Opening Night Gala Concert

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, USA

| 22 September 2023 |
7:00 pm

Screenshot: Munich Festival Concert 30.07.2021

    Orchestra : San Francisco Symphony
    Conductor : Esa-Pekka Salonen

    Baritone : Simon Keenlyside
    Hip-Hop Artist : Kev Choice
    Freestyle Artist : Anthony Veneziale
    Soprano : Hila Plitmann

From the San Francisco Symphony website:

"... Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the San Francisco Symphony in an exhilarating Opening Night Gala program that interweaves music and technology in a tapestry of heightened emotional journeys and artistic exploration. Bookending the love-sick verses of Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, here brought to life by baritone Simon Keenlyside, are Richard Strauss’s picaresque Don Juan and Maurice Ravel’s hypnotic Boléro—all augmented by cutting-edge lighting and video projections created by 59 Productions. And in Anders Hillborg’s Rap Notes, live rappers square off against artificial intelligence in a captivating collision of human creativity and technological prowess...."




Richard Strauss  Don Juan

Gustav Mahler    Songs of a Wayfarer

Anders Hillborg   Rap Notes

Maurice Ravel     Boléro


This concert will be recorded live and then broadcast on radio station KDFC on Sunday 08 October at 7pm (local California time). It should then be available for on demand streaming for 21 days following the broadcast - link below.


KDFC On Demand Streaming Page. Click on the 08 October concert - Simon's performance is approximately the last 15 minutes of part 1. Available for 21 days only.


The concert programme was repeated as the All San Francisco Celebration on 23 September.





"..In a more somber mood, British baritone Simon Keenlyside equally appealed in Gustav Mahler’s 1883 four-tune cycle “Songs of a Wayfarer” evoking the tumultuous emotions of a lovesick fellow..."#



There is no mention of Simon in the text of this review, but there are two photos of him in the scroll-through picture gallery just below the article heading.



"...Remarkable soloists also stole the show. Baritone Simon Keenlyside’s passion and clarity seemed to carry Mahler’s “Songs” over the orchestral landscape, far beyond the walls of Davies and into the hearts of all in attendance..."



"...As it transitioned into Gustav Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer,” the Symphony beautifully blended music and verse yet again, bringing to life the Romantic composer’s lovelorn poetry for soprano Johanna Richter. “/imagine: See yourself as a lovesick guardian traversing your heart’s seasons: denial, anger, acceptance, renewal, amid the enigmatic loss of passionate love,” the screen read as the music commenced.

Joined by the rich, ringing baritone of Simon Keenlyside, the Symphony deftly navigated feelings of hope, pain, dread and temporary consolation. As the music moved from fluttery to weighty and deceptively whimsical to mournful, the lights shifted from pinks and purples to deep reds. In the background, however, the projection of a recurrent human face proved a bit more puzzling — not because it was difficult to make out, but because of how distractingly distinct it was amid a backdrop of floral motifs. Nevertheless, Keenlyside gave a lucid performance of the song’s German lyrics, profoundly evoking the anguish of lost and unrequited love..."