Red Curtain Addict Top Picks – January 2018

We can hardly believe that 2018 is here! To get your year started on the right foot, we’ve listed out our top pick concerts in the Bay Area that are a MUST SEE in January! From galas to experiential dance performances, we think you’re going to like what we found. Scroll down to see more!

1. SF Jazz – Chris Botti in Concert: January 9-12 

Grammy Award Winner Chris Botti is the world’s biggest-selling jazz instrumentalist of our time who plays both pop and jazz. He has played his trumpet with a ton of amazing artists, including Michael Bublé, Buddy Rich, Paul Simon Joni Mitchell, and Sting. A few other names you might know are Yo-Yo Ma, John Mayer, and Steven Tyler along with so many more…

He is considered today’s Miles Davis! He has been to the Bay Area a few times but this month, he’ll be performing a snazzy program at SF Jazz.

Addict Insider: Chris started playing the trumpet at age 12 and was highly influenced by the great Miles Davis. Early in Chris’s career, it was clear that his playing was Special. In fact, one of Chris’s first professional gigs with Frank Sinatra!


2. LIEDER ALIVE! – Neue Lieder, Neues Jahr! (New Songs, New Year!): January 14

LIEDER ALIVE! is dedicated to keeping Lied repertoire thriving in our era. In case you aren’t familiar with this term, “lieder” or “lied”, they are German art songs from the Romantic period (roughly the 19th century) that are very expressive with strong lyrical melodies and rich harmonies. Composers such as Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms used this art form a lot.

The programming of this concert will feature new works by outstanding composers of our time, including Kurt Erickson, Mark Carlson and Luna Pearl Woolf that will be performed by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson and mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, accompanied by pianist Ronny Greenberg.

This is a really great way to discover brand new music by composer and musicians of our time.


3.San Francisco Ballet’s Opening Night Gala: January 18

Photo by Nikki Ritcher

SF Ballet’s annual Opening Night Gala (this year’s theme is Celestial), will take place on Thursday, January 18 and includes cocktails, a lavish dinner, a one-night-only performance at the Opera House, and the Bay Area’s best After Party in San Francisco’s beautiful Beaux-Arts City Hall.

This is one of our favorite galas in the Bay Area because it’s not a full production or a one-off performance like the SF Opera or the SF Symphony. Instead, the SF Ballet dancers perform a series of previews from the 2018 season. So you’ll see a scene from a story ballet (like Sleeping Beauty or Frankenstein) and shorter repertoire like a few of their modern ballets along with classical favorites.

Addict Insider: The After Party celebration is held at the City Hall and is always decored lavishly! Make sure to check out all of the party rooms. One wing usually has a live party band and the other has a dance-centric DJ. Ladies, bring some fold-up flats to the after-party because your feet might hurt after all the dancing and standing. There isn’t a ton of seating at the After Party but it’s always a good time!


4. San Francisco Movement Arts Festival: January 19

This is the “farmers market for the arts”! Using local Dance, Theater, Music & Visual Arts, SFMAF (with 200+ local artists) will be turning Grace Cathedral into a stage and celebrating the strong and diverse San Francisco Bay Area local art scene. You’ll be able to see works performed on the main church floors, hallways, stairways, entryways and attached chapels. The actual performances will be going on, simultaneously, throughout the grand cathedral.


5. San Francisco Ballet – Sleeping Beauty: January 23 – February 4

This classic story of a sleeping princess, a handsome prince, and the triumph of true love’s kiss will sweep you off your feet. With spectacular sets, lavish tutus, and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score, Helgi Tomasson’s production of The Sleeping Beauty highlights our dancers’ classical virtuosity, casting its spell over a fairytale ballet of romance and wonder.

The music is going to be dreamy, the dancing is going to be hypnotizing but what puts the cherry on top are the opulent costumes! I got the opportunity to see them first hand back in November at a special event. Click here to get a sneak peek!

Addict Insider: Did you know that when you listen to Disney Princess Aurora (or Lana Del Rey!) sing “Once Upon a Dream”, you are actually listening to a piece based on one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous waltzes composed for a three-act ballet?


6. San Francisco Symphony – West Side Story – Feature Film with Live Orchestra: February 1-3

West Side Story

Looking for the ultimate movie night? San Francisco Symphony is celebrating the iconic movie and music of West Side Story by projecting the film in Davis Symphony Hall. What makes this event extra special is the live music. The film’s music has been stripped from the movie and the San Francisco Symphony plays all of the songs live, even while Natalie Wood sings!

This year would have been the 100th birthday of West Side Story’s Composer Leonard Bernstein and this concert is only a part of San Francisco Symphony’s tribute to his career as one of the greatest composers, conductors, and educators of the 20th century. Click here to see a list of their Centinal Leonard Bernstein Concert List.

Addict Insider: In 2014, San Francisco Symphony was nominated for Best Musical Theater Grammy Award for their West Side Story Album.


7. SF Jazz 2018 Gala Honoring Preservation Hall Jazz Band: February 1

Now in its 54th year, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a rotating group of master musicians that have held the torch of New Orleans music. SFJAZZ Center will be honoring their legacy and preservation of New Orleans music and culture with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award! Gala-goers and After-partiers will be spoiled with an array of New Orleans’ finest cuisine and drinks throughout the evening, with late-night fare from some favorite neighborhood spots.

This group has a lot of ties and history with San Francisco’s community. “From day one, San Francisco has been the second home for Preservation Hall – from Frost Amphitheater to the Fillmore to annual shows in Marin, Napa, at Stern Grove and the Fairmont Hotel,” says Ben Jaffe, Creative Director, Preservation Hall and Bass/Tuba player, Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Addict Insider: SFJAZZ’s work in education will be on display throughout the Gala. More than 23,000 students in 70 schools will benefit from the expansion, which includes school day concerts, standards-based classroom learning residencies, and support of school music ensembles.


We hope this quick rundown of our Top Performing Concert Picks for January was helpful! Let us know your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments! Also, feel free to add any performance suggestions and/or questions for January.

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Parker Coomans

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