Cal Performances’ new season: Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Morris meets the Beatles

The Bay Area debut of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim; the world premiere of the oratorio “Dreamer” by composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz, inspired by undocumented youth and performed by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, London; and “The Barber Shop Chronicles,” a theater work exploring black male identity, are among the highlights of Cal Performances 2018-19 season.

BARBER
“The Barbershop Chronicles” is a theater production that examines the concepts of black male identity. PHOTO BY MARC BRENNER

Also on the schedule are appearances by Yo-Yo Ma, playing the complete Bach cello suites; a tribute to Duke Ellington featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; and the first Bay Area performances of “Pepperland,” the Mark Morris Dance Group’s tribute to the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

pepperland
The 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is celebrated in a dance piece by the Mark Morris Dance Group. PHOTO BY GARETH JONES 

Announced April 17 by Cal Performances’ executive and artistic director Matías Tarnopolsky, the season opens Sept. 23 with a Gala at the Greek Theatre featuring Marsalis, special guest Jon Batiste and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and concludes June 2, 2019, with a new “Pygmalion” by Eifman Ballet.

In between, the season offers dozens of international music, dance, and theater events.

The season — the final programmed by Tarnopolsky, who has announced he will leave Cal Performances at the end of the 2017-18 season for a new executive post with the Philadelphia Orchestra — introduces two new categories under the company’s Berkeley RADICAL initiative. “Citizenship” brings artists addressing issues of identity and home, while “Women’s Work” highlights women’s voices in a range of disciplines.

Under the “Citizenship” umbrella are Barenboim and his orchestra, whose members include Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians; “Dreamer,” the oratorio by López and Cruz, featuring soprano Ana Maria Martinez; and the great Catalan gambist Jordi Savall, tracing “The Routes of Slavery,” a musical journey featuring musicians from 15 countries on three continents.

“Women’s Work” brings “Queen of Ranchera” Aida Cuevas with Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán; “Mouthpiece,” from Toronto’s Quote Unquote Collective; and Berlin choreographer Sasha Waltz’s “Körper (Bodies),” a work exploring how medicine, commerce, politics and reproduction make demands on the body.

The season’s music events include appearances by Max Richter with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Tallis Scholars, So Percussion, the Bay Area premiere of Orlando di Lasso’s “Tears of Saint Peter” in a new staging by Peter Sellars performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and recitals by violinist Nicola Benedetti, pianist Shai Wosner, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

In addition to Morris’ “Pepperland,” the dance season includes appearances by Compagnie Käfig, Pavel Zuštiak and Palissimo, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Akram Khan and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Theater events include Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People, performed by Berlin’s Schaubühne Theater; and “17c,” Annie B-Parson’s take on the diaries of Samuel Pepys.

Subscriptions go on sale April 24; tickets for Gala at the Greek with Wynton Marsalis become available June 12. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 7; 510-642-9988, www.calperformances.org.

Contact Georgia Rowe at growe@pacbell.net.

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