Category Archives: Music


written by Andrew Somervill



Written By Andrew Somervill


As the holidays approach, most people either get jolly or emotional reflecting on their past at times and searching for answers to some of life’s biggest questions; Why are we here?  Have we done enough?  Does our life have meaning?  These are some of the many questions that are posed in Frank Capra’s classic and heartwarming 1946 movie, “Its “A Wonderful Life”, about a frustrated businessman looking to end it all, until an angel appears to show him what life would have been like had he never existed.


The film has always been a holiday tradition and this past Friday, December 7th we had the pleasure of seeing the San Francisco Opera bring it to theatrical life and it was just a wonderful treat! The operatic version captured all the nuances, emotions and heartfelt feelings of the original film, giving attendees a nice boost of gratitude for life itself, especially in a World that sometimes seems to lack appreciation for the little things.  Composer Jake Heggie’s score rang beautifully throughout the War Memorial Opera House, as conductor Patrick Summers led the orchestra and cast powerfully and with absolute musical grace from beginning to end. The main Character George Bailey, played by Tenor William Burden, was astonishingly precise capturing the spirit of the character in this somber tale of dreams abandoned to make time to work and provide for the family, paying back loans and trying to get ahead. Definitely a tale many can relate to and that pulls heavy on the heartstrings.


Other notable performances came from the female cast including George’s wife Mary, played effortlessly by Soprano Andriana Chuchman, as well as George’s guardian angel who in the original film, was played by an old man named Clarence.  In this operatic version, Clarence is replaced by a female angel named Clara and played by Soprano Golda Schultz.  Shultz brought such a tremendous amount of sentimental value to the character, with an almost angelic vocal performance.


My inspiration for Opera night on the town was to find inspiration and appreciation for the arts and of course to see how the opera would interpret such a classic big tale.  Considering the original movie was over 2 hours long with a great plot and packed storyline, that was no easy feat. When I think of how synchronized all must be with the music to create the feeling of human drama in finding happiness and meaning in life, I realize that the opera really did blow my mind as they just nailed it perfectly.  There is just something about opera singers that brings a unique and uplifting essence to every work and although the original film was a masterpiece, it can never duplicate the powerful and emotional quality that the opera brought to life on this chilly night in San Francisco.  The performances took us on a journey back in time through the life and tale of George Bailey and all those that he came into contact with him during his blessed life and captured each moment intensely.


Many have probably seen, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, a 100x over, making it I’m sure a traditional watch in America each year.  Believe it or not, being a Kiwi from New Zealand, this was the first time I actually experienced this story. Yes, although, I had heard the story in the past, I had never seen the actual film so for me, and possibly others in attendance, discovering this delightful film brought to life by the opera was such a joy. The creativity was beyond what I would have imagined, with a great set design that easily transitioned between each scene and each musical number.


In the end, I was left with a heavy heart, teary-eyed, but inspired that the human spirit is alive and well and the SF Opera really showcased that sentiment well, giving me a warm and gleeful feeling as the Christmas season approaches. Who wouldn’t love the opera after such a great performance and I’m looking forward to being in attendance again in the near future?

For more info on the SF Opera go to:  



Written by Sharina Solares

Ah the Christmas season is upon us and what better way to get into the holiday spirit then watching Tim Burton’s devilishly fun film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and better yet with SF’s best orchestra handling the musical score. That was the scene on Friday November 30 at Davie’s Symphony Hall. It was a chilly night in San Francisco, perfect ambience for a Burton film. Attendees dressed in warm attire, with occasional super fans boasting their best Jack Skellington look or mock up Sally dresses.

Movie nights at the Symphony always conjure up a magical vibe and big crowds as all seats were filled and the excitement in the air was contagious. Conductor Ted Sperling took the stage and off we went on a magical, nightmarish journey through the eccentric mind of one of cinema’s best and most creative filmmakers, Tim Burton. Its been 25 years since the beloved cult film was released, but it could have came out yesterday as it seemed fresh, new and with the Symphony playing super composer Danny Elfman’s original score perfectly, it was just a visual and audio sensory overload. One of the only films to beautifully bridge the gap between Halloween and Christmas, a true masterpiece enjoyed by fans young and old, even toddlers were amongst the crowd, as families shared in the musical excitement from beginning to end. From featured songs like, “This Is Halloween”, “What’s This” and “The Oogie Boogie’s Song”, fans sang along with the Symphony, as they watched the classic tale of jack Skellington on the big screen. The story of a leader of Halloween town, who grew bored of the same festivities and decided to take over Christmas with disastrous results.

This wasn’t the first time the SF Symphony featured the film, but based on the reaction from fans, an annual “The Nightmare Before Christmas” movie and symphony outing, would be a welcome tradition to the SF holiday season. All throughout the hall, smiles were evident and the jittery on your seat feeling could be felt from many, as we were all part of the same vibe, the same spirit as we celebrated a true American cinematic masterpiece and of course with the best orchestra in the Country to guide us along.

For more info on the SF Symphony go to:

MTT & The SF Symphony Triumph With The Heartfelt Diary of Anne Frank

MTT & The SF Symphony Triumph With The Heartfelt Diary of Anne Frank

Written by Mary Kluck

Over 30 million copies of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl have been sold, and on a recent Friday evening (November 16), a captive audience witnessed Michael Tilson Thomas’s (MTT) musical composition of the famous diary. Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in 1942, following Germans police roundup of Jews in Holland. During this time, thirteen year-old Anne kept a diary. The eight inhabitants lived in secrecy for over two years before being betrayed. Anne ultimately died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Her diary, describing their day to day life, as well as her hopes for the future and for the world, has become one of the most widely read works about the Holocaust and is a testament to the enduring human spirit.

MTT excels at building tension; transitioning the orchestra between passages of the diary as the family’s safety and isolation grew dire. His energy and enthusiasm is obvious; he grasped the rails for support as he threw himself into conducting the orchestra. His energy was infectious, and as we alternated from recited passages of the diary and the orchestra, we grieved, we triumphed, and we felt hope with Anne. The entire time we were spellbound, waiting for the next note. As much as sounds filled the hall, the absence of sound, the intentional silence, were as equally powerful.

MTT eloquently led us on a journey through Anne’s diary, and therefore her life. The composition is divided into four sections, and the mood of Davis Symphony Hall changed with each dramatic transition. We started with an introduction to the diary and to Anne’s imaginary friend. The tone was playful, harmonious, and simple. The section grew more menacing as Anne describes the fear and frustration of going into hiding. There is clearly despair, expressed by opposing harmonies, building into an aggressive rage. That subsides, and the audience calmed down. Anne wrote often about nature, and in the third section MTT’s evocative percussion and woodwind up-tempo was the perfect translation. In moments of fear, like when Anne wrote “many who wait for death” the bells acted as the natural death toll chime. We felt melancholic, as we’re all too familiar with the unfortunate ending of Anne and so many Jews during the Holocaust. However, while the fourth section took a somber tone, there was again playful optimism that is so characteristic of Anne’s writing.

This composition was written in 1989 as a vehicle for Audrey Hepburn, who was an ambassador for UNICEF. November marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was a treat to watch MTT perform this composition, but the timing serves as an important reminder to us that we not take for granted our freedoms. We have a call to action – to continue to work for, support, and champion equality everywhere. Much like the closing notes, we are left with tentative hopefulness and there is nothing like a magnificent night of music to lift the spirits and to bring some unity to all of us.

For more info on the SF Symphony go to:


Passes available on December 5 at 10 a.m. PST while supplies last
The 3-Day Music, Wine, Culinary and Craft Brew Festival takes place May 24 – 26, 2019
BottleRock Napa Valley 2019, presented by JaM Cellars, announces the release of holiday pre-sale 3-day General Admission, VIP, Skydeck and Platinum passes to the music, wine, culinary and craft brew festival, May 24 – 26, 2019 at the Napa Valley Expo. Pre-sale passes are limited and will be available on December 5, 2018 at 10 a.m. PST while supplies last.
Holiday pre-sale passes make great gifts for music, food and wine lovers. Passes will be available at Now in its seventh year, BottleRock Napa Valley pairs the very best of the Napa Valley’s wine, food and craft brews with today’s biggest names in music.
3-Day General Admission Pass | $359
Anything but general, the general admission pass provides all that BottleRock is known for: 80+ bands on five music stages plus celebrity and chef mashups on the culinary stage with great sight lines throughout the venue. Tickets also include access to gourmet food from the Napa Valley’s finest chefs and restaurateurs, craft beer, specialty cocktails and dozens of wine cabanas where you can sip, savor and mingle with your favorite vintners making every festival-goer feel like a VIP. 3-day general admission pass holders also receive in-and-out privileges. Three days of world-class music combined with wine country living at its finest!
3-day VIP Pass | $799
For those BottleRockers who want more from their festival experience, the 3-day VIP Pass really cranks up the perks. VIP guests will have access to the VIP Village, an oasis featuring premium bars, expanded culinary offerings, comfy seats, shade, live acoustic performances on the VIP Acoustic stage, upgraded VIP-only restrooms and much more – all located adjacent to the JaM Cellars main stage. VIP ticket holders will also enjoy expanded views from viewing decks at the main and second stages, plus up-close prime viewing areas and shade at each stage, an easy access corridor between the JaM Cellars main stage and the second stage, separate fast lane festival entrances and exits and in-and-out privileges.
3-Day Skydeck Pass | $1599
Along with all of the VIP benefits, Skydeck pass holders have access to an exclusive, elevated viewing platform with unparalleled views of the main stage with spacious, shaded areas on the Skydeck located within the VIP village. Enjoy comfortable seating to see favorite musicians without leaving the Skydeck. Skydeck pass holders also receive all-inclusive beer, cocktails and wines at the Skydeck bars, and in-and-out privileges. There are a limited quantity of Skydeck passes.
3-Day Platinum Pass | $4250
For a refined festival experience that only Napa Valley can provide, Platinum ticket holders receive a one-of-a-kind ‘All Access’ pass to BottleRock Napa Valley.  Rub elbows with artists in special artist Meet & Greets (subject to availability).  Be face-to-face with some of the world’s top musicians with exclusive on-stage and front-row viewing areas – plus private viewing and bar at the Main Stage Soundboard!
Platinum guests receive exclusive access to the Platinum Lounge hosted by Estate Events by Meadowood, located next to the JaM Cellars main stage. The Platinum Lounge features complimentary daily signature dishes and gourmet bites, complimentary craft beer, artisanal cocktails prepared by Master Mixologists and world class wines selected and served by top Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. Platinum guests are also invited to meet the winemakers and taste the wines of ultra-luxury producers Amuse Bouche, Coup de Foudre and Krug. Platinum benefits include all of the perks that come with the VIP and Skydeck ticket packages. Last but certainly not least, Platinum guests will receive easy access and entry to the festival through an exclusive Platinum entrance, private on-site parking plus all-day in-and-out privileges, reservation assistance for lodging and transportation, on-site concierge services, air-conditioned spaces, premium restrooms, lockers to store personal belongings and much more. Platinum passes are extremely limited, and provide the ultimate luxury festival experience.
About BottleRock Napa Valley
BottleRock Napa Valley features the world’s top musicians on five music stages plus the VIP Acoustic stage, along with the infamous BottleRock Culinary Stage showcasing one-of-a-kind culinary and celebrity mashups. Master Sommeliers, celebrity chefs and dozens of the region’s finest vintners, restaurateurs and brewers rub shoulders with guests in an intimate setting. BottleRock Napa Valley offers the best in wine, food and craft brews to complement the music and create an authentic wine country experience for festival guests. To keep up to date on festival pass availability and additional details about the festival, please visit and sign up to receive email notifications. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@BottleRockNapa, #BottleRock) and Instagram (@BottleRockNapa, #BottleRock).
About BottleRock Presents
BottleRock Presents produces premium events featuring live music, food and wine throughout California including BottleRock Napa Valley.
About JaM Cellars
JaM Cellars is all about easy-to-love, everyday wines. Made by Napa Valley vintners John and Michele (the “J“ and “ M“ in JaM), Butter Chardonnay, California Candy Dry Rosé, JaM Cabernet Sauvignon and Toast Sparkling are rich, bold and luscious, and live up to their names. Butter Chardonnay melts in your mouth, California Candy leaves you wanting more, JaM Cab brims with berries, and Toast Sparkling is a celebration in the glass. These wines are made for sharing with friends anytime—whether it’s a special occasion, everyday celebration, or at BottleRock Napa Valley presented by JaM Cellars, the JaM Cellars Ballroom, and the JaM Cellars wine and music studio in downtown Napa. Check out JaM Cellars on Facebook and Instagram @JaMCellars #JaMCellars and
For more info on BottleRock Napa go to:



SnowGlobe Music Festival, South Lake Tahoe’s premiere EDM NYE music celebration has become a NYE staple ringing in each year with thousands in attendance. Revelers travel from all over to attend the massive event, which was recently acquired by MTV events and boasts a fusion of dance artists, snow and sports. The 2018 edition will take place December 29, 30 & 31 at the Community Play Fields in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. Performing over the three days include EDM superstars Diplo, Above & Beyond, Eric Prydz, Big Gigantic, Gorgon City, Sofi Tucker, Baauer and many more. Partyers are advised to bundle up and dress warm, as the festival takes place outdoors, but extreme dancing should keep most warm.

Other attractions include snow sport exhibitions, thousands of partyers and of course a snow-filled winter wonderland making SnowGlobe a one of a kind music and sports event and the perfect way to ring in 2019.

Definitely one of the highlights for NYE, so plan ahead, tickets have been known to sell out in advance…




For more info on Snow Globe Music Festival go to: