San Francisco Opera's 101st Season Continues May 30–June 30, 2024
The late composer Kaija Saariaho. Photo: Andrew Campbell; Scenes from Innocence. Photos: Jean-Louis Fernandez
American Premiere of San Francisco Opera Co-Commission INNOCENCE, the Acclaimed Final Operatic Creation of Luminary Composer Kaija Saariaho
San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim (left). Photo: Stefan Cohen;
Scenes from The Magic Flute (center) and Partenope (right). Photos: Cory Weaver
Music Director Eun Sun Kim Leads Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE in Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade's Popular Staging
Handel's PARTENOPE Returns in Award-Winning Production by Christopher Alden
Tickets available at (415) 864-3330 and sfopera.com
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 25, 2024) — San Francisco Opera’s 101st season continues May 30–June 30 at the War Memorial Opera House with the highly anticipated American premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s final opera, INNOCENCE, along with Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE (DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE) and Handel’s PARTENOPE, presented in award-winning productions. The third performance of each production will be livestreamed.
NEW-TO-SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRODUCTION
THE MAGIC FLUTE by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
May 30–June 30, 2024
Amitai Pati; Christina Gansch; Kwangchul Youn; Lauri Vasar; Anna Simińska; Eun Sun Kim
Caroline H. Hume Music Director Eun Sun Kim opens San Francisco Opera’s 2024 Summer Season on May 30 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE in the energetic and visually stunning hit staging from Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade, revived by director Tobias Ribitski. Drawing inspiration from early animation, silent film and 1920s cabaret, the production which showcases the work of designer Esther Bialas and animator Paul Barritt has won plaudits from Berlin to Los Angeles and comes to San Francisco for the first time. The Los Angeles Times recently praised Kosky and Andrade’s vision as “a wonderful show … great for opera lovers, newbies and the whole family; great for Mozart; great for reminding us of the wonders of silent cinema.”
Mozart’s timeless fairy tale work of art features an international cast of New Zealand-Samoan tenor Amitai Pati as Tamino, Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Pamina and, in a trio of house debuts, Estonian bass-baritone Lauri Vasar as Papageno, South Korean bass Kwangchul Youn as Sarastro and Polish soprano Anna Simińska as the Queen of the Night. Company Chorus Director John Keene prepares the artists of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. The Wednesday, June 26 performance of The Magic Flute marks the Company’s annual Pride Night at the Opera celebration and anticipates Pride weekend in San Francisco, which culminates in the Pride Parade on Sunday, June 30.
INNOCENCE music by Kaija Saariaho,
Finnish libretto by Sofi Oksanen, Multilingual libretto and dramaturgy by Aleksi Barrière
June 1–21, 2024Kaija Saariaho; Ruxandra Donose; Lilian Farahani; Miles Mykkanen; Kristinn Sigmundsson; Vilma Jää; Clément Mao-Takacs
Since its world premiere in 2021, INNOCENCE, a San Francisco Opera co-commission by luminary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, has earned widespread acclaim on the stages of Aix-en-Provence, Helsinki, Amsterdam and London, leading the New York Times to proclaim the opera “a masterpiece … the most powerful work Saariaho has written in a career now in its fifth decade.” This unforgettable work, Saariaho’s final opera (she passed away in June 2023), has its long-awaited American premiere at the War Memorial Opera House on June 1.
Set to a libretto by Finnish novelist Sofi Oksanen and Aleksi Barrière with dramaturgy by Barrière, Innocence explores the attempts to heal in the wake of a horrific mass shooting at an international school in Helsinki. Saariaho’s score, rich in translucent textures and intense beauty, is performed by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra under the baton of conductor Clément Mao-Takacs in his Company debut. Acclaimed Australian film and stage director Simon Stone’s original production which takes place on a rotating, two-level cube will be revived by Louise Bakker. The creative team includes set designer Chloe Lamford, costume designer Mel Page, lighting designer James Farncombe, sound designer Timo Kurkikangas and choreography by Arco Renz.
The ensemble cast, who perform in nine different languages, includes mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose as the Waitress, Miles Mykkanen as the Groom, soprano Lilian Farahani as the Bride, Claire de Sévigné and Rod Gilfry as the Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law, respectively, bass Kristinn Sigmundsson as the Priest and Lucy Shelton as the teacher. Multi-genre instrumentalist and vocalist Vilma Jää, whose art spans Finnish folk songs to experimental electronic music, makes her American operatic debut as the student Markéta.
In connection with the production of Innocence, San Francisco Opera is working with local and national partner organizations to create opportunities for discourse about the effects of gun violence on individuals and communities. More information will be announced closer to the performance period.
PARTENOPE by George Frideric Handel
June 15–28, 2024
Julie Fuchs; Carlo Vistoli; Daniela Mack; Nicholas Tamagna; Alek Shrader; Hadleigh Adams; Christopher Moulds
The 2024 Summer Season mainstage presentations also feature George Frideric Handel’s PARTENOPE in the Olivier Award-winning staging by director Christopher Alden and conducted by early music expert Christopher Moulds. First presented by San Francisco Opera in 2014, Alden’s staging moves this tale of a Neapolitan queen and her eccentric suitors to a 1920s Parisian salon where the extraordinary vocalism and wit of Handel’s masterpiece meet the twentieth-century art movements of Surrealism and Dada. The production, which “turns the opera’s genderbending plot into a nonstop parade of visual and vocal delights” (Mercury News), features set designs by Andrew Lieberman, costumes by Jon Morrell, original lighting by Adam Silverman relit by Gary Marder and choreography by Colm Seery.
French soprano Julie Fuchs and countertenor Carlo Vistoli make their house debuts as Partenope and Arsace, respectively. Beloved San Francisco Opera artists mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, who won acclaim last summer as Frida Kahlo in Gabriela Lena Frank and Nilo Cruz’s El último sueño de Frida y Diego, and tenor Alek Shrader reprise their roles as Rosmira and Emilio. Baritone Hadleigh Adams is Ormonte, and countertenor Nicholas Tamagna makes his house debut as Armindo.
The third performance of each opera during the 2024 Summer Season will be livestreamed. Tickets for the streams, which include a 48-hour on-demand window to access the performance, are $27.50 and available now. All times for livestream performances below are Pacific Time (PT). For more information, visit sfopera.com/digital/livestream.
THE MAGIC FLUTE Tue., June 4 at 7:30 p.m.
INNOCENCE Wed., June 12 at 7:30 p.m.
PARTENOPE Sun., June 23 at 2 p.m.
*For the complete press release, including cast and calendar, open the PDF version above.