A blockbuster 2022-2023 season ahead for Cal Performances

Emily Bromberg and Renan Cerdeiro of the Miami City Ballet dance in “Emeralds," one of the three sections in George Balanchine's "Jewels." "Diamonds" and "Rubies" comprise the other two parts. (Photo courtesy Alexander Iziliaev/The George Balanchine Trust)

UC Berkeley-based Cal Performances will welcome the Miami City Ballet to open its 2022-2023 season Sept. 23-24 with three performances in Zellerbach Hall of choreographer George Balanchine’s triptych ballet “Jewels,” set to music by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, and bring it to a thrilling close with the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg June 9-11, 2023, presenting the West Coast premiere of Boris Eifman’s “Russian Hamlet,” which reimagines the Shakespearean tragedy in the violent world of the Romanovs and is set to music by Beethoven and Mahler.

The new season, announced by artistic and executive director Jeremy Geffen Wednesday, will present some 70 performances of 50 different programs, spread across genres such as dance, orchestra, chamber music, early music, theater and opera, jazz, recital, new music and more.

For the third year, Cal Performances returns to its “Illuminations” series, organizing six of its programs around the theme of “Human and Machine,” probing the complexities of the interaction between technology and human communication. One highlight of the series will be the U.S. premiere March 17-19, 2023, of South African artist William Kentridge’s chamber opera “SIBYL,” inspired by the ancient myth of the oracle at the mouth of a cave and incorporating film, live music, animation and dance to explore human anxieties about the future.

The season includes no less than 20 premieres and brings back both beloved and familiar artists (Cal Performances perennials the Takacs Quartet returns twice, for recitals on Dec. 4 and Jan. 29, 2023) and introduces audiences to rising young stars (Seong-Jin Cho, 27, the first South Korean to ever win the International Chopin Piano Competition, makes his Cal Performances debut on Dec. 8).

Famed orchestras appearing during the season include both the Vienna Philharmonic, giving three concerts under conductor Christian Thielemann’s baton March 7-9, 2023, and the Bay Area’s own San Francisco Symphony, which Esa-Pekka Salonen brings to Zellerbach on Oct. 21 for a Halloween-themed blowout featuring Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” Liszt’s “Totentanz” and Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique.”

From left, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos will collaborate in a recital scheduled for Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy Nigel Parry)

Israeli violinist Maxim Vengerov (Oct. 14) and American pianist Jeremy Denk (Feb. 12, 2023) will appear on the “Recital” series, but an indisputable highlight will be the triple-threat collaboration of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Emanuel Ax for a Jan. 25, 2023, program with music to be announced.

The Renaissance ensemble The Tallis Scholars, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, will appear on the “Early Music” series on April 27, 2023, performing works by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd and adding in contemporary pieces by Nico Muhly and Arvo Pärt. 

The English hip-hop group Boy Blue will bring the production “Blak Whyte Gray” to the Cal Performances lineup in the new season. (Photo courtesy Carl Fox)

Making its Cal Performances debut, Boy Blue, a hip-hop dance theater group from East London, will bring us an energy-charged “Blak Whyte Gray,” from composer Michael “Mikey J” Asante and choreographer Kenrick “H2O” Sandy for three performances Dec. 9-11. 

New music artists the Colin Currie Group, a British percussion ensemble devoted to all things Steve Reich, will team with close-microphone singers Synergy Vocals for “A Steve Reich Celebration” on Nov. 3, to perform the composer’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” “Tehillim” and the West Coast premiere of “Traveler’s Prayer,” a Cal Performances co-commissioned work that sets several texts from the Old Testament.

With entertainment for entire families in mind, there are also scheduled visits from the world-famed Vienna Boys Choir on Nov. 26 to kick off the holiday season with their “Christmas in Vienna” program and the hilarious eight-member Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on April 26, 2023, for a far-ranging program of pop, folk and classical music.

Subscription packages in a variety of choose-your-own formats go on sale at noon on April 26. Single tickets become available on Aug. 9.

Find more information at https://calperformances.org/ or download a season brochure at https://calperformances.org/brochure. And here’s a peek at the “Russian Hamlet” productions that will close out the season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uN7FsQjhXo.

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