9 great concerts and shows to see this weekend

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There a lot of great concerts, stage shows and dance recitals to catch in the Bay Area this weekend. Here is a partial rundown.

Dance picks: Frida & Diego, ‘Cinderella,’ ODC

Here are three performances Bay Area dance fans should know about.

Peninsula Ballet Theatre: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are among the most beloved painters in history, whose works have inspired countless other paintings, not to mention movies, music, books and even a dance program that you can catch this weekend in San Mateo. Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s “The Paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Movement” features company dancers performing choreography inspired by specific elements of some of Rivera and Kahlo’s most famous paintings. The work, created by Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco’s artistic director Zenón Barrón, debuted at Peninsula Ballet in 2012, but is being revived (with some alterations) this weekend in a program that also features “Carmen Suite,” company artistic director Gregory Amato’s reimagining of the classic “Carmen” set to a score by Soviet composer Rodion Shchedrin.

Details: 7 p.m. April 1, 3 p.m. April 2; San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware St.; $30-$60; www.peninsulaballet.org.

Cinderella: San Francisco Ballet is reviving famed British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s adaptation of the iconic fairy tale, set to Prokofiev’s gorgeous score. A co-production with Dutch National Ballet, “Cinderella” got its U.S. premiere a decade by S.F. Ballet. It features Brothers Grimm-inspired costumes by Tony-winning designer Julian Crouch and a stunning magic tree by San Francisco-native puppeteer Basil Twist. In all, the production calls for 197 roles and 370 costumes.

Details: March 31 through April 8; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; $29-$455; www.sfballet.org.

ODC: Each year, ODC/Dance, San Francisco’s venerable 52-year-old contemporary ballet company, settles in at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for a short residency to perform the appropriately titled Dance Downtown program. And there are always some choreographic gems in the offing. This year’s two-part Dance Downtown program features two world premieres, both of which seem to speak directly to our times. “Witness,” by the acclaimed Bay Area dancemaker Amy Seiwert, “is an investigation of loss, hope and strength. Of not looking away, even when it’s uncomfortable,” as the choreographer herself puts it. It’s set to music by Hildur Guðnadóttir, Ezio Bosso, Anna Clyne and Jody Redhage. And “Collision, Collapse and a Coda,” a work by ODC founding artistic director Brenda Way, examines the crushing effects of the 24-hour news cycle and non-stop flow of data and information. The work is set to music by composers ranging from Aphex Twin to Chopin. The performances also include revived works by Way and KT Nelson, Dexandro Montalvo, Heather Desaulniers and more.

The series includes the company’s March 31 gala, which features a post-show reception.

Details: 7:30 p.m. March 29 (preview); 7:30 p.m. March 30, April 1 and 2, and 8 p.m. March 31 (gala); $25-$100 for regular performances; tickets start at $190 for gala; odc.dance.

— Randy McMullen, Staff, and Bay City News Foundation 

Classical picks: MTT, Tetzlaff, Kronos Quartet, more

Here are four concerts classical music fans should know about.

Tetzlaff plus two: Violinist Christian Tetzlaff always dazzles in his solo appearances; this week, he returns with his Tetzlaff Trio, featuring his sister, Tanja Tetzlaff, and pianist Lars Vogt. Their program includes works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Smetana. Details: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lesher Center, Walnut Creek, 3 p.m. Sunday at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; 7:30 Monday at Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto; $34-$70; chambermusicsf.org.

MTT and Mahler: Michael Tilson Thomas, now the San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director Laureate, returns to Davies Symphony Hall this weekend for a work he knows well: Gustav Mahler’s turbulent Sixth Symphony, which Thomas conducted and recorded during his tenure as orchestra music director. Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco; $45-$185; sfsymphony.org.

Kronos and Wu Man: Saturday brings the Kronos Quartet to Cal Performances; joining forces with frequent collaborator Wu Man, they’ll play Terry Riley’s “The Cusp of Magic” for string quartet and pipa, an alluring Chinese lute. Steve Reich’s award-winning “Different Trains” and Tan Dun’s “Ghost Opera” complete the program. Details: 8 p.m. Saturday; Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley; $29-$88; calperformances.org.

Harpsichord hero: Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, who was a hit in Cal Performances’ 20-21 @Home streaming series, routinely presents Baroque works alongside new compositions. He’ll do so in an April 2 in-person appearance, performing music by Bach, Scarlatti, and William Byrd, along with the U.S. premiere of Brett Dean’s homage to Byrd, titled “Byrd Song Studies” for solo harpsichord and pre-recorded voices.

Details: 3 p.m. April 2, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley; $34-$68; calperformances.org

— Georgia Rowe, Correspondent

Dance and poetry with John Santos

More than a Bay Area institution, Oakland percussionist John Santos is like a nightclub, library, and righteous protest rolled into a rhythmic current connecting West Africa and the Caribbean to California.

A longtime Freight & Salvage curator who brings spectacular but under-exposed Latin American ensembles to the Berkeley venue, he takes over the Freight stage himself for two nights this weekend with his peerless sextet featuring Dr. John Calloway on flute and percussion, saxophonist Charlie Gurke, bassist Saul Sierra, pianist Marco Diaz, and drummer David Flores. Saturday’s “For Those Who Dance” program offers a hard-charging set of Cuban and Puerto Rican grooves with special guests Jose Roberto Hernandez and Juan Luis Pérez on vocals as well as and timbales great Orestes Vilató (who toured and recorded with the seminal Fania All-Stars in the 1970s).

For Sunday’s “Rhythm and Word” concert the sextet is joined by some of the region’s finest spoken word artists, including Oakland Poet Laureate Ayodele Nzinga, Peruvian-born Adrian Arias, emcee Rico Pabón, and Avotcja (who can often be heard a few doors up at the California Jazz Conservatory versifying with Electric Squeezebox Orchestra).

Details: 8 p.m. April 1, 7 p.m. April 2; Freight & Salvage, Berkeley; $26-$30; www.thefreight.org.

— Andrew Gilbert, Correspondent

Art with a pulse

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a media artist born in Mexico and based in Montreal, is obsessed with communication. He once set up stations on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border where people could shine spotlights at each other to open up remote-audio conversations. And after modeling the fluid dynamics of human breath, he created the world’s “first 3D-printed speech bubble” — gross-out alert, it looks like a booger-shaped cloud.

Lozano-Hemmer’s visions are the subject of the retrospective “TECHS-MECHS” in the Mission District, itself a hotbed of cross-cultural dialogue. In a funny twist, what looks like a security camera shows videos of people disabling surveillance cameras in Mexico City. A robotic noose twitches every time ICE made an arrest in 2019 (that would be every 3 to 4 minutes).

The show’s dazzling centerpiece is a hanging web of 3,000 light bulbs pulsing to different people’s heartbeats. You can stick your hand under a sensor and have your own pulse sucked into the luminescent network, where it remains part of the artwork until other people (rude!) eventually push it out.

Details: Through May 31; Gray Area gallery, 2665 Mission St., San Francisco; hours are 1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; $20 (free for Mission residents); grayarea.org.

— John Metcalfe, Staff

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