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SFO Streaming the First Century

Streaming the First Century

Session 1: Excerpts

It is always a joy to hear Ezio Pinza in actual performance—first of all for the beauty of the voice itself. But also because he seems incapable of singing a routine phrase or a careless note. Everything is saturated in the emotions of the character at that specific moment, which makes everything intensely alive.
Paul Thomason (on Boris Godunov, 1945)

Also present in these excerpts are two prominent Americans representing two generations of singing. In the Countess’s sudden appearance in Lisa’s room, we hear the legendary Resnik, who—after having moved from spinto soprano to dramatic mezzo in the course of her career—sings one of opera’s great character mezzo parts.  . . . this Countess is a woman of immense authority. Resnik embodies her vocally with rich tone of extraordinary depth, while coloring the text vividly.
Roger Pines (on Pikovaya Dama, 1975)

Boris Godunov, 1945 (Modest Mussorgsky)




Broadcast (10/12/1945)
4 excerpts: total run time ~ 9 minutes
Georges Sebastian conducts the Company premiere of Mussorgsky’s work, sung in Italian, with the incomparable bass Ezio Pinza in the title role and tenor John Garris as the Simpleton.

The Makropulos Case, 1966 (Leoš Janáček)





House recording (November)
3 excerpts: total run time ~ 8 minutes

The U.S. premiere of Janáček’s opera about the mysterious “Emilia Marty,” performed here by soprano Marie Collier, was preserved thanks to a house recording made for conductor Jascha Horenstein.

Pikovaya Dama, 1975 (Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky)




Broadcast (10/24/1975)
5 excerpts: total run time ~ 9 minutes
The Company’s first performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades in the original Russian, was anchored by two recent émigrés from the Soviet regime: conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and soprano Galina Vishnevskaya.

Khovanshchina, 1984 (Modest Mussorgsky)




Broadcast (November)
4 excerpts: total run time ~ 8 minutes
Tradition and the modernity clash in this musically refulgent work by Mussorgsky. Gerd Albrecht conducts the San Francisco Opera premiere featuring a sterling cast, including mezzo-soprano Helga Dernesch as Marfa.