes you think of pine trees and candy canes and those hotly-debated red cups. So here’s a roundup of seasonal choral performances in case you need some extra holiday spirit or Pandora goes down.
Werther at San Francisco Opera
If you want to hear some truly amazing operatic vocalists, San Francisco Opera’s Werther is your ticket this month. Ramon Vargas, a tenor with a voice that impresses even the most opinionated of critics, plays one of his signature roles, a poet suffering from that nasty unrequited love. Alice Coote brings her world-renowned vocal chops to the stage as his romantic interest, and they bellow their hearts out in this musical tale.
At 8 p.m. last Saturday, in a pitch-black St. Ignatius Church, an audience of some 1,300 people sat motionless in the dark. What kept us that way was was 12 male voices, unaccompanied by anything but candlelight and including one astonishing soprano, singing 15th-century plainsong. I couldn't get a photo, of course, so the above shot (of Chanticleer rehearsing before the show) will have to do. There's something about this music that made me think, Why bother with anything else that's been composed in the last, oh, six hundred years?