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Encyclopedia > San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera (SFO) is the second largest opera company in North America. It was founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola (1881-1953). The Opening Night Gala of the San Francisco Opera is widely considered to be one of the most memorable events of the year for opera patrons. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (824x475, 152 KB)San Franciscos War Memorial Opera House, morning October 31, 2005. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (824x475, 152 KB)San Franciscos War Memorial Opera House, morning October 31, 2005. ... War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco The War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California is located on the western side of Van Ness Avenue across from the back face of City Hall. ... This article is about Opera, the art form. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... Gaetano Merola (4 January 1881 – 30 August 1953) was an Italian conductor and founder of the San Francisco Opera. ...

Contents

Founder/General Director Gaetano Merola (1923-1953)

While the first performance of the San Francisco Opera was La bohème, with Queena Mario and Giovanni Martinelli, on September 26, 1923, in the city's Civic Auditorium and conducted by Merola, his involvement in opera in the San Francisco Bay Area had been ongoing since his first visit in 1906. For other uses, see La bohème (disambiguation). ... Giovanni Martinelli (born Montagnana 22 October 1885 - died New York, 2 February 1969) was an Italian tenor opera singer. ... is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... San Francisco Civic Auditorium is an indoor arena in San Francisco, California. ...


Merola launched the company in 1922, convinced that the city could support a full-time opera organization and not depend upon visiting companies, which had been coming to the City since Gold Rush days. In fact, Merola’s initial visits to the city were as conductor of some of these troupes, the first in 1909 with the International Opera Company of Montreal. Continued visits for the next decade convinced him that a San Francisco company was viable, and in 1921 he returned to live in the city under the patronage of Mrs. Oliver Stine.


By the fall of 1921, he was planning his first season which was presented at Stanford University's football stadium on 3rd June 1922 with a star-studded group of singers such as Giovanni Martinelli in I Pagliacci, followed by Carmen and Faust. While it was a popular and critical success, the five-day season was not a financial one. It was clear to Merola that a more solid financial base was needed, and so he set about fund raising for a season of opera to be presented at the Civic Auditorium in the fall of 1923. Appealing to more than the city’s elite, Merola raised 2441 contributions of $50 each from many “founding members”. “Stanford” redirects here. ... Giovanni Martinelli (born Montagnana 22 October 1885 - died New York, 2 February 1969) was an Italian tenor opera singer. ... Pagliacci (The Clowns) is an opera in two acts and a prologue by Ruggiero Leoncavallo. ... For other uses, see Carmen (disambiguation). ... Faust is an opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carrés play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Goethes Faust, Part I. It debuted at the Théatre-Lyrique in Paris on March 19, 1859. ...


After the opening of La boheme, the first 1923/24 season included productions of Andrea Chenier (with Benjamino Gigli), Mefistofele (again with Gigli), Tosca (with Giuseppe de Luca and Martinelli, and Verdi's Rigoletto (with Queena Mario, de Luca and Gigli). An international opera season had been launched, and the ones which followed it covered a broad range of mostly Italian operas, many being presented only once or twice in seasons lasting no more than two months, sometimes only the month of September. Andrea Chénier is an opera in four acts by Umberto Giordano to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica, based on the life of the French poet André Chénier (1762-1794). ... Beniamino Gigli (March 20, 1890 - November 30, 1957) was an Italian singer, widely regarded as one of the greatest operatic tenors of his time. ... Mefistofele is the only completed opera by the Italian composer Arrigo Boito. ... For other uses, see Tosca (disambiguation). ... Giuseppe de Luca, an Italian baritone, was born in Rome in 1876 and died in New York in 1950. ... “Verdi” redirects here. ... Giuseppe Verdi, by Giovanni Boldini, 1886 (National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome) Rigoletto is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. ...


During the nine years following the opening season, the War Memorial Opera House was conceived. The building was designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., the architect who also created San Francisco's Coit Tower and City Hall. War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco The War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California is located on the western side of Van Ness Avenue across from the back face of City Hall. ... Coit Tower with statue of Columbus in foreground Coit Tower was built atop Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco. ...


The company inaugurated the new opera house with a performance of Tosca on October 15, 1932 with Claudia Muzio in the title role. Characteristic of the following thirty of Merola’s years as General Director was the fact (as noted by Chatfield-Taylor) that “the great singers of the world came regularly to San Francisco, often performing several roles in deference to the short season and long travel time across the country.”[1] For other uses, see Tosca (disambiguation). ... Claudia Muzio (1889 - 1936) was an Italian opera singer. ...


Other characteristics of his tenure were the opportunities given to young American singers in spite of the absence of a formal training program at that time, and also regular tours by the SFO to Los Angeles between 1937 and 1965, which expanded the season into November. However, until well after Merola’s death, the main San Francisco season rarely extended beyond late October. He died while conducting an open-air concert at Stern Grove on 30th August 1953. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove, locally called Stern Grove, is a 33-acre recreational site in San Francisco, California administered by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. ...


General Director Kurt Herbert Adler (1953-1981)

Kurt Herbert Adler (1905-1988) came to the United States in 1938 after early experience and training in many aspects of music and theatre in Austria, Germany, and Italy. For five years, he worked to build the chorus of the Chicago Opera Company. Merola heard of him and, over the telephone, invited him to San Francisco opera in 1943 as chorus director. Kurt Herbert Adler was an American Jewish conductor born in Austria. ...


He took on more and more administrative details as Merola’s health and energy diminished, but Adler was not the Board’s natural choice to replace Merola at the time of his death in 1953. After three months of acting as Artistic Director, and with the assistance of its president, Robert Watt Miller, Adler was confirmed as General Director.


Adler’s aims in taking over the company were several. One was to expand the season, which even by the early 1960s was as limited as it was in Merola’s time, running from Labor Day to the opening of the Metropolitan Opera in order to capitalize on the availability of singers by presenting up to fourteen operas with two or three performances each. Eventually, as seen in the 1969 SFO season, eleven operas were given five or six performances each on average while the season ran to late November. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the lead section of this article may need to be expanded. ...


Another aim was to present new talent and, for this, he was tireless in seeking out up-and-coming new singers, whether American or European, by attending performances in both major and minor opera houses. He heard Leontyne Price on the radio, and offered her a role in Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957, thus providing her with her the first performance on a major operatic stage. A short time later in the same season, she was to step into the role of Aida at short notice to replace Antonietta Stella, a role which gave her long-lived international acclaim. Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American opera singer (soprano). ... Dialogues of the Carmelites ( in French, Dialogues des Carmélites) is an opera in three acts by Francis Poulenc. ... Maria Antonietta Stella, born on March 15, 1929 in Perugia, Italy, is an Italian lyric soprano. ...


Thirdly, a characteristic of the Adler years was his interest in developing stronger connections to opera stage directors in an attempt to strengthen the dramatic and theatrical elements of the works. In this, he was greatly supported by his long relationship with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the often-controversial stage director who began his association with SFO in 1957. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932-1988), a highly acclaimed opera director, was born in Paris on February 19, 1932. ...


Several innovations undertaken by Adler included the Merola Opera Program (named after the first general director). It began during the 1954/55 Season and was given its current name in 1957. The program annually offers approximately 23 gifted singers, four apprentice coaches, and one apprentice stage director the rare opportunity of studying, coaching, and participating in master classes with established professionals for eleven weeks during the summer. Many went on to international careers, among them Carol Vaness and Thomas Hampson. Carol Vaness (born July 27, 1952) is an American soprano. ... Thomas Hampson is the name of: Thomas Hampson, the British athlete. ...


Another innovation was “Opera in the Park” which, since 1972, has been an annual free concert in Golden Gate Park on the Sunday following opening night of the Fall Season. It traditionally features artists from the opening weekend in full concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The event is open to the public and draws some 30,000 listeners. The concert is presented in conjunction with the non-profit San Francisco Parks Trust and the San Francisco Chronicle Charities.


Kurt Herbert Adler was often regarded as a difficult, sometimes tyrannical person to work for. However, as Chatfield-Taylor notes, “singers, conductors, directors, and designers came back season after season…. They came back because Adler made the SFO an internationally respected company that ran at a high level of professionalism and offered them interesting things to do in a warm and supportive atmosphere.”[1] Among those who were offered new and exciting challenges were Geraint Evans, the Welsh baritone, Leontyne Price, and Luciano Pavarotti. The Welsh baritone Geraint Llewellyn Evans (16 February 1922 – 19 September 1992) was a well-known opera singer, noted for such roles as Papageno in The Magic Flute, Falstaff, and title-role of Wozzeck, among others. ... Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American opera singer (soprano). ... Luciano Pavarotti performing on June 15, 2002 at a concert in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille Luciano Pavarotti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI[1] (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007) was a celebrated Italian tenor in operatic music, who successfully crossed into popular music becoming one of the most...


By the 1970s, the Company was highly successful and offered audiences the “cream of the crop” of internationally-know singers, but, with Adler often bringing in unknowns to make their American debuts or the surprise of well-known singers replacing ailing ones, there were some exciting nights at the opera. These included Plácido Domingo flying into San Francisco — albeit three hours after curtain time - to replace the ailing Carlo Cossutta on the opening night of Otello, and the last minute substitution by Leontyne Price for Margaret Price in the role of Aida. Plácido Domingo José Plácido Domingo Embil KBE (born January 21, 1941)[1] better known as Plácido Domingo, is a world-renowned operatic tenor. ... Carlo Cossutta (born on May 8 1932 in Santa Croce del Carso, in Trieste, Italy, and died Udine 22 January 2000 after a long struggle against liver cancer) was an Italian opera tenor singer, renowned for his Otello (by Verdi), under the direction of Georg Solti. ... For the Rossini opera, see Otello (Rossini) or for the eurobeat artist see Gianni Coraini. ... Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American opera singer (soprano). ... Dame Margaret Price DBE (born April 13, 1941) is a Welsh soprano. ...


In the summer of 1972, the San Francisco Opera began its 50th anniversary celebrations with a special free concert in Sigmund Stern Grove. Adler conducted most of the program, which featured performances by many of the surviving singers who had appeared with the company during its history. The legendary tenor Lauritz Melchior conducted the orchestra, rather than sang, in a performance of the famous march by Johann Strauss I; it was possibly his last public appearance. One of the highlights of the afternoon program was a moving performance of the love duet from Madama Butterly with soprano Licia Albanese and tenor Frederick Jaegel. Lauritz Melchior (often misspelled Melchoir) (born March 20, 1890 – died March 18, 1973) was a Danish and later American opera singer. ... Licia Albanese, born July 22, 1913, in Bari, Italy, is a distinguished Italian soprano and chairman of The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, founded in 1974 and dedicated to assisting young artists and singers. ...


Adler retired on 15th December 1981.


General Director Terence McEwen (1982-1988)

Following Adler's retirement announcement in June 1979, Terence A. McEwen (born 1929 Thunder Bay, Ontario - died 14 September 1998, Honolulu) was Adler’s hand-picked successor. Growing up in the Montreal area of Canada, McEwen learned to love opera at an early age, listened to the Met broadcasts, and at age 14, made a trip to New York one winter break to hear several of his favorite operas, which included Bidú Sayão and Jussi Bjorling in Rigoletto. As a singer, Sayão was forever to remain his passion, one which was accentuated by seeing her in Manon performances in Montreal. Terence A. McEwen (13 April 1929 – 14 September 1998) was a Canadian opera manager. ... Nickname: Motto: Superior by nature Location of Thunder Bay, Ontario Coordinates: , Country Canada Province Ontario Region Northwestern Ontario District Thunder Bay District CMA Thunder Bay Settled 1679 as Fort Caministigoyan See histories of Port Arthur and Fort William Amalgamation 1 January 1970 Government [1][2]  - Type Municipal Government  - Mayor Lynn... is the 257th day of the year (258th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... Honolulu as seen from the International Space Station Honolulu is the largest city and the capital of the U.S. state of Hawai‘i. ... Look up Met in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Bidu Sayão (May 11, 1902 - March 13, 1999) was Brazils most famous opera singer and one of the great stars of the Metropolitan Opera for fifteen years (1937-1952). ... Jussi Björling â–¶ (help·info) (5 February 1911 – 9 September 1960) was a Swedish tenor and one of most highly regarded opera singers of the 20th century. ... Giuseppe Verdi, by Giovanni Boldini, 1886 (National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome) Rigoletto is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. ... Manon is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille, based on L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost. ...


His passion for opera in general led him to visit the Royal Opera House in London and a lowly paid job with Decca Records in that city. Moving up the ranks in the 1950s, he landed in New York in 1959 and for the next 20 years made London Records, Decca’s classical arm, the most significant label in the United States. After being approached by Adler regarding the San Francisco opera job, he moved to the city in 1980 and involved himself totally in learning the running of an opera company. By January 1982 McEwen was running the SFO. The Floral Hall of the Royal Opera House The Royal Opera House is a performing arts venue in London. ... It has been suggested that Decca Music Group be merged into this article or section. ... London Records is a record label headquartered in the United Kingdom, originally marketing records in the United States, Canada and Latin America from 1947 through the 1980s. ...


Given his expertise and background in understanding the voice and in understanding the wonders of the human voice, it is not surprising, maybe, that his approach in his early years was away from the theatrical side and more focused on singers. With his Ring Cycle which began in the Summer 1983 and Fall 1984 seasons — and which was presented in its entirety in June 1985 – McEwen demonstrated where his priorities lay: they were focused on hiring the best singers in the world. The Ring of the Nibelung or, in the original German, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is a series of four epic operas. ...


As a to reaction to the economic climate of the times, in 1982 McEwen, created the “San Francisco Opera Center” to oversee and combine the operation and administration of the numerous affiliate educational and training programs. Providing a coordinated sequence of performance and study opportunities for young artists, the San Francisco Opera Center includes the “Merola Opera Program”, “Adler Fellowship Program”, “Showcase Series”, “Brown Bag Opera”, “Opera Center Singers”, “Schwabacher Recitals”, and various Education Programs. By introducing his young singers to the great voices of the past, inviting them to rehearsals, and giving tickets to current productions McEwen hoped to create rounded performers who could appear in the regular Fall season.


Amongst his successes in this regard was the mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick from Nevada. By “hand holding"" her through the various stages of training, he prepared her for the role of Azucena in the summer 1986 season to great acclaim. Dolora Zajick, born 24 March 1952 in Salem, Oregon, is an American mezzo-soprano who specialises in the Verdian repertoire. ... Il trovatore (The Troubadour) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Leone Emanuele Bardare and Salvatore Cammarano, based on the play El Trobador by Antonio García Gutiérrez. ...


During the 1983 Fall Season, the student/family matinee performances of La traviata were presented with supertitles. These are English translations of the libretto projected over the proscenium simultaneously with the action on stage. The overwhelmingly favorable response prompted the Company to introduce the practice in increasing numbers of performances in subsequent seasons. Supertitles are now used for all San Francisco Opera productions and SFO also rents its supertitles internationally to other opera companies. La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. ... Supertitles or surtitles are commonly used in opera or other musical performances. ...


In 1986, Sir John Pritchard was appointed Music Director, and served until 1989. Sir John Michael Pritchard CBE (February 5, 1921 – December 5, 1989) was an English conductor. ...


On 8 February 1988, McEwen announced his resignation. The following day his mentor, Kurt Herbert Adler, died. is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ...


General Director Lotfi Mansouri (1988-2001)

Lotfi Mansouri (b. 1929) was already a known quantity when Terry McEwen announced his retirement. Then head of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Mansouri had received an education in medicine in Los Angeles, but gave it all up upon becoming fixated on opera, first as a young tenor with UCLA’s Opera Workshop, and then with opera in general. Lotfi Mansouri (born Iran, 1929) was the general director of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 through 2001. ... The Canadian Opera Company (COC), located in Toronto, Ontario, is the largest opera company in Canada and the sixth largest in North America. ... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ...


As early as 1962, with Mansouri having found work as director in Los Angeles followed by his becoming resident stage director at the Zurich Opera, Adler came to see him at work and he was offered 6 operas to direct in the 1963 season. By the time he became the next General Director, he had directed 60 operas for SFO and many others elsewhere. The Zurich Opera is an opera company in Zurich Switzerland. ...


By 1975 he was director of the Canadian Opera Company where, in 1983, he had introduced the revolutionary supertitles. Mansouri’s feelings on the effects of titling was that the audience would be more engaged in the performace. This changed the whole world of opera.[1] Supertitles or surtitles are commonly used in opera or other musical performances. ...


Mansouri introduced many new operas to the SFO repertory. These included more Russian operas with the highlight being Valery Gergiev’s conducting of Prokofiev’s War and Peace and a firm link established to the Kirov Opera. Also, there was Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani which followed.[2] Valery Gergiev Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, Russian: Вале́рий Абиса́лович Ге́ргиев (born 1953) is a Russian conductor and opera company director. ... Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (Russian: , Sergej Sergejevič Prokofijev; April 27 (April 151 O.S.), 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer who mastered numerous musical genres and came to be admired as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. ... War and Peace (Op. ... The Mariinsky Theatre, known as the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1934-92, is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in St Petersburg. ... Portrait Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868)[1] was an Italian musical composer who wrote more than 30 operas as well as sacred music and chamber music. ... William Tell is an opera by Gioacchino Rossini. ... Les vêpres siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers) is an opera in five acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to a French libretto by Charles Duveyrier and Eugène Scribe from their work Le duc dAlbe. ...


One of Mansouri’s triumphs was the overseeing of the reconstruction and renovation of the opera house following the October 1989 earthquake. After closing at the end of the 1995 Fall season for "a 21-month, US$88.5 million renovation, San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House reopened on Sept. 5 1997 with a gala concert celebrating this occasion, as well the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Opera. Fittingly, the concert featured operatic greats of the past, present and future. The project included repairs of damage caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, improvements for the audience and performers, seismic strengthening and a general cleanup that left the 65-year-old Opera House gleaming.”[3] Categories: Possible copyright violations ...


Donald Runnicles was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of SFO in 1990, and assumed the posts in 1992. Donald Runnicles (born November 6, 1954 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish conductor. ...


In November 1992, Mansouri introduced “Pacific Visions”, an ambitious program designed to maintain the vitality of the opera repertoire through new commissions and the presentation of unusual repertoire. It was launched with the commissioning of the following operas:

  • Harvey Milk, composer Stewart Wallace to a libretto by Michael Korie. It was performed in 1996 as a joint commission and co-production of the SFO, Houston Grand Opera, and New York City Opera. The cast featured Raymond Very as Dan White, Robert Orth as Harvey Milk and Gidon Sachs as Mayor Moscone.

Other premieres at the SFO included: The Dangerous Liaisons is an opera in two acts by Conrad Sousa to an English libretto by Philip Littell, based on the novel in Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. ... Conrad Stephen Susa, born on 26 April 1935 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, is an American composer. ... Renée Fleming Renée Fleming, (born Valentines Day, February 14, 1959), is an American soprano, and sings principally opera and jazz. ... Frederica von Stade (b. ... Thomas Hampson is the name of: Thomas Hampson, the British athlete. ... An American librettist and lyricist Works: Grey Gardens Harvey Milk ... The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is a Houston, Texas-based opera company. ... The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, seen from Lincoln Center Plaza New York State Theater The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, interior, as seen from the stage The New York City Opera (NYCO) is based in Philip Johnsons New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. ... A Streetcar Named Desire is an opera composed by André Previn with a libretto by Philip Littell in 1995. ... André Previn (born April 6, 1929)¹ is a prominent pianist, orchestral conductor, and composer. ... Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), better known by the pseudonym Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright and one of the prominent playwrights of the twentieth century. ... Renée Fleming Renée Fleming, (born Valentines Day, February 14, 1959), is an American soprano, and sings principally opera and jazz. ... Elizabeth Futral is an American coloratura soprano who has won acclaim throughout the United States as well as in Europe, South America, and Japan. ... Rod Gilfry is a leading American opera baritone. ... Dead Man Walking is the title of an opera by Jake Heggie, with a libretto (based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean) by Terrence McNally; it was premiered by San Francisco Opera on October 7, 2000, with Susan Graham as Sister Helen, John Packard as Joseph De Rocher, and... Jake Heggie is a American composer and pianist. ... Terrence McNally (born November 3, 1939), is an American playwright. ... Sister Helen Prejean Sister Helen Prejean CSJ (b. ... Susan Graham (1960– ) is a mezzo-soprano classical singer, born in Roswell, New Mexico, USA. Her roles include Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. ... Frederica von Stade (b. ...

  • The Death of Klinghoffer, composed by John Adams in 1992. The cast included Janice Felty in 3 roles, James Maddalena as The Captain, and Thomas Hammons as the First Officer.

Summing up his years at the SFO, the San Francisco Chronicle noted: "He's never been interested in the succès d'estime, the daring intellectual or theatrical coup that dazzles culture mavens but leaves the general public alienated or bewildered. For Mansouri, a success that doesn't put fannies in the seats is no success at all."[4] The Death of Klinghoffer is an opera by the contemporary American composer John Adams to an English libretto by the poet Alice Goodman. ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... Janice Felty is a mezzo-soprano opera singer. ... Todays San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. ...


Towards the end of the 2001 season, Mansouri announced his retirement after fourteen seasons with SFO and 50 years in the world of opera.


General Director Pamela Rosenberg (2001-2005)

Pamela Rosenberg came from a background of operatic productions in Germany and, specifically, from the Stuttgart Opera.


In January of 2001, Pamela Rosenberg announced her first artistic initiative for San Francisco Opera, “Animating Opera”, a multi-year plan of interwoven themes and series. These included “Seminal Works of Modern Times”, “The Faust Project”, “Composer Portrait: Janacek/Berlioz”, “Women Outside of Society: Laws Unto Themselves”, “Metamorphosis: From Fairy Tales to Nightmares”, and “Outsiders or Pioneers?: The Nature of the Human Condition”. Incorporated within the production programming of Animating Opera is the America staged premiere of Messiaen’s Saint-François d'Assise, the complete version of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All, as well as a commission for a new work by John Adams and Peter Sellars entitled Doctor Atomic, which premiered on October 1, 2005. Olivier Messiaen (December 10, 1908–April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. ... Saint François dAssise is a French opera in three acts and eight scenes by composer and librettist Olivier Messiaen, written from 1975 to 1983. ... Portrait of Berlioz by Signol, 1832 Louis Hector Berlioz (December 11, 1803 – March 8, 1869) was a French Romantic composer best known for the Symphonie Fantastique, first performed in 1830, and for his Requiem of 1837, with its tremendous resources that include four antiphonal brass choirs. ... Cover of the score of La prise de Troie, the first two acts of Les Troyens. ... Virgil Thomson, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1947 Virgil Thomson (November 25, 1896 - September 30, 1989) was an American composer from Missouri, whose rural background gave a sense of place in his compositions. ... The Mother of Us All (1947) is an opera by Virgil Thomson to a libretto by Gertrude Stein. ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... Peter Sellars Peter Sellars (born September 27, 1957) is an American theater director, renowned for his modern stagings of classical operas and plays. ... Doctor Atomic is an opera by the contemporary minimalist American composer John Adams, with libretto by Peter Sellars. ...


After much controversy surrounding her management of the SFO, which included deficits created after the “dot-com” collapse in 2000 and the effects of September 11 on Arts attendance, she announced in 2004 that she would not renew her contract with the Company when it ended in late 2005.


As noted by Steven Winn in the San Francisco Chronicle in December 2005, "Productions were scuttled or postponed in the face of a US$7.7 million deficit. Ambitious programming initiatives and plans for a second, smaller performance venue went by the wayside. Company-wide cuts pared 14 percent from the company's US$67 million budget in 2003." He continues: " Embattled by financial woes and trying labor negotiations, Rosenberg was routinely blamed for problems that were largely beyond her control. Her taste for new and unusual operas and a European-honed aesthetic that favored brash and even radical reinterpretations of the classics, the thinking went, drove away audiences and donors and ran up costs in the company's hour of greatest need."[5] Todays San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. ...


Rosenberg has returned to Germany to work with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic as its Intendantin. Simon Rattle recording Porgy and Bess with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road in 1988, aged 33. ... The Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic), is one of the worlds leading orchestras. ...


General Director David Gockley (2006-present)

After 33 years of directing the Houston Grand Opera, David Gockley became the SFO's General Director on 1 January 2006. As part of an announcement of the 2006/2007 season and the future of the company on 11th January, Gockley noted that "this season we debut a new visual identity and logo in keeping with a new artistic philosophy. I believe that it speaks of glamour, sophistication, tradition and innovation all things that infuse our plans for the future of San Francisco Opera." The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is a Houston, Texas-based opera company. ...


Continuing with his future plans, Gockley stated "I want nothing less than to have the greatest stars of the opera world perform here regularly. You can expect in coming seasons to hear Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Marcello Giordani, Ramón Vargas, Marcelo Alvarez, Juan Diego Flórez, Ben Heppner, Natalie Dessay, and Angela Gheorghiu –among many others. We will have a world premiere for you in 2007, and the Wagner lovers among you will be happy to hear that we expect to commence a Ring Cycle in 2008". Renée Fleming Renée Fleming, (born Valentines Day, February 14, 1959), is an American soprano, and sings principally opera and jazz. ... The Russian soprano Anna Netrebko (born 18 September 1971) is a well-known opera singer. ... Thomas Hampson is the name of: Thomas Hampson, the British athlete. ... Dmitri Hvorostovsky (born 1962) is a top baritone opera singer from Russia. ... Ramon Vargas (1960) is an award-winning Mexican lyric tenor opera singer. ... Date of birth 1962 Location Buenos Aires, Argentina Actor - filmography Rigoletto Story(2005) (V) .... Duke of Mantua Bohème, La (2003) (TV) .... Rodolfo Lucia di Lammermoor (2003) (TV) .... Edgardo Lucrezia Borgia (2002) (TV) (as Marcello Alvarez) .... Gennaro Manon (2001) (TV) .... Le Chevalier des Grieux Rigoletto (2001/II) (TV) .... Duke of... Juan Diego Flórez (Born January 13, 1973) is a Peruvian operatic tenor, particularly known for his roles in Rossini operas. ... Ben Heppner OC (born January 14, 1956) is a Canadian tenor, specializing in opera and classical symphonic works for voice. ... Natalie Dessay (born in Lyon, 19 April 1965) is an important French opera soprano. ... Opera singer Angela Gheorghiu (born September 7, 1965) is one of the most famous contemporary sopranos. ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as they were later called). ... The Ring of the Nibelung or, in the original German, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is a series of four epic operas. ...


In September 2006, it was announced and reported that by mutual agreement with Gockley, Donald Runnicles would conclude his tenure as Music Director in 2009, and would not renew his contract. However, he will maintain an association with SFO and will conduct the 2010-11 production of Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle).[4] Der Ring des Nibelungen, (The Ring of the Nibelung), is a cycle of four epic music dramas by the German composer Richard Wagner. ...


On 9 January 2007, SFO announced its next Music Director will be the Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti, beginning with the 2009-2010 season, for an initial contract of 5 years.[6][7]


Significant American debuts at the SFO

Since 1923, SFO has presented the American debut of numerous artists, including Vladimir Atlantov, Inge Borkh, Boris Christoff, Marie Collier, Geraint Evans, Mafalda Favero, Tito Gobbi, Sena Jurinac, Mario del Monaco, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, Margaret Price, Leonie Rysanek, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Giulietta Simionato, Ebe Stignani, Renata Tebaldi and Ingvar Wixell; conductors Gerd Albrecht, Valery Gergiev, Georg Solti and Silvio Varviso; and directors Francis Ford Coppola, Harry Kupfer and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Inge Borkh (born 1921) is a Swiss soprano. ... Boris Christoff Boris Christoff (Bulgarian: ) (May 18, 1914, Plovdiv, Bulgaria – June 28, 1993, Rome, Italy) was a Bulgarian opera singer, one of the greatest basses of the 20th century. ... Marie Collier (Melbourne, Australia 16 April 1926 - London, 8 December 1971). ... The Welsh baritone Geraint Llewellyn Evans (16 February 1922 – 19 September 1992) was a well-known opera singer, noted for such roles as Papageno in The Magic Flute, Falstaff, and title-role of Wozzeck, among others. ... Mafalda Favero (born Portomaggiore, near Ferrara, 6 January 1903 – died Milan, 3 September 1981) was an Italian operatic soprano. ... Tito Gobbi (October 24, 1913 – March 5, 1984) was an Italian baritone. ... Sena Jurinac (1921 - ) is a celebrated Austrian soprano, born in Yugoslavia. ... Mario del Monaco (Florence July 27, 1915 - October 16, 1982 in Mestre) was an Italian tenor. ... Birgit Nilsson Birgit Nilsson (May 17, 1918 – December 25, 2005) was a great Swedish soprano who specialized in operatic and symphonic works. ... Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American opera singer (soprano). ... Dame Margaret Price DBE (born April 13, 1941) is a Welsh soprano. ... Leonie Rysanek (November 14, 1926 – March 7, 1998) was an Austrian soprano. ... Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf DBE (b. ... The Italian mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato (born 12 May 1910) was one of the great singers of the post-war operatic stage. ... Ebe Stignani (July 10, 1904 - October 5, 1974) was an Italian opera singer, who was pre-eminent in the dramatic mezzo-soprano roles of the Italian repertoire during a stage career of more than thirty years. ... Renata Tebaldi The Italian opera singer Renata Tebaldi (February 1, 1922 – December 19, 2004) was one of the most famous sopranos of the post-war period. ... Ingvar Wixell born May 7, 1931 in LuleÃ¥ is a Swedish baritone opera singer. ... Gerd Albrecht (born July 19, 1935) is a German conductor. ... Valery Gergiev Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, Russian: Вале́рий Абиса́лович Ге́ргиев (born 1953) is a Russian conductor and opera company director. ... Sir Georg Solti, KBE (pronounced IPA: ) (21 October 1912 – 5 September 1997) was a world-renowned Hungarian-British orchestral and operatic conductor. ... Silvio Varviso (Feb. ... Francis Ford Coppola (born April 7, 1939) is a five-time Academy Award winning American film director, producer, and screenwriter. ... German director known for his avant-garde productions of Wagner, which often got him into trouble under the former communist regime of East Germany. ... Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932-1988), a highly acclaimed opera director, was born in Paris on February 19, 1932. ...


References

  1. ^ a b c Chatfield-Taylor, Joan (1997). San Francisco Opera: The First Seventy-Five Years. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0811813681. 
  2. ^ Joshua Kosman. "Two views of Mansouri's S.F. era: Opera director was gambling man", San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Aug 2001. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 
  3. ^ Judy Richter. "San Francisco Opera's 75th Anniversary Gala", Opera Glass, Sep 1997. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 
  4. ^ a b Joshua Kosman. "Runnicles won't renew contract with S.F. Opera", San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep 2006. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 
  5. ^ Steven Winn. "Pamela Rosenberg's time at the Opera was as full of drama as any production.", San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Dec 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 
  6. ^ San Francisco Opera (9 Jan 2007). San Francisco Opera appoints Nicola Luisotti as Music Director beginning in 2009-10 season. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-08-08.
  7. ^ Joshua Kosman. "Nicola Luisotti named Opera's music director, starting in 2009", San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Jan 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For information on Wikipedia press releases, see Wikipedia:Press releases. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 220th day of the year (221st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • San Francisco Opera official website

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