SF Opera offers rich, varied 90th season 

click to enlarge New work: The local premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a San Francisco Opera co-commission, is slated for October at the War Memorial Opera House. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • New work: The local premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a San Francisco Opera co-commission, is slated for October at the War Memorial Opera House.

While the recession is not over in the world of the arts, San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley’s plan for the company’s 90th season, announced today, indicates that tough times may not last forever.

Still carrying a deficit, a continuing concern, the company in 2012-13 is offering a felicitous mix of popular masterpieces with international stars, new productions and more risky commissioned works.

Even with an expected shortfall of $2.4 million on a $70 million budget, Gockley’s seventh year on the job includes planning for three commissioned world premieres in 2013.

The fall season opens Sept. 7 with 12 performances of the revival of 1997’s Michael Yeargan production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Running through Sept. 20 and expected to sell out, the production features two casts: Zeljko Lucic and Marco Vratogna alternating in the title role; Francesco Demuro and David Lomelí singing the role of the Duke; and Aleksandra Kurzak and Albina Shagimuratova as Gilda.

Puccini’s “Tosca” gets a similar treatment, with 12 performances Nov. 15 to Dec. 1 and double-casting two great divas, Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette, in the title role. Massimo Giordano and Brian Jagde alternate as Cavaradossi, Roberto Frontali and Mark Delavan sing Scarpia.

Robert Perdziola’s 2004 production of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” runs six performances, June 9-29, 2013.

New productions include:

  • Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” from the Bavarian State Opera, designed by Vincent Lemaire and directed by Vincent Boussard, with Nicole Cabell and Joyce DiDonato (Sept. 29 to Oct. 19).
  • Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a local premiere and San Francisco Opera co-commission with four other companies; its world premiere in 2010 was at the Dallas Opera’s inaugural season in the Winspear Opera House (Oct. 10 to Nov. 2),
  • Wagner’s “Lohengrin,” in the Robert Innes Hopkins design from Houston and Geneva, with Brandon Jovanovich, Camilla Nylund and Petra Lang (Oct. 20 to Nov. 9).
  • Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann,” designed by Chantal Thomas and directed by Laurent Pelly, from Barcelona, with Matthew Polenzani in the title role, Natalie Dessay portraying the four heroines, Alice Coote, and Christian Van Horn (June 5 to July 6, 2013).

Commissioned world premieres include Nolan Gasser’s “The Secret Garden,” based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1910 classic book and produced in collaboration with Cal Performances. It will be presented in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley March 1-10, 2013.

Also premiering is Mark Adamo’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” (June 19 to July 7, 2013), a controversial contemporary revision of Biblical history, which places Mary among the apostles, and in an intimate relationship with Jesus. Michael Christie conducts, Kevin Newbury is director, Sasha Cooke is scheduled for the title role.

The third commission, “Dolores Claiborne” by Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy, is based on Stephen King’s novel and slated for fall 2013.


San Francisco Opera 2012-13 season

Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

When: Opens Sept. 7

Tickets: $144 to $2,584 for full season, on sale Feb. 15 for new subscribers

Contact: (415) 864-3330; www.sfopera.com

Note: Single tickets, from $22 to $385, go on sale in July.

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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