Best Bets: winter performances for streaming

The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here


The Ragazzi Boys Chorus, all singing from their homes, perform together through the magic of technology, at a holiday concert they hope will take us “Beyond the Stars.” (Photo courtesy of David Allen)

Young voices ring out

Let the Ragazzi Boys Chorus, the premier vocal ensemble based in the Peninsula, take you “Beyond the Stars” starting at 4 p.m. Sunday in a livestreamed virtual holiday concert that will combine some traditional favorites with more recent works that emphasize resiliency, hope and laughter. One example of the latter is “Da Coconut Nut,” Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab’s bit of whimsy that celebrates the contributions of each and every part of the coconut palm, sung by the Young Men’s Ensemble of the Chorus. Led by artistic and executive director Kent Jue, the boys have been practicing for months using new virtual technology that allows them to work as a unit from their individual homes. Suggested donation for the concert is $25 to help support the group, which has canceled all in-person performances. Find more information and reserve streaming access at Ragazzi.org or call 650-342-8785.


Pianist Eri Nakamura, left, cellist Mikhail Veselov and violinist Anna Williams came together as the Neave Trio in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Lewis Lovendahl)

Lost and found

The Neave Trio — violinist Anna Williams, cellist Mikhail Veselov and pianist Eri Nakamura — is a 10-year-old ensemble now based at Bard College’s Longy School of Music. A champion of new music by living composers, Neave has had festival appearances and residencies all across the country, including at San Diego State. They have won high praise everywhere for their engaging performances — in fact, their name is a Gaelic word for “bright” or “radiant.” They will perform “Finding What Is Lost,” a livestreaming concert as the resident faculty ensemble at Longy, which we on the West Coast can access at 4:30 p.m. Saturday by registering first at www.longy.edu/event/finding. On their program are two 2018 works they have previously premiered, Eric Nathan’s “Missing Words V” and Dale Trumbore’s “Another Chance,” pairing them with Mikhail Glinka’s 1832 “Trio pathetique.” The concert is free with a suggested donation of $10.


Smuin Contemporary Ballet dancer Maggie Carey is featured in the company’s streaming holiday production. (Photo couresy of Max van der Sterre/Smuin Contemporary Ballet)

Dance favorites reborn

Good tidings from the Bay Area dance world — two beloved holiday productions return this week, with the caveat, of course, that they are now streaming shows. Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s annual holiday show is available to view Friday through Dec. 24, and is divided offered as three streaming programs that feature a mix of holiday favorites from years past as well as new works by Amy Seiwert, Rex Wheeler, and Emmy Award-winner Ben Needham-Wood — all performed by “pods” of Smuin dancers. Access to Smuin’s “Christmas Ballet” costs $49-$139, with a number of ticket packages, special events and extras available. Go to www.smuin ballet.org. Meanwhile, ODC/Dance is presenting a streaming version of its heartwarming adaptation of the Margery Williams story “The Velveteen Rabbit.” It’s available Thursday through Dec. 31. Access costs $35-$90, with such extras as an activity book and toy stuffed rabbit available. Go to https://odc.dance/velveteenrabbit.


From left, Maya Greenberg, Michael Gene Sullivan, Velina Brown, David Crane and Amy Lizardo are among the performers in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “Simple Gifts” (Photo courtesy of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley)

A global celebration

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s new streaming production is not a Christmas show. Or a Hanukkah show. Or a Kwanzaa show. It’s kind of an every-winter-holiday-under-the-sun show. Helmed by company artistic director Tim Bond, “Simple Gifts” features such Bay Area actors as Velina Brown, David Crane, Maya Greenberg, Michelle Jordan, Amy Lizardo, Bryan Munar, Sharon Rietkerk, Maya Sherer, Will Springhorn, Jr., Michael Gene Sullivan and Adam Saucedo sharing songs, memories and observations of a wide variety of holidays and seasonal observances. The production will be livestreamed Thursday through Dec. 27 and available on demand now through Jan. 1. Access is $10, but free to subscribers and those who donated tickets from TheatreWorks shows canceled due to the pandemic; go to www.TheatreWorks.org.


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