Biography

San Francisco Opera is one of the leading producers for the lyric theater stage renowned for presenting innovative and bold productions that feature the world’s most notable singers, conductors, directors and designers along with the resident San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Additionally, San Francisco Opera is highly regarded in the opera industry for its training of young professional singers through the efforts of the San Francisco Opera Center and its affiliate Merola Opera Program. Founded by Italian conductor and pianist Gaetano Merola, San Francisco Opera’s first season was in 1923 at the Civic Center Auditorium. In 1932, the Beaux Arts-designed 3,100 seat War Memorial Opera House opened and remains the home of San Francisco Opera.

Maestro Merola, who led the Company until his death in 1953, was succeeded by Austrian-born Kurt Herbert Adler (1953–81), Terry McEwen (1982–88), Lotfi Mansouri (1988–2001), Pamela Rosenberg (2001–05), and David Gockley, who began his tenure in 2006. Nicola Luisotti is San Francisco Opera’s music director, Patrick Summers principal guest conductor and Giuseppe Finzi resident conductor.

In January 2016, San Francisco Opera will open the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera in the adjacent Veterans Building on the War Memorial campus, featuring a new 299-seat flexible theater, rehearsal hall, education center, public archive and exhibition galleries, administrative offices and a new location for the San Francisco Opera Costume Shop.

The Company’s current 92nd repertory season for 2014–15 includes Bellini’s Norma, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Handel’s Partenope, Puccini’s Tosca and La Bohème, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Berlioz’s Les Troyens, the world premiere of Italian composer Marco Tutino’s Two Women, and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. San Francisco Opera’s operating budget for the 2014-15 season is $77 million. For further information, including video and production photographs, visit sfopera.com.

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