San Francisco Chronicle
Singer asked to reimagine Philharmonia
Bay Area appearances by the resourceful bassbaritone Davóne Tines have been few but dazzling. He made a splash in the 2017 world premiere of “Girls of the Golden West” at the San Francisco Opera, and returned in 2020 — just before the onset of the pandemic — to give a terrifyingly forceful performance as the villain in Handel’s “Aci, Galatea e Polifemo” with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.
Now Tines, 34, is set for a more expansive Bay Area residency, a yearlong creative partnership with Philharmonia that will draw on more than just his vocal skills.
This innovative arrangement, recently announced, will give Tines an active role in the organization’s artistic and strategic planning. He is expected to work closely with the board, the administration and the musicians, and to interact with Philharmonia’s subscribers and firsttime audience members.
“The thrust of the collaboration is to answer the question, ‘What is the point of a Baroque organization in the 21st century?’ ” Tines said in a recent phone interview with The Chronicle. “It’s a provocative question, but also a challenge, and I thought I could honestly interrogate that question over the course of a year.”
Tines’ appointment is the latest in a series of shifts at Philharmonia under Executive Director Courtney Beck that promises to recast the organization’s longstanding profile. First came the appointment of Music Director Richard Egarr, who in 2019 was named to succeed Nicholas McGegan after a 30year tenure. Then in March, Tarik O’Regan was appointed as composerinresidence — a striking move by a periodinstrument ensemble that has rarely strayed beyond the music of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
“These partnerships are not meant to be siloed,” said Beck. “The idea is for everyone to work together to bring the artists front and center.”
Tines’ appointment grew out of a relationship that began in 2017, when the production of “Aci” — a collaboration between Philharmonia and the New York performance space National Sawdust — had its premiere there. A series of conversations ensued over a couple of years, which led to an invitation to Tines to work with Philharmonia as an artist in residence.
“My immediate reaction was, ‘Why would I want to do that?’ ” Tines said.