Conductor Bernard Labadie has been forced to withdraw from his visit to the podium of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in Davies Symphony Hall at the end of January. Usually the explanation for such a change of plans is limited to the generic phrase “for health reasons.” In this case, however, more specific information has been made available. Labadie was diagnosed with lymphoma this past summer and is currently undergoing treatment. He has cancelled all engagements through the first half of 2015. I am sure that readers will agree that he has brought several stimulating performances to Davies in the past, and all of our best wishes are now with him.
The program that Labadie planned will still be performed. Soprano Lydia Teuscher will still be making her debut with SFS, performing two opera arias by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. The only change is that the conductor will now be Paul Goodwin, previously Associate Conductor of the Academy of Ancient Music and currently Artistic Director of the Carmel Bach Festival.
The program will consist entirely of vocal and instrumental music by Bach and Mozart. Teuscher’s Mozart selections both receive relatively little attention. She will sing the K. 577 “Al desio, di chi t’adora” (to the desire of she who loves you), which Mozart wrote as a replacement for Susanna’s fourth-act aria “Deh vieni, non tardar” (“Oh come, don’t delay”) in a 1789 revival production of The Marriage of Figaro (K. 492). Her second aria will be what is probably the most familiar selection from Mozart’s K. 344 Singspiel Zaide, “Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben” (rest gently, my dear life). As rarities go, this one seems to be doing well in Davies, since soprano Nadine Sierra sang it with Michael Tilson Thomas on the podium at the end of February of 2013.
Teuscher’s Bach selection will be the BWV 202 (“Wedding”) cantata, Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (“be gone, dull shadows”). All three vocal performances will be framed by the two instrumental selections on the program. The “overture” for the evening will be Bach’s BWV 1068 orchestral suite in D major. The intermission will then be followed by a performance of Mozart’s K. 297 (“Paris”) symphony.
This program will receive three performances in Davies Symphony Hall. They will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 29, and at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 30, and Saturday, January 31. Ticket prices range from $15 to $158. Tickets may be purchased through the event page for this concert on the SFS Web site. They may also be purchased at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street or by calling 415-864-6000. The Inside Music pre-concert talk will be given by James Keller one hour prior to each performance. This event is free to all ticket holders, and the doors open fifteen minutes before the lecture begins. In addition a free podcast by KDFC’s Rik Malone about the Bach suite will be available through the Program Note Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance.