SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRESENTS SUMMER 2015 SEASON, JUNE 7 TO JULY 5, WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE

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SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRESENTS SUMMER 2015 SEASON,
JUNE 7 TO JULY 5, WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE

BERLIOZ’S EPIC SAGA THE TROJANS (LES TROYENS) WITH
ANNA CATERINA ANTONACCI, SUSAN GRAHAM, BRYAN HYMEL, SASHA COOKE AND CONDUCTOR DONALD RUNNICLES, OPENS JUNE 7

WORLD PREMIERE OF MARCO TUTINO’S TWO WOMEN (LA CIOCIARA) STARRING ANNA CATERINA ANTONACCI, CONDUCTED BY NICOLA LUISOTTI AND DIRECTED BY FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO, OPENS JUNE 13

MOZART’S THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) WITH LUCA PISARONI,  CONDUCTED BY PATRICK SUMMERS, OPENS JUNE 14

FREE LIVE SIMULCAST OF THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO AT AT&T PARK, JULY 3

ANCILLARY EVENTS THROUGHOUT BAY AREA
EXPLORE THE TROJANS AND TWO WOMEN

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 19, 2015)—San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2015 Season opens June 7 with The Trojans (Les Troyens), the monumental and epic French grand opera by Hector Berlioz starring Anna Caterina Antonacci, Susan Graham, Bryan Hymel and Sasha Cooke, conducted by Donald Runnicles and featuring the United States debut of a new David McVicar production. The season is further highlighted by the world premiere of Italian composer Marco Tutino’s sweeping and lyrical opera Two Women (La Ciociara) set to a libretto by the composer and Fabio Ceresa starring Anna Caterina Antonacci, directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti. A revival of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) featuring a stellar ensemble cast conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers completes the summer season. San Francisco Opera also returns to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, for a free live simulcast of The Marriage of Figaro on Friday, July 3.

The Trojans (Les Troyens) – Hector Berlioz / June 7July 1

San Francisco Opera presents the long-awaited return of one of the most significant pieces in the operatic repertoire—Berlioz’s The Trojans set to a text by the composer and based on Virgil’s classical poem the Aeneid. After an absence of 47 years, The Trojans is presented in a massive and visually striking co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Vienna State Opera conceived by David McVicar, one of the world’s leading producers for the lyric theater, and directed here by Leah Hausman. The Guardian (London) hailed the production as “a major event” when it premiered in London in 2012. Over the course of five and one-half hours, Berlioz’s five-act visionary masterpiece explores the power of fate and the complex reign of gods over mortals as it depicts the end of a 10-year Greek–Trojan war, the tragic fall of Troy, the great North African city of Carthage and the passionate love of two great leaders.

The resplendent cast is headlined by the “vocally sumptuous and alluring” (New York Times) mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and powerful tenor Bryan Hymel, who gives “an impassioned and confident performance of a heroic role” (New York Times), as the ill-fated lovers Dido and Aeneas. The dramatic role of the prophetess Cassandra is shared by Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, who received enthusiastic reviews in this production at its London premiere, and rising star mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas. Sasha Cooke, who shone in the title role of San Francisco Opera’s world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, returns as Dido’s sister Anna. Former San Francisco Opera Music Director Donald Runnicles, who is currently general music director at Deutsche Oper Berlin, returns to conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Ian Robertson chorus director).

San Francisco Opera has a distinguished history with The Trojans, having staged an abridged version of the opera in 1966 billed as the “American professional stage premiere,” following an earlier stage presentation of the work by the New England Opera Theater in 1955. The Company premiere featured Régine Crespin as both Cassandra and Dido, and Jon Vickers as Aeneas. San Francisco Opera previously presented The Trojans in 1966 (San Francisco), 1968 (San Francisco and Berkeley) and 1969 (Los Angeles tour).    

Two Women (La Ciociara)– Music by Marco Tutino;
Libretto by Marco Tutino and Fabio Ceresa / June 1330

San Francisco Opera presents the world premiere of Italian composer Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara), based on 20th-century Italian author Alberto Moravia’s novel of the same name, with a libretto by the composer and Fabio Ceresa. Moravia’s critically acclaimed 1958 work was adapted in 1960 by noted Italian film producer Carlo Ponti into a film directed by Vittorio De Sica starring Sophia Loren. Loren won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Actress for the performance—the first artist to win an Oscar for a foreign language film. David Gockley remarked, “Marco Tutino’s lush musical palette will remind the listener of Puccini, Leoncavallo and Mascagni. The stunning Italian diva Anna Caterina Antonacci, who Tutino wrote this piece for, will lead a cast whose story will both break your heart and mend it with hope and reconciliation.”

This moving drama follows a strong-willed widow and her teenage daughter in World War II as they flee from Rome to provincial Ciociaria in a vain attempt to find safety. Starring as Cesira is soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, who has garnered outstanding reviews for her rare North American performances. Of a recent recital at Lincoln Center, the New York Times wrote, “The extraordinary Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci has concentrated her career in Europe. Each appearance she makes in America…is coveted by opera fans familiar with her intelligent and charismatic artistry.” Antonacci has previously appeared with San Francisco Opera in the title role of Ermione (1992) and as Adalgisa in Norma (1998).  Completing the cast are soprano Sarah Shafer, who created the role of Mary in the Company’s 2013 world premiere of The Secret Garden, as Cesira’s daughter Rosetta; debuting tenor Dimitri Pittas as Michele, a young intellectual who becomes close to both mother and daughter; and baritone Mark Delavan as the devious Giovanni.

Sung in Italian, Two Women (La Ciociara) will be conducted by Nicola Luisotti and directed by internationally lauded opera and theater director Francesca Zambello, director of the Company’s 2011 Ring cycle. “It is the first time in the history of San Francisco Opera that a great Italian composer will write a new opera for us,” said Maestro Luisotti. “Its subject is very operatic and involves Italian and American people in a very dramatic moment of our mutual history, leading up to the liberation of 1940s Italy from the Nazis and Fascists. With Marco’s dramatic and lyrical compositional style, we are at the doors of a possibility to bring back a ‘new verismo’ period of truly beautiful operas.”

Francesca Zambello commented, “When Nicola Luisotti and David Gockley spoke to me about working together on a 21st-century opera that looked back to the tradition of Italian verismo opera, I was intrigued by the intoxicating combination of the esteemed Italian composer Marco Tutino mixed with a story based on history turned into a compelling novel and then a classic film. The experiences that both of these women undergo during wartime is something we still see today around the world, and in this piece we have an incredible sympathy for them and also try to understand the world that they are facing. Anna Caterina Antonacci and I have a long association with projects together in Pesaro, Rome and Covent Garden, usually all of them complex heroines, so to discover this new character together will be a treat.”

This world premiere co-production with Turin’s Teatro Regio features sets designed by Peter Davison, costumes by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Mark McCullough and both new and vintage projections by S. Katy Tucker depicting the Italian locales and the drama of World War II.

Two Women (La Ciociara) marks the fifteenth opera written by Marco Tutino. Recognized as one of the founders of the Italian “neo-romantic” school of composition, Tutino has written operas, chamber music and symphonic works that have been performed by leading opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe, including Milan’s La Scala, Genoa Opera, Palermo’s Teatro Massimo, Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, and the BBC Symphony. Additionally, Tutino has served as the composer-in-residence for the Arena di Verona, artistic director of Turin’s Teatro Regio and general and artistic director of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna. The San Francisco Opera world premiere of Two Women (La Ciociara) represents the 42nd commissioned work by impresario David Gockley.

Videos of director Francesca Zambello and set designer Peter Davison sharing their thoughts about the production can be viewed at sfopera.com. An insightful conversation with soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci and Francesca Zambello will be available in early April.   

The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart / June 14
July 5

Mozart’s eternally popular comedy The Marriage of Figaro features a cast of vivid characters headlined by young bass-baritone Philippe Sly in the title role and soprano Lisette Oropesa as Susanna.Sly, who makes a role debut with these performances, is a recent graduate of the Adler Fellowship Program and was last seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage as Ormonte in the Company premiere of Handel’s Partenope. In 2014, he brought his “vocal tone of extraordinary beauty and a wickedly ironic stage presence” (Opera News) to the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Oropesa’s highly-praised past performances as Susanna feature a “potent combination of charm and beautifully articulated wit, with telling touches of peasant common sense” (Opera News).

Soprano Nadine Sierra is Countess Almaviva and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who sang the role of Figaro in San Francisco Opera’s 2010 performances of this opera, appears as her philandering husband Count Almaviva. Kate Lindsey returns as Cherubino sharing the role with Angela Brower, who sings three performances.CompanyPrincipal Guest Conductor and Houston Grand Opera Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers will be on the podium for this San Francisco Opera revival created by John Copley and directed by Robin Guarino.

Free Live Simulcast of The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), AT&T Park / July 3

Continuing what has become a beloved Bay Area tradition, San Francisco Opera partners with the San Francisco Giants to present a free live simulcast of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) at AT&T Park on Friday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Company’s 13th simulcast since 2006 (in multiple venues) will be transmitted live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park’s high-definition scoreboard. As a unique opportunity for fans to enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco Opera, the Company’s simulcasts have drawn more than 222,500 people, many experiencing opera for the first time.

Through state-of-the-art technology, the simulcast will be transmitted in 1920×1080 high definition (HD) to AT&T Park’s 103-feet wide Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard—one of the highest quality outdoor LED scoreboards in the nation. Concert quality audio combined with AT&T Park’s huge screen creates an unmatched operatic experience for attendees sitting in the stands and on the baseball field itself. AT&T Park concessions will be open for the simulcast, providing audiences the rare opportunity to pair hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn with world-class opera.

San Francisco Opera at the Ballpark is made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Koret-Taube Media Suite. Free registration for early entry and best seating is available at sfopera.com/simulcast.  

The Trojans (Les Troyens)and Two Women (La Ciociara) Ancillary Events

San Francisco Opera partners with cultural and educational institutions throughout the Bay Area to present lectures and symposia, many of them free, for audiences to further explore The Trojans (Les Troyens) and Two Women (La Ciociara). Events with community partners, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, UC Davis, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, the Wagner Society of Northern California, the San Francisco Opera Guild and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, feature panel discussions with the opera’s cast and creative team members; seminars with noted Berlioz scholar and biographer D. Kern Holoman, and more. A calendar of ancillary events to date follows below; please visit sfopera.com for more information and event updates.    

High resolution downloadable photographs of all 2015 Summer Season productions and artists are available at sfopera.com/press.    

TICKETS AND INFORMATION

Single tickets for Two Women (La Ciociara) andThe Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro)begin at $25, and single tickets for The Trojans (Les Troyens)begin at $32 (prices subject to change); for tickets and information, call (415) 864-3330, visit sfopera.com or visit the San Francisco Opera Box Office, 301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street). Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.

Before every opera performance, listen to charismatic music scholars present a 25-minute Opera Talk including an overview of the opera, with insights on the music, composer and historical background.  Talks begin fifty-five minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.

The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. 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 station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmta.com.

Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2015 season, please visit sfopera.com.

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