Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Exciting Summer Season at San Francisco Opera: May 31 through July 2

My secret summer passion — San Francisco Opera’s summer season.

Verdi. Mozart. Puccini.

Rigoletto. Don Giovanni. La Boheme.

The classics, so well known you could sing along. Each one with a dramatic, inspired and artful production design and costumes. I’ll be seeing all three operas.

Above, a scene from Don Giovanni.

San Francisco Opera presents a trio of operatic favorites— Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème—at the War Memorial Opera House through a final matinee of La Boh
ème on July 2.

Highlights of the Summer Season

I’m always excited about each creative aspect of San Francisco Opera presentations. This summer’s performances include a powerful roster of international opera stars, highly original sets and lighting, as well as an international lineup of conductors. 

San Francisco Opera is one of the finest opera companies in the world. Opera lovers fly in from all over the world to enjoy superb productions.

For Verdi’s Rigoletto, I am excited about Michael Yeargan’s shadowy, Giorgio de Chirico-inspired sets. SF Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and cast, featuring baritone Quinn Kelsey as Rigoletto, Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze in her San Francisco Opera debut as Gilda, and Pene Pati in his role debut as the Duke of Mantua.

Don Giovanni
For Don Giovanni, Italian opera director Jacopo Spirei and German set designer Tommi Brem updates the projections and scenery of the 2011 production.

Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo bows for the first time with San Francisco Opera as Don Giovanni. French conductor Marc Minkowski will conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, marking his Company debut.

La Boh
David Farley’s 2014 production of Puccini’s La Bohème, set during mid-19th-century Paris, returns this summer. John Caird directs and Carlo Montanaro conducts a cast featuring Erika Grimaldi (in six performances) and Julie Adams (in two performances) sharing the role of Mimì. Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz as the poet Rodolfo and Ellie Dehn as Musette.

Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is a great favorite with opera lovers and this summer it coincides with city-wide celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

This revival of one of the great love stories in the operatic repertory will feature an international cast including sopranos Erika Grimaldi, Julie Adams and Ellie Dehn; tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz as Rodolfo; and baritone Audun Iversen. Carlo Montanaro conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestral and Chorus.

La Boh
ème: Yes, everyone can hum along, and every opera lover will be returning for more. I usually cry a little at the end, touched by the artistry and passion of all performers.

Puccini’s moving and inevitable work of romantic and idealistic love and tragic loss bounds forward among a rollicking group of bohemian artists in mid-19th-century.

We will see the updated 2014 production by English director John Caird and designer David Farley. I admired the multi-layered elegant staging artful and insightful direction.

La Boh
ème is a co-production of San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera Company.

New Works, New Voices
Exciting new announcement from San Francisco Opera, May 31.

San Francisco Opera announced Opera for All Voices: Stories of Our Time, a new nationwide commissioning initiative committed to telling wide-ranging stories that resonate with all audiences, regardless of age or prior experience with opera.

The Opera for All Voices works will be co-commissioned and co-produced by a consortium of companies led by San Francisco Opera and Santa Fe Opera, and including Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Sarasota Opera and Seattle Opera.

The consortium is commissioning new American operatic works that are flexible in scope and scale, with the potential to be performed in smaller venues and off the main stage while striving for rich storytelling and artistic integrity.

The first new work, composed by Augusta Read Thomas with a libretto by Jason Kim, will receive its premiere in 2019 at Santa Fe Opera.

The second commission, by composer Laura Kaminsky and librettist Kimberly Reed, is slated to premiere at San Francisco Opera in 2020. Complete information including cast, creative team and performance schedule will be announced at a later date. Additional commissions will be chosen through an open invitational and in partnership with a panel of esteemed jurists.

Opera for All Voices was born out of the need for new works that can reach broad-ranging audiences through resonant subject material and manageable budgets. The project also addresses the need to bring new audiences to opera by commissioning works that speak to all voices, are designed with modern attention spans in mind and break down pre-conceived notions about opera.

Opera for All Voices is made possible by generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. Photo by David Wakely.


Images courtesy San Francisco Opera, used here with express permission.


Free live simulcast of Don Giovanni at AT&T Park, San Francisco, June 30.

The annual Opera at the Ballpark is highly popular, attracting thousands of music lovers. Don Giovanni will be simulcast live and free from the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park.

Opera tickets available at 
www.sfopera.com and (415) 864-3330.

Programming information for both the summer 2017 season, and the fall/winter 2017 season, at www.sfopera.com

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