The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts’ new season, unveiled today (April 8), promises a wondrous year ahead in music, dance and theatre, including two free concerts, from September to June. The center’s 18th season also has insightful speakers (including the author of the 2019-20 selection in the Campus Community Book Project) and a free film series (also related to the book project).
The season comprises dozens of programs, and here we present a sampling of the wonders in …
Dance — The Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza, presents a repertory program that includes Las Aguas del Olvido, in which dancers move on a gigantic pool of water. … CNDC d’Angers, celebrates the late Merce Cunningham during the centennial year of his birth, by bringing together two of his landmark works: Beach Birds and BIPED, each with live musical accompaniment.
Music — Monk + MONK’estra is a cinematic experience, pairing vintage footage of Thelonious Monk with John Beasley’s ingenious arrangements, in a perfectly synced performance that is the closest most people will get to seeing the late jazz master perform. … Folk legends Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin perform together, acoustically … Pianist Lara Downes & Friends pay tribute to singer Judy Collins and her remarkable 50-year career, with Collins appearing as a special guest.
Violinists and orchestras — Joshua Bell gives a recital, and violinist Itzhak Perlman doesn't give a recital. Instead, Perlman visits the Mondavi Center as a raconteur, telling stories about his remarkable life and career (with musical excerpts). ... Pinchas Zukerman leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as both conductor and violin soloist in a program featuring Bruch’s violin concerto and Brahms’ first symphony. ... And the San Francisco Symphony performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in D, led by Michael Tilson Thomas on his farewell tour.
Dance-theatre — The Rosie Kay Dance Company presents 5 Soldiers, a thrilling and humane portrait of army life — the story of five men and women serving on the front line, based on Kay’s experience observing and working with the British military.
Ballet — The Shanghai Ballet, one of the world’s preeminent companies, presents Giselle, a romantic ballet masterwork replete with supernatural spirits and heartbreak. ... And then we have this company, famous in its own way, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, in the With a Twist series. This all-male troupe is celebrating more than 40 years of dancing en pointe and on all the conventions of the dance world!
Family friendly lineup
Ladysmith Black Mambazo invites generations to celebrate its a cappella harmonies in a family matinee. … Australia’s Circa continues to push the human body to its limits, and its new performance, Humans, takes its storytelling and acrobatic prowess to new heights. … Momix presents VIVA Momix, a collection of Momix’s greatest creations in iconic movement and transfixing visual effects.
From start to finish
More family friendly entertainment: The gospel-singing Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar, the Mondavi Center’s season-opening show, Sunday, Sept. 29, take their audience “to church” with their rich harmonies, soulful arrangements and original compositions.
The Alexander String Quartet, the only artist/artists the Mondavi Center has hosted every year since it opened in 2002, closes out Season 18 with the last concert in the quartet’s two-year presentation (seven concerts total) of the Shostakovich String Quartets cycle.
Book, films on gun violence theme
The Mondavi Center presents an evening talk by Gary Younge, author of Another Day in the Death of America, in which he looks at the short lives of 10 minors who were victims of gun violence on one day in America; and Focus on Film, three screenings of films that have gun violence at the core of their narratives: Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands and Hell or High Water.
Free: Opera and Curtis on Tour
The Barbara K. Jackson Rising Stars of Opera, named for its benefactor, who died last year at age 99. This year’s concert features three singers from the San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellows, in recital and with the support of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mark Morash.
Also free: Curtis on Tour, the Curtis Institute of Music’s touring arm, featuring the Vera Quartet and pianist Meng-Chieh Liu in a program that features Beethoven’s Quartet No. 4 in C Minor and the Franck Piano Quintet in F Minor.
New bookings are arranged often during the season. In fact, the Mondavi Center has already added Andrew Bird, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, whistler and songwriter, with special guest Meshell Ndegeocello, for Oct. 21. Donors, subscribers and UC Davis affiliates are afforded a head-start on ticket purchases for “just added” shows.