When the sun's shimmering heat is high upon us, we classical music fans are well-accustomed to seeing our much admired music makers turn from the traditional Bach-Brahms-Beethoven stuff to more popular fare. It's pops season for orchestras all over the country now, including our own San Francisco Symphony.

The summer switch-over apparently appeals to top-flight soloists as well, and in the coming weeks, the Bay Area will play host to not one, but three classical music artists of gargantuan stature, at least two of them for sure deviating from their standard highbrow repertoire.

First up is the formidable Jessye Norman, the statuesque soprano who we suspect must carry her own echo chamber around in her chest, and we know to be a favorite performer at the New York Met and opera houses around the world. Norman appears with pianist Mark Markham at Davies Symphony Hall at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 for a recital sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony.

And while she will not be singing Mahler, Schubert or Strauss, she is certainly not slumming. Her "American Masters" program, divided into two parts, focuses first on works for the stage from Rodgers and Hammerstein ("You'll Never Walk Alone"), Gershwin ("The Man I Love"), Bernstein ("Lonely Town"), Arlen ("Sleepin' Bee") and Rodgers and Hart ("Falling in Love with Love"). The second half, subtitled "Mosaic" is a tribute to both the composers and some powerful female singers who have gone before her. She dedicates "My Baby Just Cares for Me" to Nina Simone, "Stormy Weather" to the unforgettable Lena Horne, "Another Man Done Gone" to Odetta and "Mack the Knife" and several Duke Ellington songs (including "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing") to the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.

It should be noted that Norman's appearance was originally scheduled for July 31, but was postponed to give her freedom to perform at Congress's observance of the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington, which took place in the nation's capital Wednesday. Norman, a native of Augusta, Ga., is also the most recent recipient of highest honor doled out by the NAACP, which two weeks ago bestowed on her the Spingarn Medal for outstanding and noble achievement by a U.S. citizen of African descent.

Details: Tickets for Norman's recital, $15-$115, are at 415-864-6000 or www.sfsymphony.org.

Our next superstar stepping out of the strictly classical element is that effervescent, enthusiastic genre-hopper Yo-Yo Ma, who lines his cello up with three other renowned string players and vocalist Aoife O'Donovan for a reprise of the string foursome's "Goat Rodeo Sessions," a multiple Grammy Award-winning album from 2011.

The five performers take the stage at the Greek Theatre on the UC Berkeley campus at 8 p.m. Aug. 24 to perform selections from the album, a collision of bluegrass and rustic Americana that one wowed critic dubbed "lightning in a bottle." Ma's collaborators are all celebrated virtuosos -- fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolin player Chris Thile. O'Donovan, lead singer of Crooked Still, has toured and appeared with the Goat Rodeo group. The whimsical title refers to a sort of order-out-of-mass-chaos situation that Ma has found various ways to describe: "taking one fork in the road after another, but always making the right choices" and "everybody taking turns being leader and follower" are two paraphrases that apply.

Details: The group's appearance is presented by Cal Performances, which has $35-$125 tickets for sale at 510-642-9988 or www.calperformances.org.

Early September, meanwhile, brings us the biggest name of all. Opera singer, conductor and arts administrator Placido Domingo -- apparently having recovered from a hospitalization in Spain for a pulmonary embolism early last month -- will be making his first appearance at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley at 8 p.m. Sept. 7 for a concert conducted by frequent collaborator Eugene Kohn. Appearing with Domingo, whose celebrated tenor has developed a darker baritone character in his eighth decade, are sopranos and apparent proteges Angel Joy Blue and Micaëla Oeste, who have also performed with him before. The concert is presented by Another Planet Entertainment, in association with Cal Performances, and though tickets have been on sale for more than two weeks, no information has been forthcoming about the program content.

A quick scoot around Google and YouTube reveals, however, that in Europe and Mexico, these performers have been dipping of late into repertoire that includes Rodgers and Hammerstein, Franz Lehár and popular Italian composers -- so it's no stretch to suggest that Domingo and company, like Norman and Ma, will be hoping to reach broader audiences than the confirmed classical fans.

Details: Find tickets for the Domingo concert, $79.50-$495, at www.ticketmaster.com, www.apeconcerts.com or 800-745-3000.

Contact Sue Gilmore at sgilmore@bayareanewsgroup.com.

online

To hear soprano Jessye Norman singing "Stormy Weather," go to www.mercurynews.com/entertainment