Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 2015-16 Season of the San Francisco Opera

Verdi's Luisa Miller opens the fall season in a new production



This stars three wonderful American singers:   soprano Leah Crocetto [seen most spectacularly at Santa Fe in Maometto II only a couple of years ago] as Luisa Miller, tenor Michael Fabiano as her beloved Rodolfo, and baritone Vitaliy Bilyy as Luisa’s father.  Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.  Michael recently made his Met La Boheme debut after singing the same role here.  They too are finding out what a fabulous singer he is.  Leah is also a popular favorite and will appear later this season as Liu in TurandotHere is an interview.  This will be a new production by Francesca Zambello.

Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: A Musical Thriller

Am I ready for more Sondheim so soon?  The cast is marvelous:  bass-baritone Gerald Finley as Todd and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who is known to walk on water, as his partner in crime.  If anyone can pull this off, they can.  Patrick Summers will conduct.  The production directed by Lee Blakeley and designed by Tanya McCallin is from the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.  This will be the first time this Broadway musical will be presented at the San Francisco Opera, which means it has to be a new production

Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in a new production

Piotr Beczala (Edgardo). Photo by Ken Howard.

This is the most star-studded of this season with soprano Diana Damrau as Lucia and tenor Piotr Beczala as Edgardo with conductor Nicola Luisotti.  This will be a new production, though I wasn't tired of the old one yet, by the same team who did Susannah.

 
Mozart's The Magic Flute


Albina Shagimuratova (The Queen of the Night). Photo by Cory Weaver.

In the same production as last time Albina Shagimuratova will be back to sing her Queen of the Night, with soprano Nadine Sierra as Pamina and bass baritone Philippe Sly [while still an Adler Fellow, he appeared in major roles in Cosi and Partenope] as Papageno.  Lawrence Foster will conduct.  Too soon for me.   


Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in a new production

Greer Grimsley (Hans Sachs). Photo by Cory Weaver.

Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley returns to San Francisco Opera in his role debut as Hans Sachs. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich, is Walther von Stolzing. Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Eva.  Mark Elder will conduct.  The production is by David McVicar and comes from Glyndebourne.
 
Rossini's The Barber of Seville 


 Daniela Mack (Rosina). Photo by Cory Weaver.

This production is a repeat from a couple of years and stars Daniela Mack as Rosina, the ardent René Barbera as the count and Lucas Meachem in the title role. Giuseppe Finzi, also a repeat, will conduct.  Also too soon for me, though the cast is excellent.
 
A Double Bill: Getty's Usher House and Debussy's La Chute de la Maison Usher, both new


Welsh National Opera production. Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

This is all based on the horror story by Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher.   Featuring imaginative video projections, David Pountney’s production evokes the intense atmosphere of Poe’s prose. Brian Mulligan stars in this spine-tingling U.S. production premiere under the baton of renowned conductor Lawrence Foster

A new opera by Debussy you ask?  From Debussy come only sketches, but in 2004 the opera was reconstructed and orchestrated by Robert Orledge.  This reconstruction has already been performed several times.  How much is Debussy and how much is Orledge you will have to judge for yourself.

Bizet's Carmen in a new production


English National Opera production. Photo by Alastair Muir.
 

The production is by Calixto Bieito, a Spanish theater director who is considered somewhat outrageous.  If you are old enough, it may remind you of the film American Graffiti.  The photos make this look fascinating.  The opera is double cast:  One stars the captivating Irene Roberts as the impassioned Gypsy, Brian Jagde as the lovesick soldier, Nadine Sierra as the innocent Micaëla and Zachary Nelson as the dashing bullfighter. The other is headed by Ginger Costa-Jackson, Riccardo Massi, Erika Grimaldi and Michael Sumuel. Carlo Montanaro conducts.  I don't know which to pick.  I'll look into this.

Verdi's Don Carlo

 Michael Fabiano (Don Carlo). Photo by Ken Howard.
 

Michael Fabiano is back in the title role with Ana María Martínez as his Elisabetta.  She replaces  Verdi soprano Krassimira Stoyanova who is having health problems.  Also starring are Mariusz Kwiecień as Rodrigo and powerful bass René Pape as King Philip.  Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.  That's two Verdi roles in a season for Michael who is admired by people in the know, and is the current holder of the Richard Tucker Prize.

Janáček's Jenůfa in a new production


Metropolitan Opera production. Photo by Beatriz Schiller.  

An original production by Frank Philipp Schlössmann from Hamburgische Staatsoper, this will be conducted by Jiri Belohlavek.  Jenůfa is sung by Malin Byström, Kostelnička will be sung by the great Karita Mattila and Laca is William Burden.

The mounting of new productions is handled in a very mysterious way which I have tried to clarify.

I am excited about Michael Fabiano in two Verdi operas, about the fascinating modern version of Carmen, about Diana Damrau, Piotr Beczala and Krassimira Stoyanova, and about a new opera by Debussy which attempts to be as creepy as Poe.  If I left out your favorite, I apologize.

We are going to miss Gockley when he's gone.  We can only hope his successor continues to use the new crop of American singers with an equal amount of success.

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Altered to reflect casting changes.

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