Sunday, August 31, 2014

Glory, Drama and Beauty at San Francisco Opera: I Love It

Creativity, Verve, Inspiration and Passionate Performances — The San Francisco Opera Fall Season Opens September 5.


I’m looking forward to a great new fall opera season, with thrilling new operas, dynamic new productions, and divas to die for.

I love opera. Big themes and intense emotions take performance and spectacle far beyond singing and orchestral music.

Designers and architects and artists and all creative types, in particular…should have season opera tickets. Music is basically structural and harmonious. The composition and power and mastery of each performance are always inspiring. Set designs, costumes, choreography, expression, ideas, eras, are all captivating.

Watching opera for two or three hours sparks the brain, encourages dreaming, incites new ideas.

Singing…beautiful, moving, live voices…is just the beginning. 

La Bohème


BIG THEMES:

Betrayal, Love, Honor, Death, Dreams, Fantasy, Devastation, Beauty, Triumph, Wit, Hatred and Romance are portrayed on stage.

I watch, caught up in the music and the choreography.

I’m inspired, I’m uplifted and spirited away from the everyday. 

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Opera is one of the greatest international opera companies (now in it 93rd year), and performances at the War Memorial Opera House are among my favorites of the cultural season.

Starting on September 5, when the season launches with a gala, we can look forward to glamorous evenings with Bellini, Verdi, Handel, Rossini, Puccini and Floyd.

First there’s the September 5 opening night gala—and then three glorious months of sopranos and tenors, passionate lyrics, character-enhancing costumes, all surrounded by glamorous sets and orchestral magic. If I'm really fortunate, I sit in the front row, almost part of the orchestra. I love to watch the musicians as well as the drama on stage.

The season opens with Bellini’s moving ‘Norma’ and ends on December 7 with Puccini’s romantic and tragic ‘La Boheme’.

I’ll be attending all seven operas. I’m especially looking forward to the sumptuous production of ‘Norma’ and then a new production and the company premiere of ‘Susannah’.

There’s ‘A Masked Ball’ with its love triangle, and Handel’s ‘Partenope’ transported to 1920s Paris. ‘Tosca’ is so familiar it’s tempting to sing along. ‘Cinderella’ is frothy fun, and ‘La Boheme’ leaves the audience in tears. Divine.

Come with me for a preview. Oh, and for those who love to plan a social evening: All 2014–15 Season evening performances will now have a 7:30 P.M. curtain time. 

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House


Highlights of the Fall Season:



COMPANY PREMIERE of Carlisle Floyd’s SUSANNAH. The first opera composed by this American composer receives its San Francisco Opera premiere in a new production by the team who created 2012’s Nixon in China—director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom. Conductor Karen Kamensek makes her Company debut. 

This opera is a great favorite of David Gockley, San Francisco opera director (formerly with the Houston Opera)…who believes that Carlisle Floyd is one of the top American opera composers. I can’t wait to see it. Sept 6-21. 




COMPANY PREMIERE of Handel’s comedy, PARTENOPE, presented in a brilliant Olivier Award-winning production directed by Christopher Alden and starring two of baroque opera’s most sought-after performers—Danielle de Niese and David Daniels. October 15- Nov 2. 




NEW PRODUCTION PREMIERE of Bellini’s NORMA opens the season starring Sondra Radvanovsky, who sang the role for the first time in 2013 and received outstanding critical acclaim in the recent Metropolitan Opera production of the opera. Sept 5—30. 




La Bohème – Giacomo Puccini
November 14–December 7 

Puccini’s masterpiece about an aspiring poet and a fragile seamstress who experience passionate love and poignant tragedy in 19th-century Paris, features two superb alternating casts in a new production. One cast features Sonya Yoncheva as Mimì opposite Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo. David Farley’s setting is conceived as a collage of canvases by the painter Marcello and is inspired by the artistic brilliance and romance of France’s Belle Époque. Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. November 14–December 7 



Revivals of San Francisco Opera Productions




Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) – Giuseppe Verdi 
October 4–22 

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera is headlined by Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas as the unwisely flirtatious and cavalier King Gustavus III. A compelling tale of love, betrayal and revenge, Verdi’s magnificent drama is presented in San Francisco Opera’s classic production, conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti and directed by Jose Maria Condemi. 




Tosca – Giacomo Puccini
October 23–November 8 


Italian maestro Riccardo Frizza conducts Tosca, Puccini’s masterful melodrama in which a great singer, a rebellious painter and a corrupt police chief engage in a deadly test of wills. San Francisco Opera’s elegant and beloved production designed by Thierry Bosquet is directed by Jose Maria Condemi. 




La Cenerentola (Cinderella) – Gioachino Rossini 
November 9–26 

Based on a beloved fairy tale, Rossini’s La Cenerentola sparkles in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s charming production. French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes makes her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Angelina (Cinderella). 



Susannah set design

A COMMENT ON THE SEASON BY DAVID GOCKLEY:

David Gockley, now in his ninth year as San Francisco Opera general director, commented “I am genuinely enthused about the new season and believe it stacks up against the finest seasons offered over the decades by this great company. All the productions will be sung at the highest international level and will feature our extraordinary San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

“On a personal note, I am particularly thrilled to present Carlisle Floyd’s beautiful and popular Susannah. I have championed Carlisle’s operas throughout my entire career, and I couldn’t be more pleased to finally present Susannah to Bay Area audiences in a handsome new production.” 

Norma set design

OPERA FOR EVERYONE—SAN FRANCISCO OPERA EDUCATION PROGRAMS

San Francisco Opera offers a comprehensive array of acclaimed training programs and performance opportunities for young artists under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program (each a separate institution). Both are led by renowned soprano Sheri Greenawald.

San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild annually bring opera and music education programs to more than 60,000 students throughout Northern California. San Francisco Opera’s groundbreaking Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) programs work with classrooms and educators in grades K–12. Aimed at connecting professional artistic and creative elements of opera with classroom curricula, Opera ARIA’s methodology focuses on empowering educators to work with both San Francisco Opera and their own colleagues to develop connections to curriculum and the California State Arts and Academic Standards.

In addition to these in-school programs, San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild provide education opportunities for all ages, including workshops for adults, pre-opera talks, preview lectures, insight panels, professional development for educators, family opera movie screenings, opera arts training camps, student dress rehearsals and opera house and backstage tours. 

A QUICK LOOK:


SAN FRANCISCO OPERA CELEBRATES 92ND SEASON OPENING 
WITH BELLINI’S NORMA STARRING SONDRA RADVANOVSKY 
SEPTEMBER 5, WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE 



OPENING NIGHT FESTIVITIES HIGHLIGHTED BY 
OPERA BALL 2014: PASSIONE 
AND BRAVO! CLUB OPENING NIGHT GALA 



OPENING WEEKEND CONTINUES WITH COMPANY PREMIERE OF 
CARLISLE FLOYD’S SUSANNAH, SEPTEMBER 6 


ANNUAL FREE OPERA IN THE PARK CONCERT 
SEPTEMBER 7, GOLDEN GATE PARK 






A QUICK HISTORY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO OPERA COMPANY
San Francisco Opera was founded by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953) and incorporated in 1923. The Company's first performance took place on September 26, 1923 (La Bohème, with Queena Mario and Giovanni Martinelli, conducted by Merola).


THANK YOU San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Norby Anderson, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield, Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem. San Francisco Opera is supported, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Opening Weekend Grand Sponsor is Diane B. Wilsey.


CREDITS: 
All images courtesy of San Francisco Opera, and used here with express permission.

All performances feature the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco.

For Tickets, call (415) 864-3330 or www.sfopera.com





2 comments:

*Chic Provence* said...

So exciting Diane! we'll look for you later in the season! Happy "rentree" to you!

bisous

Kit

The Arts by Karena said...

Diane, this is truly a season to enjoy and performances to excitedly look forward to seeing!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena