Wednesday, May 22, 2013

San Diego's musical treats include jazz, klezmer, classics in vivid venues


You  have to love a city that in a few week's time offers vocal jazz with Manhattan Transfer in the historic Balboa Theatre and classics played with vintage instruments by Bach Collegium in the
The art deco charms of the 1924 Balboa Theater are thanks to careful restoration.
It is the grand dame of downtown, adjacent to Horton Plaza and the Lyceum.
imposing venue of Balboa Park's History Center. Add a world-class Puerto Rican brother-sister chamber concert and klezmer tunes with knishes, both at the Lyceum Theatre downtown in colorful Horton Plaza.
The always inventive San Diego Repertory Theatre is hosting the 20th annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival. We were part of a rousing opening night Tuesday, for Guillermo and Ivonne Figueroa's "standing O" recital.
The talented violinist and pianist kicked off the festival's lively slate of performances with Fritz Kreisler, Felix Mendelssohn and photos of their extraordinary musical family in the intimate Lyceum space. The fest continues in San Diego and other at North County venues with more spellbinding music, theater and plenty of Jewish soul. Kudos to curator, organizer and director Todd Salovey, associate
artistic director of the Rep, for tackling daunting booking and scheduling challenges.
On tap are free events and reasonably priced concerts and
  San Diego Repertory Theatre makes its home in the Lyceum.
performances. The fest runs through June 18
Other intriguing highlights are “Chagall,” a new theatrical musical with dance presented by John Malashock and Yale Strom; Soulfarm, a Mediterranean flavored band from Israel, featuring Grammy-winner C. Lanzbom; and the popular Klezmer Summit featuring "Jews in Jazz" with ensemble Hot Pstromi and the remarkable talents of lively 94-year old cellist Fred Katz. The Summit is June 3, complete with complimentary kosher knishes sponsored by Schmoozers.  We've booked that and "Steal Heaven," the story of controversial activist Abbie Hoffman. He's still raising Cain, raising the Pentagon and raising the next generation of social game-changers. San Diego Rep's artist-in-residence Herbert Siguenza depicts Hoffman nestled in a Jewish home for the aged, plotting the course of America's future.
The  lively Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival
offers reasons to visit the Lyceum Theatre and Horton Plaza. 
The one-night performance takes place in the Lyceum Space on Thursday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. An excuse to revisit the charms of Horton Plaza.
Looking for something in Oceanside --  an impromptu event tonight? One of the festival’s most popular musicians returns with a joyful selection of Jewish and Klezmer classics. Alexander Gourevitch was born in the Soviet Union and trained as a classical clarinetist.  He is a principle musician with Tijuana’s Orquesta de Baja and plays klezmer to express his Jewish soul. Gourevitch will be joined by his band Freilachs, featuring  Ara Ghukasyan, violin, Oxana Bulgakova, piano, and Carlos Maria, percussion. The concert is tonight (Wednesday, May 22) at 7:30 p.m. at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, Calif. Tickets are $5. Call (760) 435-3720.
Check out the rest of the festival's impressive list of performers and venues, survey the complete line-up of stellar events and book tickcts at or call (619) 544-1000.
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Variety. Quality. Venues. San Diego is southern California's city with musical soul and a remarkable performing arts docket.  San Diego Opera produced "Aida" last month, we've heard classical music,
Manhattan Transfer still has it! Smooth harmonies, delightful jazz
arrangements and a brilliant accompanist. Tim Hauser, right,
is the only original member and makes his home in San Diego.
jazz and Broadway tunes within the month.  We just booked a tango show for next week.
That range is typical of the lively musical arts scene here.
We were thrilled to obtain last-minute tickets to Manhattan Transfer, favorites or ours since the early 1970s.
This enduring quartet, with a stellar pianist, includes Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and Tim Hauser, who makes his home in the San Diego area.
"I'm delighted to be playing here," he said, "because tonight I don't have to sleep in a hotel."
We had delightful seats in first-row balcony of the beautiful Balboa Theatre downtown.
A perfect setting with its glorious art deco arches and brocade wall paper and hints of velvet, for our trip down memory lane.
The quartet delivered all its hits, changing coats, adding hats and costume props from a wardrobe on 
stage. Fun stuff! "Boy From New York City" and "Chanson d'Amour" showed off two very different
The Balboa Theatre is the cornerstone of Horton Plaza.
styles -- be-bop and romantic ballad -- no problem. The quartet does it all.  "Java Jive" and "Operator" were precisely but swingingly sung, in the smooth, close harmonies which identify the group.
 There have been two major manifestations of Manhattan Transfer; Hauser is the only person to be part of both. They take their name from the 1925 novel, "Manhattan Transfer," by John Dos Passos, and pays tribute to the quartet's New York ties. Their much honored pianist and arranger Yaron Gershovsky is a hugely important component.  His talent in many ways make him the star of the show.
And the venues in San Diego play more than supporting parts.  Balboa Theater is 1924 gem, surviving decay and neglect and a 20-year closure to return in 2008 with a $26 million restoration. On the Balboa's docket are the Canadian Tenors May 31 and Mainly
Yaron Gershovsky's genius as
pianist-arranger makes him
an integral part of the show,
here in the Balboa Theatre.
Mozart Festival June 13. Check out the summer schedule at or call 619 570-1100.
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COMING UP: We take to the ocean -- beyond the two bays --  in a 27-foot sloop,sailing out of Harbor Yacht Club. Then we're off to Las Vegas, answering the call of gambling with all its glory. Remember to  explore, learn and live.
posts each Wednesday and Saturday. Tell like minded people and join the fun.

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