Release date: 1/19/2022
September 9-11 Opening Weekend Features Gala Concert and Opera Ball, World Premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by John Adams and Free Opera in the Park, All Conducted by Music Director Eun Sun Kim
Eight Mainstage Productions Include:
- World Premiere of Antony and Cleopatra, John Adams' new Opera Based on Shakespeare and Classical Sources, Directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer
- Premiere of Co-Commissioned El último sueño de Frida y Diego by Bay Area Composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Nilo Cruz
- New San Francisco Opera Productions of Verdi's La Traviata and Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice
- New Co-Production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly with Tokyo, Dresden and Copenhagen
- Twentieth-Century Masterpieces Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites and Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten Return to the Stage Where They Had Their U.S. Premieres
- Bay Area Premiere of Celebrated Staging of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin Marks the Return of Russian Repertoire After 14 Years
Centennial Celebrations Include 100th Anniversary Concert, Boheme Out of the Box, The Traviata Encounter, Open House, Historic Recordings Project, Community Stories and Exhibitions. Join the Celebration at sfopera.com/100
San Francisco Opera 2022-23 centennial season.pdf Photos
SFO Key Bios.pdf SFO First Century Highlights.pdf SFO Commissions/Premieres.pdf
San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock and Caroline H. Hume Music Director Eun Sun Kim today announced plans for the Company’s 100th season. As only the third American opera company in history to reach this centennial milestone, the Company’s 2022–23 Season will honor San Francisco Opera’s glorious past while inviting the public into an exciting new era of musical excellence under Kim’s music directorship and a renewed commitment to innovation. The season opens on September 9 with an Opening Night Concert in conjunction with the return of Opera Ball followed by eight mainstage operas, additional concerts and community events through July 1, 2023.
San Francisco Opera’s 100th season is anchored by the premieres of new works from two important Bay Area composers: the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by John Adams, which was commissioned for the Company’s centenary, and the local premiere of El último sueño de Frida y Diegoby Gabriela Lena Frank, a San Francisco Opera co-commission that will receive its first performances at San Diego Opera in October 2022 before coming to the War Memorial Opera House in June 2023.
The 2022–23 Season marks a return to full strength with eight mainstage productions and several concerts. Opening weekend kicks off Friday, September 9, with a special centennial Opera Ball celebration and concert featuring soprano Nadine Sierra, tenors Michael Fabiano and Pene Pati and baritone Lucas Meachem with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra under the baton of Eun Sun Kim. On Saturday, September 10, the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra takes center stage with Kim leading a cast headed by Julia Bullock and Gerald Finley as the titular lovers. Sunday, September 11 marks the return of another Company tradition, the free Opera in the Park concert at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park.
New San Francisco Opera productions include Verdi’s La Traviata in a staging by director Shawna Lucey starring soprano Pretty Yende in her Company debut; the return of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, staged only once before by the Company in 1959, featuring countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński in a new production by Matthew Ozawa; and a new interpretation of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly by director Amon Miyamoto starring Karah Son and Michael Fabiano.
In a celebration of the pioneering aesthetic that has defined the Company’s first century, two towering operatic masterpieces of the twentieth century return to San Francisco Opera where each had its American premiere during the 1950s: Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites featuring a cast headed by Heidi Stober as Blanche de la Force, and Richard Strauss’ momentous Die Frau ohne Schatten featuring the returns of Nina Stemme, Camilla Nylund and former music director Sir Donald Runnicles in David Hockney’s production. Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin will be presented in the Bay Area premiere of Robert Carsen’s acclaimed production with Evgenia Muraveva in her American debut as Tatyana and Gordon Bintner making his Company debut as Onegin. Centennial celebrations reach another pinnacle on June 16, 2023 with the 100th Anniversary Concert, a gala event 100 years in the making that looks back at the Company’s first century and on toward the future.
General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “From the moment Gaetano Merola raised the first curtain on San Francisco Opera, this has been a company of possibility, of excellence, of innovative spirit. Our centennial will honor the extraordinary people who shaped our first hundred years, and also be a stepping-off point into the incredible creative possibilities that lie ahead. As we begin our second century, we want to be a place where our community feels that their stories are being told, where we are energizing new conceptions of the art form, and where we continue to create experiences so profound that they reverberate for a lifetime.”
San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin said: “100 years ago, San Francisco answered the call of our founder, Gaetano Merola, to create an opera company the city could call its own. Merola would be proud of the longevity and vitality of San Francisco Opera. Our extraordinary community of subscribers and donors have sustained this Company as a vibrant and creative force and a leader in the international opera world for a century. We look forward to inviting you to this celebration of your opera company.”
Now in her first season as San Francisco Opera’s Caroline H. Hume Music Director, Eun Sun Kim has launched a new era for the Company beginning with the return to live performances in the War Memorial Opera House last August with Puccini’s Tosca. The San Francisco Chronicle observed she “seized control of the score and led a performance of heaving intensity, subtle mood shifts and piquant details.” She also led the Company’s new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, two concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and will return to the podium this summer for a Verdi celebration (June 30, 2022). Last November, the South Korean conductor made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera leading La Bohème and was hailed by the New York Times as “the star of the evening … she did the job with musicianly care, assured technical command, subtlety and imagination.” Kim was also recently named a New York Times 2021 Breakout Star.
Music Director Eun Sun Kim said: “Music’s powerful language inspires us to better understand our world—and each other. I’m deeply honored to be a part of the legacy built over the first 100 years of San Francisco Opera, and I look forward to engaging with our community in so many ways during this celebratory year. San Francisco has supported, nurtured and energized this company. We musicians in turn will continue to strive for the highest levels of artistic excellence, to ensure this rich legacy can be handed down to future generations.”
In 2022–23, Kim leads all performances of Antony and Cleopatra, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly, the Opening Night Concert, Opera in the Park, the resident artist Adler Fellows concert and will be among the maestros in the pit for the 100th Anniversary Concert.
On September 26, 1923, Gaetano Merola inaugurated his new resident company for the opera-loving metropolis of San Francisco with a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Civic Auditorium. Despite a century of forbidding challenges, from the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of competing entertainment media (film, radio, television, internet), the dot-com bust, earthquakes, recessions and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco Opera remains a vital and dynamic artistic institution. Its culture of innovation has led to commissions by leading composers; its audience has witnessed the American debuts of operatic legends; and its training programs have equipped generations of new artists for stages around the world.
As one of only three American opera companies to celebrate 100 years (the Metropolitan Opera is in the midst of its 136th season and Cincinnati Opera marked its centenary in 2020), San Francisco Opera honors its storied past throughout 2022–23 with a host of events and activities. Additional details about centennial events will be released in the coming months.
Bohème Out of the Box
In early 2023, San Francisco Opera will take opera out of the Opera House and bring it into a number of communities around the Bay Area. Audiences will be able to enjoy a shortened version of Puccini’s La Bohème performed live on a shipping-container-turned-stage.
The Traviata Encounter
On November 19, 2022, audiences are invited to experience the romance, drama and passion of one of opera’s greatest works in a new way at The Traviata Encounter. Enjoy the first act of Verdi’s opera, followed by an immersive evening of food, drinks and mingling with artists from the production in a transformed Opera House.
Historic Recordings Project
Explore San Francisco Opera’s first century through the artists and performances that built Merola’s upstart company, over an expansive artistic arc, into one of the world’s leading operatic institutions. Interact with the preserved audio and visual legacy of San Francisco Opera through historic radio broadcasts and other preserved media in periodic web releases.
Witness firsthand the costumes worn on stage by San Francisco Opera stars including Leontyne Price, Kirsten Flagstad and Dorothy Kirsten along with rare photographs and artifacts from the San Francisco Opera Archives. In partnership with the SFO Museum at the San Francisco International Airport, the San Francisco Public Library, Museo Italo Americano and other community partners, rarely seen treasures from 100 years of theatrical history will be on view around the city and greater Bay Area in public exhibitions.
In addition to the Opera’s 100th season, this year also marks the 90th anniversary of the War Memorial Opera House. In celebration of both anniversaries, San Francisco Opera opens the doors of its historic home on October 23, 2022. Experience one of the city’s architectural gems and a world-renowned venue for live opera in this special Open House event. The day’s family-friendly activities include tours, sing-alongs and demonstrations.
While epic stories unfold on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House this season, San Francisco Opera will also explore the stories of its community. Audiences will have the opportunity to develop and share their own narratives in this collaborative storytelling initiative.
New illustrations were created for San Francisco Opera’s Centennial by Bay Area artist Brian Stauffer. Visit sfopera.com to view Stauffer’s work.
Bookmark sfopera.com/100 for the latest news and updates.
NEW IDEAS AND NEW WORKS
San Francisco Opera’s INSTIGATORS
San Francisco Opera will launch a new program in 2022 to pioneer new directions in opera. Instigators brings together bold innovators from outside the world of opera to envision future directions for the art form. The Company will welcome cohorts of individuals from a diverse range of artistic and technological fields into a creative laboratory designed to probe, provoke and expand the boundaries of the art form and explore new ways to create and experience opera. More information about Instigators will be announced at a later date.
CO-COMMISSIONED OPERAS COMING IN FUTURE SEASONS
Since presenting Puccini’s then still-new triptych Il Trittico in its inaugural season of 1923, San Francisco Opera has been an exponent of new music and home for gripping stories by contemporary artists. The Company has presented the American premieres of works by many twentieth century masters, including Francis Poulenc, Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten, Maurice Ravel, Dmitri Shostakovich, Leoš Janáček, Olivier Messiaen and György Ligeti. Since 1961, the Company has been committed to commissioning new operas from living composers and presenting the world premieres of works by John Adams, Jake Heggie, Philip Glass, André Previn, Bright Sheng and others.
While new works from John Adams and Gabriela Lena Frank will bookend the Company’s stage during the Centennial Season, more contemporary works are planned as the Company embarks on its second century. San Francisco Opera’s co-commissioned works Kaija Saariaho and Sofi Oksanen’s Innocence (world premiere at Aix-en-Provence, 2021), Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ Omar (world premiere scheduled for the Spoleto Festival, 2022) and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates and Mark Campbell (world premiere at Santa Fe Opera, 2017) are all planned for the 2023–24 Season.
2022–23 MAINSTAGE SEASON
OPERA BALL: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
September 9, 2022
San Francisco Opera’s Centennial Season opens with an Opening Night Concert and benefit gala, Opera Ball, co-hosted by San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild. The concert of virtuosic arias and ensembles will feature Music Director Eun Sun Kim leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra with soprano Nadine Sierra, tenors Michael Fabiano and Pene Pati and baritone Lucas Meachem. Opera Ball: The Centennial Celebration, co-chaired by Jack Calhoun and Maryam Muduroglu, includes pre-performance cocktails and dinner at San Francisco’s City Hall followed by an after-party in the City Hall rotunda.
WORLD PREMIERE: John Adams’ ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
September 10–October 5, 2022
The first operatic presentation of San Francisco Opera’s 100th Season is the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by internationally renowned composer and Bay Area resident John Adams. The new work, created for San Francisco Opera’s centennial, is a co-commission and co-production with Barcelona’s Liceu Opera, Palermo’s Teatro Massimo and the Metropolitan Opera. With a libretto adapted from Shakespeare’s tragedy with supplementary passages drawn from Plutarch, Virgil and other classical texts, Adams, director Elkhanah Pulitzer and dramaturg Lucia Scheckner blend the mythic imagery of antiquity with the starry glamour of 1930s Hollywood. Pulitzer heads a production team of Tony Award-winning set designer and MacArthur Fellow Mimi Lien, costume designer Constance Hoffman, lighting designer David Finn, projection designer Bill Morrison and sound designer Mark Grey.
Antony and Cleopatra adds a new chapter to the story of one of America’s most prominent composers and to his long-running connection with San Francisco Opera. Adams’ Doctor Atomic (2005) and Girls of the Golden West (2017) were commissioned by the Company and had their world premieres at the War Memorial Opera House, while his The Death of Klinghoffer, a San Francisco Opera co-commission, and Nixon in China were presented here in 1992 and 2012, respectively. San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim leads the world premiere of the composer’s newest stage work, a searing journey into legend with the propulsive rhythms, evocative colors and storytelling power that have distinguished Adams’ operas, symphonic music, concertos and chamber works for more than four decades.
Soprano Julia Bullock, who made a Company debut “of remarkable clarity and presence” (San Francisco Chronicle) as Dame Shirley in Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, will create the role of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Gerald Finley, also an acclaimed Adams role creator for his performances as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic, brings his “unfailingly elegant baritone” (New York Times) to the Roman general and triumvir, Antony. “Bold and ardent” (Mercury News) in his 2015 Company debut as Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, tenor Paul Appleby, who later created Joe Cannon in Girls of the Golden West, is the young Caesar, Octavius. Bass-baritone Alfred Walker is Antony’s confidante Enobarbus and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong portrays Octavia, Caesar’s sister and the wife of Antony.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s EUGENE ONEGIN
September 25–October 14, 2022
Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, inspired Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to create one of his most emotionally charged works and a timeless classic of the operatic repertoire. The story centers around Tatyana, an impulsive girl who is smitten with the handsome Onegin only to be rejected by him, sending both protagonists on divergent paths of dissolution and maturity. Director Robert Carsen’s “psychologically astute” production featuring Michael Levine’s “less-is-more set [which] is one of the stars of the show” (Toronto Star) and lighting by Christine Binder brings this potent work back to the War Memorial Opera House stage as the first Russian work to be presented in 14 years. Greek conductor Vassilis Christopoulos makes his American debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
The international cast for Eugene Onegin features many artists who are new to San Francisco Opera. Russian soprano Evgenia Muraveva, a Salzburg Festival standout who has since appeared on leading stages throughout Europe and in Tokyo, makes her American debut as Tatyana. Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner joins the Company as the title role. American tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson and Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina make their debuts as the tragic poet Lensky and Olga, respectively. Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, well-known to San Francisco Opera audiences since his Company debut in 1979 and most recently for his 2021 portrayal of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, is Prince Gremin.
Francis Poulenc’s DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES (DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES)
October 15–30, 2022
In celebration of San Francisco Opera’s historic dedication to introducing new works, Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage where it received its 1957 American premiere months after the opera’s inaugural presentation in Milan. Following an order of Carmelite nuns in Revolutionary France, Poulenc’s masterpiece depicts the power of human connection amid political and social instability; its denouement is one of the most shattering and musically ingenious final scenes ever created for the stage. The critically acclaimed co-production, first seen at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, is created by French director Olivier Py with production designer Pierre-André Weitz and lighting designer Bertrand Killy.
Just as the Company’s premiere of Dialogues of the Carmelites presented beloved artists in new roles and introduced new performers to its stage, the 2022 presentation offers significant role and Company debuts. Heidi Stober, whose “energy and fluid vocal grace” (San Francisco Chronicle) have illuminated the War Memorial Opera House in a variety of roles, performs her first Blanche de la Force, the fearful young woman who must find her strength even as the guillotine looms. Soprano Michelle Bradley, whose scheduled Company debut was delayed by the pandemic, portrays her first-ever Madame Lidoine. German soprano Michaela Schuster makes her Company and role debuts as the old prioress, Madame de Croissy. Soprano Melody Moore returns to the Company as Mother Marie and soprano Deanna Breiwick joins San Francisco Opera as Sister Constance. Following his acclaimed debut as Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, tenor Ben Bliss returns in his role debut as the Chevalier de la Force. San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim leads the Company’s first presentation of Poulenc’s masterwork in four decades.
NEW SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRODUCTION: Giuseppe Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA
November 11–December 3, 2022
Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata has won the hearts of music lovers for generations with its memorable music and deep emotional resonance. Music Director Eun Sun Kim leads the Company’s first new staging of Verdi’s masterpiece to be built by San Francisco Opera’s own craftspeople in 35 years. This fresh interpretation of a beloved classic reunites director Shawna Lucey, who was recently announced as Opera San José’s next general director, with production designer Robert Innes Hopkins and lighting designer Michael Clark, her collaborators for the Company’s recent production of Puccini’s Tosca. Emphasizing the humanity of its heroine, Lucey’s staging will offer an unflinching look at Parisian courtesan Violetta within the Belle Époque demimonde that attempts to silence her.
A leading bel canto specialist, Pretty Yende recently added Violetta to her repertoire in “a magical performance” (Opera News) at the Paris Opera, repeated the triumph in Palermo, Vienna and Hamburg and has upcoming engagements in London and Naples. In her long-awaited San Francisco Opera debut, the South African soprano gives her first performances of Violetta in the United States. Chilean tenor Jonathan Tetelman—“The guy’s a total star” (New York Times)—makes his Company debut as Alfredo. Simone Piazzola, who was scheduled to appear with San Francisco Opera in Ernani before the pandemic, makes his belated San Francisco Opera debut as Germont.
NEW SAN FRANCISO OPERA PRODUCTION:
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE (ORFEO ED EURIDICE)
November 15–December 1, 2022
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s setting of the Orpheus myth is a linchpin work in opera history that placed poetry and feeling above eighteenth-century values of form and orthodoxy on the lyric stage. For the first time, San Francisco Opera presents this revolutionary work in its original 1762 Viennese edition, which Gluck and poet Ranieri de’ Calzabigi prepared for castrato superstar Guadagni. For this new San Francisco Opera production, director Matthew Ozawa reunites with set and projection designer Alexander V. Nichols and costume designer Jessica Jahn, his collaborators for San Francisco Opera’s presentations of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Marin Center drive-in and Beethoven’s Fidelio in the Opera House. With debuting lighting designer Yuki Nakase Link, the team will highlight the opera’s contemporary resonance in a staging that takes us through the stages of Orpheus’ grief. In her first engagement with the Company, former Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company dancer and acclaimed choreographer Rena Butler joins to create the dance sequences which are integral to the work’s beauty and power.
Jakub Józef Orliński, originally scheduled to make his American opera debut with San Francisco Opera in Partenope in 2020, makes his highly anticipated Company debut as Orpheus, the distraught musician who is permitted by the gods to retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from Hades if he can avoid looking back at her. The Polish countertenor, who has been the subject of feature articles in the New Yorker and Polish Vogue and is a noted break-dancer and internet sensation, has been hailed as “the real countertenor deal … an exceptional legato, no loss of power in the lower reaches, attentive diction, superb histrionic flair. He has, in short, raised the bar decisively” (Opera).
Soprano Christina Gansch, who earned praise for her “silvery vocal passagework and witty stage presence” (San Francisco Chronicle) in Handel’s Orlando, is Orpheus’ beloved, Eurydice. Following triumphs in San Francisco Opera’s new productions of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro as Countess Almaviva and Così fan tutte as Despina, soprano Nicole Heaston returns to portray Love (Amore) who guides Orpheus through the underworld. Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble Marsyas, Peter Whelan, makes his American operatic debut leading Gluck’s score. Newly appointed Chorus Director John Keene prepares the Opera Chorus for the work’s exuberant and lamenting choruses.
NEW SAN FRANCISCO OPERA CO-PRODUCTION: Giacomo Puccini’s MADAME BUTTERFLY
June 3–July 1, 2023
A central work in San Francisco Opera’s repertory since the Company’s second season in 1924, Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly returns in a new production by director Amon Miyamoto. Imagined through the eyes of Cio-Cio-San’s son, Trouble, Miyamoto’s staging follows the boy’s discovery of his origin and the events that led to his American upbringing. Featuring the work of set designer Boris Kudlička, whose sets for Strauss’ Elektra were seen in 2017, the late fashion icon Kenzō Takada, lighting designer Fabio Antoci and projection designer Bartek Macias, this striking new perspective offers a compelling way to experience Puccini’s beloved work. Music Director Eun Sun Kim leads the Orchestra, Chorus and cast in this stunning co-production with The Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation, the Semperoper Dresden and The Royal Danish Opera.
Karah Son has performed Madame Butterfly’s unforgettable title heroine on stages across Europe, North America and Australia. Her celebrated interpretation, “full of emotional power,” praised Limelight, marks her Company debut. The performances of American tenor Michael Fabiano, including his “dynamic and thrillingly alive” (San Francisco Chronicle) role debut as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon with San Francisco Opera, are known for their intensity. Fabiano brings his acclaimed portrayal of B.F. Pinkerton to the War Memorial Opera House stage for the first time. Last heard with the Company in the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, a role she reprises in June 2022, mezzo-soprano Hyona Kim will portray Cio-Cio-San’s confidant, Suzuki. Baritone Lucas Meachem, another international headliner and local favorite, is Sharpless.
Richard Strauss’ DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN
June 4–28, 2023
The extraordinary vocal, orchestral and scenic demands of Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s 1919 opera, Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman Without a Shadow), led many American presenters to complain that the opera was impossible to stage. San Francisco Opera took up the challenge in 1959 and presented the work’s U.S. premiere. Subsequent revivals featuring luminaries like conductor Karl Böhm and sopranos Leonie Rysanek and Birgit Nilsson helped demonstrate what the composer of Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier had once observed about Die Frau ohne Schatten: “music lovers in particular consider it to be my most important work.”
The story of Die Frau ohne Schatten follows the Empress of a spirit world who must steal the shadow of a mortal woman if she is to avoid a fatal curse. The theft, which would rob the harried wife of the dyer, Barak, of any hope of having children, will assuage the threat facing the Empress, but is her quest for humanity worth the price of another’s happiness? Artist David Hockney illuminates the human drama and transformations in Strauss’ mythic work with a vibrant and colorful production, directed by Roy Rallo. Former San Francisco Opera music director Sir Donald Runnicles returns to the podium for this brilliant and rarely performed magnum opus of the German repertory.
Returning to the Company where she has enjoyed many past triumphs, including her unforgettable first Brünnhilde in a complete Ring cycle, Swedish soprano Nina Stemme portrays the Färberin, or Dyer’s Wife. Stemme’s first performances of the role at the Vienna State Opera in 2019 were among opera’s hottest pre-pandemic tickets: “A stunning role debut” hailed Opera News, “Her vocally luxurious performance was a cri du coeur from start to finish, full of longing, anguish, despair and ultimate elation … the house shook with applause at the curtain call.” Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund, who made her San Francisco Opera debut as Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin, is the Empress. At the same sold-out Vienna performances of the opera in 2019, Opera News observed: “Aside from Stemme, the evening’s most accomplished performance belonged to Camilla Nylund, a veteran to this work, who has emerged as one of today’s finest Strauss singers.” Renowned Wagnerian and Brünnhilde at five consecutive Bayreuth Festivals, San Francisco-born soprano Linda Watson makes her long-overdue Company debut as the Nurse.
In his first engagement with San Francisco Opera, Danish baritone Johan Reuter is the decent, hardworking tradesman, Barak. The New York Times recently praised Reuter’s “tender, earnest performance” as Barak in performances at the Metropolitan Opera. British tenor David Butt Philip joins the Company as the Emperor, a spirit world hunter who will be turned into stone if his bride, the Empress, fails to retrieve a human shadow.
CO-COMMISSION PREMIERE: Gabriela Lena Frank and Nilo Cruz’s
EL ÚLTIMO SUEÑO DE FRIDA Y DIEGO (THE LAST DREAM OF FRIDA AND DIEGO)
June 13–30, 2023
In their pioneering new opera, Bay Area composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz explore life, death and desire through two of the twentieth century’s most famous visual artists. Co-commissioned by San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera and DePauw University, El último sueño de Frida y Diego will have its world premiere with San Diego Opera in October 2022 before arriving on the War Memorial Opera stage in June 2023.
Composer Gabriela Lena Frank said: “Frida Kahlo has been a hero since my girlhood. Before I could read, I found her in the pages of an art book in my mother’s home library, the only woman in a multi-volume set of ‘great artists.’ My mother pointed out how Frida was small, brown and creative like us; moreover, of thick brow, disabled and a daughter of both Europe and Latin America like me. Images in her paintings danced in my dreams for years. Now with my first opera with librettist Nilo Cruz, it has been a privilege to lose myself in this fantastical story exploring Frida’s tumultuous love affair, even beyond life itself, with Mexican painter Diego Rivera against the vibrant backdrop of the Day of the Dead. I am grateful.”
The story: It’s been three years since Frida Kahlo passed, but on the Day of the Dead in 1957, her lonely, ailing husband, Diego Rivera, makes a final wish to see Frida once more and the underworld heeds his call. In her Company debut, director Lorena Maza heads a production team that includes set designer Jorge Ballina, costume designer Eloise Kazan and lighting designer Victor Zapatero.
Argentine mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack is Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who found the peace in death she never knew in life. Mack’s most recent performances with the Company were as Rosina in an abridged The Barber of Seville at the Marin Center drive-in. The former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow’s engagements on the War Memorial Opera House stage include Rosina and Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope, the later “delivering athletic, perfectly tuned coloratura and letting the audience feel viscerally the depth of the character’s ardor and pain” (San Francisco Chronicle). Mexican baritone Alfredo Daza, also a former Adler Fellow, returns to the Company as Diego. Chilean soprano Yaritza Véliz makes her debut as Catrina, the Keeper of the Dead, and American countertenor Jacob Ingbar is the young actor, Leonardo. Mexican American conductor Roberto Kalb will take to the podium to conduct the first Spanish language work in San Francisco Opera’s history.
100th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 7:30 pm
San Francisco Opera’s Centennial Season culminates with a historic evening of music and memories. A roster of treasured San Francisco Opera artists will be featured with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a program spanning the Company’s rich, 100-year history. Details will be announced soon; concert and gala tickets will go on sale later this year. Register for updates at sfopera.com/100anniversary.
2022–23 SPECIAL EVENTS
OPERA BALL: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Friday, September 9, 2022, 8 p.m. concert
San Francisco Opera’s centennial season opens with Opera Ball 2022, a benefit gala hosted by San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild to honor the Company’s first 100 years and kick off its second exciting century. The Centennial Celebration is co-chaired by Jack Calhoun and Maryam Muduroglu. Pre-performance cocktails and dinner at San Francisco’s City Hall are followed by a 90-minute concert spectacular conducted by Music Director Eun Sun Kim with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, soprano Nadine Sierra, tenors Michael Fabiano and Pene Pati and baritone Lucas Meachem. Dancing and an after-party follow the performance in the City Hall rotunda. Proceeds from the evening will benefit a wide range of artistic initiatives at San Francisco Opera as well as the San Francisco Opera Guild’s education programs. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/operaball.
A new offering this year as part of Opera Ball is a festive cocktail dinner hosted in partnership with BRAVO! Club. Each ticket includes dinner and performance seating for The Centennial Celebration along with a cocktail reception and after-party. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/operaball. A group for opera-loving professionals, BRAVO! CLUB members enjoy ticket discounts throughout the year, as well as educational and social events.
OPERA IN THE PARK
Sunday, September 11, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.
Robin Williams Meadow, Golden Gate Park
As part of opening weekend, San Francisco Opera’s Opera in the Park will feature artists from the Company’s Fall Season with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, led by Music Director Eun Sun Kim. This annual concert, held at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park, is free and open to the public. More information at sfopera.com/operainthepark.
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Take a tour of the War Memorial Opera House. Family-friendly activities, sing-alongs and demonstrations will be offered throughout the day. The Open House is free and open to the public.
THE TRAVIATA ENCOUNTER
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Experience the romance, drama and passion of opera at The Traviata Encounter. Enjoy the first act of Verdi’s beloved opera, followed by an immersive evening of food, drinks and mingling with artists from the production in a transformed Opera House. Register for first access to tickets: sfopera.com/The Encounter.
THE FUTURE IS NOW: ADLER FELLOWS CONCERT
Friday, December 2, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Music Director Eun Sun Kim conducts this annual showcase for San Francisco Opera’s resident artists in opera scenes and arias with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra at the Herbst Theatre. Tickets will go on sale in summer 2022. For more information about the San Francisco Opera Center and the Adler Fellowship Program, visit sfopera.com/operacenter.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA CHORUS IN CONCERT
Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater
The concert program highlights the San Francisco Opera Chorus under the direction of San Francisco Opera’s new Chorus Director John Keene. Tickets will be available in summer 2022.
BOHÈME OUT OF THE BOX
San Francisco Opera takes opera out of the Opera House and bring it into communities around the Bay Area. Audiences will be able to enjoy a shortened version of Puccini’s La Bohème performed live on a shipping-container-turned-stage.
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
Subscriptions for San Francisco Opera’s Centennial Season are priced from $178 to $3,248 for Full Series (6-8 productions), $42 to $1,624 for Half Series (2–4 productions) and a Design Your Own (DYO) option (minimum four operas). A $2 per-ticket facility fee is included in Balcony 1, 2 and 3 zone prices; all other zones include a $3 per-ticket facility fee. For information about subscriber benefits and special series subscriptions, including the Out of Town Series offering two or three operas over a 2–3 day period; and the Student & Teacher Series offering 50% off select Full and Half Series, visit sfopera.com/subscribe.
2022–23 Season subscriptions are on sale to new and renewing subscribers beginning Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 1 pm Pacific at the San Francisco Opera Box Office (301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco), by calling (415) 864-3330 and online at sfopera.com. San Francisco Opera Box Office hours are Monday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (Saturdays phone only).
Single (non-subscription) tickets for the Centennial Season will go on sale in summer of 2022.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect for all performances and events. For up-to-date information about San Francisco Opera’s safety measures, visit sfopera.com/safetyfirst.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART/Muni Station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and F Market Street. For further public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmta.com.
Gifts of all sizes help create San Francisco Opera’s programs and are much appreciated. To donate visit sfopera.com/donate.
All casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about San Francisco Opera’s 2022–23 Season, visit sfopera.com.
*For the complete press release, including full cast and calendar, please view the attached PDF.