There's barely more than a week of the springtime left, and the harbingers of summer are flitting all about. One of the most reliable of them on the music scene has been the annual, and wildly popular, "Garden of Memory" extravaganza marking the summer solstice at that ornate, intricate architectural wonder, the Chapel of the Chimes, on the border of Oakland's Piedmont district. That boundless source of administrative and musical energy, Sarah Cahill -- pianist, new music champion and radio show host -- has again issued the call for contemporary musicians of all stripes and persuasions to bring their instruments and music stands into every nook, cranny and elaborately decorated corner of the Julia Morgan-designed columbarium for mass concertizing from 5 to 9 p.m. June 21.
Co-sponsored by New Music Bay Area and Chapel of the Chimes, the event, which dates back to 1995, attracts more than a thousand music lovers and curious onlookers, eager to stroll through the sprawling, multilevel mausoleum, coming upon one performing artist or group after another in the various stairwells, chapels, courtyards, gardens, fountains and hidden alcoves of what is said to be the largest above-ground cemetery west of the Mississippi. The participating musicians, some of them conventional and many of them cutting-edge experimentalists, usually number in the dozens, and this year's contingent is predictably multiform and multitudinous. Cahill, as usual, will be performing, and many of the usual suspects will be joining her -- the William Winant Percussion Group, performance artist and looping vocalist extraordinaire Amy X Neuburg, composer Paul Dresher with percussionist Joel Davel, the Wild Rumpus New Music Collective, the Orchestra Nostalgico big band, cellist Theresa Wong, the Del Sol String Quartet and many, many more. Sometimes the sights are as entrancing as the sounds. Composer Juraj Kojs, for instance, is but one of the many who build their own instruments out of found objects and technology.
If you're a newcomer to the event and even mildly intrigued about what it might look like, go to www.gardenofmemory.com to see photos from past events. YouTube also has a plethora of videos that have been posted by various people over the years.
The Chapel of the Chimes is at 4499 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, $5 for those 11 and younger (it is a very kid- and family-friendly occasion). If you want to avoid the crush at the door, get them in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com; there is a direct link to it on the Garden of Memory website.
GO SEE 'COSI': Variously translated as "Never trust a woman," "Thus do they all" and "They're all like that," Mozart's capricious 1790 opera "Cosi fan tutte," now in the midst of a seven-performance run at War Memorial Opera House, is said to have had its genesis in an offhand recommendation made by no less a personage than Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, based on some comically complex romantic entanglements that had recently raised eyebrows in Vienna. The basic plot is that two boastful young braggarts decide, upon provocation from a cynical elder, to test the faithfulness of their fiancees by each trying (and eventually succeeding), in disguise, to seduce the other's gal. It must be forgiven its inherent insult to women, however, because the music -- especially for the many ensemble pieces Mozart wrote for it -- is divine.
San Francisco Opera, in reviving its Robert Perdziola production from 2005, has once again moved the time frame from the original early 18th-century Naples up to a pre-World War I resort hotel on the Mediterranean coast. For these performances, directed by Jose Maria Condemi, S.F. Opera is taking the unusual step of hiring an entire cast of artists making their debuts in the roles.
Soprano Ellie Dehn was Countess Almaviva and then Donna Anna onstage in San Francisco in the 2010 and 2011 productions of Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," and she completes the trilogy with her first performance as Fiordiligi in "Cosi." Starring as her sister is Germany's Dresden Semperoper mezzo-soprano Christel Lotzsch, who is simultaneously making her American debut in the role of Dorabella. Tenor Francesco Demuro and bass-baritone Philippe Sly are Ferrando and Guglielmo, the guys who wager they can steal each other's fiancees. Demuro was last seen here as the Duke of Mantua in this past fall's production of Verdi's "Rigoletto"; Sly, a current Adler Fellow and a 2011 winner of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, sang the Archibald Craven role in this season's world premiere of Nolan Gasser's "The Secret Garden." Former Adler Fellow Susannah Biller debuts in the role of the wily maid Despina, and Italian bass Marco Vinco, who was such a marvelous Leporello in the recent "Don Giovanni," sings as Don Alfonso.
Five productions remain: 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 and 29, and 7:30 p.m. June 26 and July 1. Tickets, $22-$340, are at 415-864-3330 and www.sfopera.com.
Contact Sue Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.