Our annual Summer Festival & Academy is now expanded to include an additional weekend of performances, more free public events to bring you closer to the excitement that surrounds our annual Academy—now in its 10th year—along with stunning programs of absolutely sensational musical works, and ventures into new and imaginative territory.
Of course, the focus on major works from the Baroque is still at the core of our Summer Festival, voted “Best of the Bay” by SFCV readers. All-time favorites including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Bach’s Mass in B Minor will be presented with Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate and Terpsicore, Lotti’s “Mass for Three Choirs”, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (in an important newly researched version), Geminiani’s imaginative and picturesque Enchanted Forest, and endearing concertos about frogs and crickets by Telemann. Also new this summer: A “Coffee House Concert” featuring our amazing Academy musicians and “Bach Explorations” including “Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond” and “Bach Re-Imagined.”
A trilogy of festive events marks the mid-point of the season. ABS’s annual “Sparkle!” Gala offers “An Enchanting Evening in Spain” celebrating the Culture, Dance, Landscape, and Music of Spain and the musicians who were inspired by that beautiful country. The evening’s exclusive concert will feature Telemann’s wonderful Burlesque de Quixotte, a light-hearted tribute to the novel Don Quixote by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.
Our annual tradition of performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral perennially provide a treasured December holiday event to capacity audiences. The crystalline voices of the American Bach Choir and the silvery sheen of sonorities brought by ABS’s period-instrument orchestra meld with the majestic interior of San Francisco’s Nob Hill landmark.
And—back by popular demand—we will again usher in the new year with “A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera” in San Francisco’s beautiful Herbst Theatre, featuring the burnished mezzo-soprano voice of Sarah Coit, a prize winner at the esteemed Handel Aria Competition, and San Francisco Opera favorite, baritone Hadleigh Adams.
Our annual Subscription Series follows January through May 2020. Now named the “Connoisseur Series,” it will provide opportunities for our audiences to delve deeper into the amazing repertoire of the Baroque era, offering the anticipation and excitement of works that may be less well-known than some, but that are spellbinding, enchanting, and powerful in their effectiveness.
In 2020, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen will return as the solo artist in a program featuring Vivaldi, Bach, Buxtehude, Hoffmann, and Muffat.
Heinrich Schütz’s deeply moving Musikalische Exequien will be performed alongside Bach’s magnificent “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” (Cantata 106) and vividly dramatic works by North German composers Bruhns, Buxtehude, and Weckmann.
The season finale brings concerts of Bach’s fascinating Missa in A Major, a truly unique and imaginative work, and Handel’s setting of exquisite poetry by John Dryden, the Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day, a tribute to the patron saint of music.