Monday, July 30, 2012

Opera Videos on the Large Screen

 Avian arpeggios from Olympia's aria "Les oiseaux dans la charmille" in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann

August is here, time for the annual series of Thursday large screen videos featured in the upcoming San Francisco Opera series, presented annually in association with the San Francisco Opera Guild. They feature selected clips of previously filmed productions of operas from the upcoming San Francisco Opera season. Narration and commentary is provided by Opera Guild director George F. Lucas.

The August 2 program features a screening Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi. We'll be showing clips from the 2005 production of Teatro Alighieri, Ravenna with Paola Gardina as Romeo, Valentina Farcas as Giulietta, Giacomo Patti as Tebaldo, Roberto Tagliavini as Capellio and Gabriele Spina as Lorenzo. The conductor is Pietro Mianiti.

On August 9 we will screen excerpts from Richard Wagner's Lohengrin performed in 2009 Production by Bayerisches Staatsoper, Munich. Jonas Kaufmann will appear as Lohengrin, Anja Harteros as Elsa, Wolfgang Koch as Telramund and Michaela Schuster as Ortrud. The conductor is Kent Nagano.

Excerpts from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi fan tutte will be screened on August 16 featuring a 2006 production from Glyndebourne Festival Opera, with Topi Lehtipuu as Ferrando, Luca Pisaroni as Guglielmo, Nicholas Riveno as Don Alfonso, Miah Persson as Fiordiligi, Anke Vondung as Dorabella and Ainhoa Garmendia as Despina. The conductor is Ivan Fischer.

Our final screening on August 23 features Jacques Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d'Hoffmann). We will be screening a 2005 production from the Macerata Opera in Sofia. Vincenzo La Scola will perform as Hoffman, Desiree Rancatore as Olympia, Sara Allegretta as Giulietta, Annalisa Raspagliosi as Antonia, Elsa Maurus as Nicklausse and Ruggero Raimondi as Coppelius, Dappertutto and Dr Miracle. The conductor is Frederic Chaslin.

There is no Thursday noon video for August 30.

Each screening begins at noon at the Koret Auditorium, Main Library, Lower Level and will last approximately 60 minutes. All programs at the Library are free and open to the public. This program is supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

The library has scores, libretti, and recordings of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Lohengrin, Cosi fan tutte and Tales of Hoffman.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Plastic In Question - an art exhibit

Since 1999 Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang have collected more than two tons of plastic trash from 1000 yards of Kehoe Beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore. They have transformed this debris into engaging works of art that raise awareness of the sheer variety and ubiquity of plastic pollution and its impact on delicate marine ecosystems.

Their work documents the colorful throw-away objects of modern life by bringing them together and inviting the viewer to understand each object's story. Their work helps the viewer to understand the true cost of "cheap" plastic. When plastic is thrown away, does it ever really go away? As viewers of the exhibit, we are forced to position ourselves in the processes that cause these proliferating objects to cast upon every farflung shore of the planet.

This exhibit is a Green Stacks event and may be viewed on the 1st, 4th and 5th floors of the Main Library.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stern Grove Festival: Celebrating 75 Years in Concert with Nature

San Francisco Opera founder and director Gaetano Merola and singer Brunetta Mazzolini, shortly before Merola died conducting Madama Butterfly on stage at Stern Grove Festival, August 30, 1953.

In 1931, Rosalie Meyer Stern deeded Sigmund Stern Grove to the City of San Francisco with the vision of creating a space for the public to enjoy the performing arts. This year as Stern Grove Festival celebrates 75 years of world class, admission-free performances in Sigmund Stern Grove, the Library takes a look back at how her vision became a treasured San Francisco institution.

Stern Grove Festival: Celebrating 75 Years in Concert with Nature is a display tracing the history of Stern Grove Festival through a series of photographs that capture defining moments both intimate and historic.  The exhibit provides an inside look at Stern and her family and captures the spirit of the audience and the artists who make each concert at Stern Grove Festival a rich community and cultural event.

This display can viewed from July 14 to September 27, 2012,  in the Steve Silver Music Center on the 4th floor of the Main Library.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977

In her foreword to West of Center, Lucy Lippard describes the 1960s and 1970s as a time of passion and ideals.  While the book is about art movements across the Western half of the United States, San Francisco, which she describes as "the pulsing heart of the counterculture," occupies a prominent position in this book.

The books editors, Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner, contrast the experimentalism of the West Coast with the New York avant garde: "[T]he counterculture was a movement centered largely in the American West... San Francisco became its hub, serving as an alternative to New York as a site of creative activity."

The counterculture found its impetus for experiment in the various social and political movements of the time.  This aesthetic approach was closely association with movements for social change like The Farm, The Diggers, the Black Panthers, Los Siete de la Raza and others.  It also fostered individual personal transformation and heightening individual consciousness.

West of Center is divided into 20 chapters written by different authrs arranged by four themes: "Communal Encounters," "Handmade Worlds," Cultural Politics" and "Altered Consciousness."  Each of the chapter is beautifully illustrated and is well documented.

Chapters focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area include:

"Collective Movement: Anna and Lawrence Halprin's Joint Workshops" by Eva J. Friedberg

"The Farm by the Freeway" by Jana Blankenship

"San Francisco Video Collectives and the Counterculture" by Deanne Pytlinsk

"Handmade Worlds -- Handmade Genders: Queer Costuming in San Francisco circa 1970" by Julia Bryan-Wilson

"Paper Walls: Political Posters in an Age of Mass Media" by Tom Wilson

"The Print Culture of Yolanda M. López" by  Karen Mary Davalos

"The Countercultural 'Indian': Visualizing Retribalization at the Human Be-in" by Mark Watson

"The Revolution will be Visualized: Black Panther Artist Emory Douglas" by Colette Gaiter

"Signifying the Ineffable: Rock Poster Art and Psychedelic counterculture in San Francisco" Scott B. Montgomery.

West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977, edited by Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner, editors (University of Minnesota Press; Published in cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 2012).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CAMIO - Catalog of Art Museum Images Online

The Art, Music and Recreation Center of the San Francisco Public Library is pleased to be able to offer CAMIO to our patrons.  CAMIO, which stands for Catalog of Art Museum Images Online, is a product of OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) which also provides the popular WorldCat international database of library catalogs.

CAMIO is a digital collection of about 95,000 art images from 25 institutions.  These are primarily American and include some of the most important museums in the United States.  Two San Francisco collections are very prominently featured in CAMIO: the database includes 17,511 images from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the combined De Young and Legion of Honor collections) and 2,345 images from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Many of these museums include digital images on their own websites.  As those of you who consult and use reproductions in your work and research, the character and quality of reproductions can vary from source to source.

For example, the website for the Legion of Honor includes a reproduction of the Claude Monet painting Water Lilies.  This online reproduction allows one to see a thumbnail of the entire painting and additionally allows one to view portions of the painting at various magnifications within a relatively small frame.

The image of Water Lilies in CAMIO is also available to magnify or shrink within a larger frame.  Additionally it is possible to open a new window with a higher-resolution image, and to download that image.  CAMIO allows its images to be used for personal and educational non-commercial purposes.

In this instance the Legion of Honor website has one important feature lacking in CAMIO - a biography of Monet that may help one's understanding of the painting.  It is also evident that the two databases show the painting with differing color levels.  Of course, this often depends upon the lighting used when the image was photographed.  It's not always possible to say which reproduction is truest to an original that is probably impossible to capture in its full richness and beauty.

CAMIO has four search methods.  There is a simple keyword search box in the upper left hand corner of the homepage.  This search often gives a long list of results (in the case of Monet there are 115 works).  The left hand column of the results screen in this search mode also provides an opportunity for the user to further refine their search by the categories of format, creator, date and subject.

This homepage also provides a link for "collections of prominent museums" that allows one to browse by institution.  At the bottom of the homepage there are also links to a number of the art mediums that are represented in the database.  Finally there is the advanced search where it is possible to search by keyword strings in a variety of ways and also to limit the search by museum collection.

One final access point to CAMIO is through OCLC's WorldCat database.  All of the images in the database include a bibliographic record and provide a live link to the image for database users in the Library.

Articles and Databases at San Francisco Public Library