October 31, 2011
San Francisco Opera presents Bizet's Carmen November 6-December 4, War Memorial Opera House

 SAN FRANCISCO (October 31, 2011)-San Francisco Opera presents Georges Bizet's Carmen in eleven performances, November 6 through December 4, at the War Memorial Opera House. Thrilling but dangerous, the captivating, capricious Carmen is one of the most vivid characters in all of opera and mezzo-sopranos Kendall Gladen, Anita Rachvelishvili and Kate Aldrich share the title role in this classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle/San Francisco Opera production. Tenor Thiago Arancam is Don José; baritone Paulo Szot, a Tony Award-winner for South Pacific, makes his Company debut as Escamillo; and Adler Fellow Sara Gartland is Micaëla. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Jose Maria Condemi directs, and San Francisco Opera Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi leads the final two performances. 

American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen has appeared as Carmen with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre and Saratoga Opera. A former Adler Fellow, her past Company appearances include Mercédès in Carmen, a Singer in Manon Lescaut, Giovanna in Rigoletto, the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and creating the role of Elizabeth Keckley in Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's Appomattox. Other career highlights include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company and New Orleans Opera; Lily in Porgy and Bess with Washington National Opera; and Mercédès with Los Angeles Opera. On the concert stage, Gladen has been a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, New World Symphony, and the National Philharmonic. Upcoming engagements include Meg Page in Falstaff with Lausanne Opera, and Carmen with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Gladen will sing the role of Carmen on November 6 and 9.

A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Anita Rachvelishvili makes her San Francisco Opera debut in this production of Carmen. She has previously appeared as Carmen at Milan's La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Canadian Opera Company, the Arena di Verona and Seattle Opera. The mezzo-soprano's other recent engagements include Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri at La Scala, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice at the Perelada Festival, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila in concert with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra. Later this season, Rachvelishvili will sing Dalila with Deutsche Oper Berlin, a reprisal of Carmen at the Met, and a gala concert with CulturArte in Puerto Rico. She will come to San Francisco Opera immediately following a performance of Adriana Lecouvreur with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann at Carnegie Hall. Rachvelishvili will sing the role of Carmen on November 12, 15, 17, 20 and 23.

American mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich made her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Carmen in 2006, a role she has performed to great acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and in Verona, Baden Baden, Detroit, and Portland. Career highlights include Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Milan's La Scala and in Lisbon; Nerone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu and Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Adalgisa in Norma at Bologna's Teatro Comunale and in Vancouver and Montreal; Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda at Palermo's Teatro Massimo and San Diego Opera; and the title role of Giulio Cesare in Hamburg. Aldrich will sing the role of Carmen on November 26 and 29 and December 2 and 4.

Brazilian tenor Thiago Arancam, fresh from his success as Christian de Neuveville in last fall's Cyrano de Bergerac, is Don José, the man who unwisely falls under Carmen's spell. He has previously sung Don José in Sanxay, Moscow and Warsaw, with Washington National Opera and, most recently, at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Other recent engagements include Cavaradossi in Tosca at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Philadelphia Opera and in Frankfurt, Rome and Las Palmas, as well as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Washington National Opera.

Baritone Paulo Szot makes his Company debut as Escamillo, a role he has previously performed in Tokyo, Otsu, Valencia, Toronto and Santiago. A 2008 Tony Award-winner for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Szot will return to that role for a tour of the United Kingdom following this production. Equally established in the operatic repertoire, Paulo Szot is highly regarded for his role as Kovalyov in the Metropolitan Opera's recent production of Shostakovich's The Nose and will return to that company later this season as Lescaut in Manon.

Current Adler Fellow Sara Gartland makes her role debut as Micaëla in this production. Previous appearances at San Francisco Opera include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Gerhilde in Die Walküre. Other recent engagements include performances with Utah Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera as Alexandra in Blitzstein's Regina; Opera Iowa as Norina in Don Pasquale; and the Ohio Light Opera as Elisabeth Bennet in the world premiere of Baker and Jacob's musical Pride and Prejudice, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and as Marianne in Romberg's The New Moon.

San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this production. Luisotti opened the 2011-12 season conducting Puccini's Turandot, is currently leading performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and will also return to conduct two special performances with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in concert co-presented with Cal Performances and a new production of Verdi's Attila. Luisotti's outside engagements during the 2011-12 season include Tosca at Milan's La Scala and the rarely performed I Masnadieri with Teatro di San Carlo in Naples in addition to many orchestral engagements, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia. Jose Maria Condemi directs, and Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi conducts the final two performances.                                                                                                                            

Sung in French with English supertitles, the eleven performances of Carmen are scheduled for November 6 (2 p.m.), November 9 (7:30 p.m.), November 12 (8 p.m.), November 15 (8 p.m.), November 17 (7:30 p.m.), November 20 (2 p.m.), November 23 (7:30 p.m.), November 26 (8 p.m.), November 29 (7:30 p.m.), December 2 (8 p.m.) and December 4 (7:30 p.m.), 2011.

Tickets and Information

Tickets for the performance of Bizet's Carmen are priced from $21 to $330 and may be purchased at sfopera.com or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.

All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by educator and educational consultant, Dr. Marcia Green. 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 sfmuni.com.

Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Carmen and San Francisco Opera's 2011-12 season, please visit sfopera.com.

 

 

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San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield, Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Farrow. San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. 

Wells Fargo is San Francisco Opera's Season Sponsor. San Francisco Opera is proud to recognize its corporate partners: United, the Official Airline of San Francisco Opera, and Chevron, fueling great performances everywhere.

                Company Sponsor Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield is proud to support this production. This production is made possible, in part, by United.

              Yamaha is the official piano of San Francisco Opera. Pianos provided by Music Exchange.

 

This press release and downloadable 2011-12 Season photographs are available at sfopera.com/press

 

For further press information, please contact:

 

Jon Finck / (415)565-6472 / jfinck@sfopera.com

Julia Inouye (415)565-6430 / jinouye@sfopera.com

Robin Freeman (415)565-6451 / rfreeman@sfopera.com

 

National Press Representation: Shuman Associates (212)315-1300 / shumanpr@shumanassociates.net

 

 CARMEN: PRODUCTION INFORMATION

 

CARMEN by Georges Bizet                                                              

San Francisco Opera production

                                                                                                   November 6 (2 p.m.), 9 (7:30 p.m.), 12 (8 p.m.),

15 (8 p.m.), 17 (7:30 p.m.), 20 (2 p.m.), 23 (7:30 p.m.),

26 (8 p.m.), 29 (7:30 p.m.); December 2 (8 p.m.),

4 (7:30 p.m.), 2011

 

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

Approximate running time: 3 hours, 40 minutes with two intermissions

Sung in French with English supertitles

First Performance:                              Paris, March 3, 1875

First SFO Performance:                      October 1, 1927

Most Recent SFO Performances:      December 2006

 

Cast:                                                                                                       Production Team:

Carmen                  Kendall Gladen (11/6, 11/9)                              Conductor                              Nicola Luisotti

                                Anita Rachvelishvili* (11/12, 11/15,                                                                Giuseppe Finzi (12/2, 12/4)

                                                11/17, 11/20, 11/23)                          Production                             Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

                                Kate Aldrich (11/26, 11/29, 12/2, 12/4)         Director                                  Jose Maria Condemi

Don José                Thiago Arancam                                                   Set Designer                          Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Micaëla                  Sara Gartland?†                                                   Costume Designer                Werner Juerke                    

Escamillo                Paulo Szot*                                                           Lighting Designer                 Christopher Maravich

Zuniga                    Wayne Tigges                                      

Frasquita               Susannah Biller†                 

Mercédès               Cybele Gouverneur                                                                                                      

Le Remendado      Daniel Montenegro†

Le Dancaïre           Timothy Mix?

Moralès                  Trevor Scheunemann

Lillas Pastia           Yusef Lambert*

 

 

* San Francisco Opera Debut  ?Role Debut  †Current Adler Fellow  ? OperaVision performance

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

American mezzo-soprano KENDALL GLADEN (Carmen) returns to San Francisco Opera in a role she has performed with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Saratoga Opera. A former Adler Fellow, her past Company appearances include Mercédès (Carmen), a Singer (Manon Lescaut), Giovanna (Rigoletto), the Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and creating the role of Elizabeth Keckley in Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's Appomattox. Other career highlights include Maddalena (Rigoletto) with Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, New Orleans Opera, and for her Italian debut in Padova; Lily (Porgy and Bess) with Washington National Opera; Mercédès with Los Angeles Opera; Lucia (Cavalleria Rusticana) at Sarasota Opera; and Flora (La Traviata) with Opera North. As a young artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she performed the roles of the Abbess (Suor Angelica) and Albine (Thaïs). On the concert stage, Gladen has been a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, New World Symphony, and the National Philharmonic. Upcoming engagements include Meg Page (Falstaff) with Lausanne Opera, and Carmen with Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, ANITA RACHVELISHVILI (Carmen) makes her San Francisco Opera debut in a role she has performed at Milan's La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Canadian Opera Company, the Arena di Verona, and Seattle Opera. The mezzo-soprano's other recent engagements include Isabella (L'Italiana in Algeri) at La Scala, Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice) at the Perelada Festival, and Dalila (Samson et Dalila) in concert with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra. A graduate of the La Scala's young artist program, she served as a member of the Tbilisi Opera House from 2006 to 2007 and won second prize in the Georgian International Voice Competition. Upcoming engagements include Dalila with Deutsche Oper Berlin, a reprisal of Carmen at the Met, and a gala concert with CulturArte in Puerto Rico.

American mezzo-soprano KATE ALDRICH (Carmen) made her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Carmen in 2006, a role she has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and in Verona, Baden Baden, Detroit, and Portland. Career highlights include Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) at Milan's La Scala and in Lisbon; Nerone (L'Incoronazione di Poppea) at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu and Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Adalgisa (Norma) at Bologna's Teatro Comunale and in Vancouver and Montreal; Elisabetta (Maria Stuarda) at Palermo's Teatro Massimo and the San Diegro Opera; Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) in Marseille; Charlotte (Werther) in Turin and Lyon; Maffio Orsini (Lucrezia Borgia) with Washington National Opera and in Turin; and the title role of Giulio Cesare in Hamburg. On the concert stage she has been a soloist with the Bologna Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, the National Radio Orchestra of France, and in Montpellier and Washington D.C., among others. Recent engagements include Carmen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Met, and Bavarian State Opera; Didon (Les Troyens) with Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Octavian and Maffio Orsini at Bavarian State Opera.

A former winner of the Operalia competition, THIAGO ARANCAM (Don José) made his San Francisco Opera debut as Christian in 2010's Cyrano de Bergerac. The Brazilian tenor is a former member of the Teatro alla Scala's young artist program in Milan, and he has performed in a number of productions with that company, including Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Ariadne auf Naxos. Arancam's career highlights include Maurizio (Adriana Lecouvreur) in Turin; Radames (Aida) and Pollione (Norma) in Sanxay, France; Luigi (Il Tabarro) with Latvian National Opera; Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana) in St. Petersburg; Don José at Polish National Opera; Ismaele (Nabucco) in Palermo; Cavaradossi (Tosca) in Frankfurt and Berlin; Roberto (Le Villi) in Novara and Mantua; and Don José with Washington National Opera. Recent engagements include Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) in Washington, Canio (Pagliacci) in Stockholm, Cavaradossi in Philadelphia and Rio de Janeiro, and Don José at Moscow's Bolshoi Opera. Later this season, Arancam sings Luigi (Il Tabarro) with Lyon Opera, Des Grieux (Manon Lescaut) in Philadelphia, Turridu with Stockholm's Swedish Radio Orchestra, Don José in Berlin, and Cavaradossi with the Royal Swedish Opera.

Soprano SARA GARTLAND (Micaëla), a second-year Adler Fellow, made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2010 as Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) and returned as Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and Gerhilde (Die Walküre); she created the roles of Pat and Ann earlier this season in the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier. Gartland was heard as Suzel (L'Amico Fritz) with the 2009 Merola Opera Program. Other recent engagements include performances with Utah Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera as Alexandra in Blitzstein's Regina; Opera Iowa as Norina (Don Pasquale); and the Ohio Light Opera as Elisabeth Bennet in the world premiere of Baker and Jacob's musical Pride and Prejudice, Valencienne (The Merry Widow), and as Marianne (Romberg's The New Moon).

Making his San Francisco Opera debut this fall, PAULO SZOT (Escamillo) recently starred in the Broadway revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater and won the 2008 Outer Critics Circle, Theater World, Drama Desk, and Tony awards for his portrayal of Emile de Becque. The Brazilian baritone made his highly acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in a new production of Shostakovich's The Nose in 2010. Career highlights include the role of Don Giovanni with Opéra de Bordeaux, Michigan Opera, and the Dallas Opera; the title role of Eugene Onegin, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), and Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) in Marseille; Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro) at New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Belgium's Flemish Opera; Escamillo with Canadian Opera Company, Metropolitan Opera, and in Santiago, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Most recently he made his Paris Opera debut as Guglielmo.  He also performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic and presented his cabaret show An Evening with Paulo Szot as part of the American Songbook Series at Jazz at Lincoln Center and at the Café Carlyle in New York. His upcoming engagements include Count Almaviva at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Lescaut (Manon) with the Met, and he returns to the Café Carlyle for An Evening with Paulo Szot, which he will also perform at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

SUSANNAH BILLER (Frasquita) a second-year Adler Fellow, made her Company debut this past fall as Kätchen (Werther) and also appeared as Kristina (The Makropulos Case); she created the roles of Lolita and a Bridesmaid in this season's Heart of a Soldier. As a participant in the 2009 Merola Opera Program, she sang Caterina (L'Amico Fritz) and performed scenes as Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice), Musetta (La Bohème), Elvira (L'Italiana in Algeri), and Monica (The Medium). While at the University of Tennessee, Biller performed roles such as Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), First Lady (The Magic Flute), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro), and Mary Warren (The Crucible). She made her professional debut singing Tytania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) with Opera North and Opera Italia.

Cybele Gouverneur (Mercédès) made her San Francisco Opera debut as Alisa in 2008's Lucia di Lammermoor and returned as Schwertleite (Die Walküre) in the 2011 Ring cycle. The Venezuelan-American mezzo-soprano was a principal artist in residence at Opera San Jose from 2007 to 2009, where she has performed the role of Alisa in addition to the title role of Carmen, Charlotte (Werther), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Maddalena (Rigoletto), among others. Other roles in her repertoire include the title role of Massenet's Chérubin, A Minsk Woman in Jonathan Dove's Flight and Cherubino in John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles. Gouverneur has been a young artist at the Caramoor International Music Festival; the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy; and the New York Vocal Institute. She is an alumna of the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music, and the University of Houston.

A first-year Adler Fellow, DANIEL MONTENEGRO (Le Remandado) made his San Francisco Opera debut as Roderigo in 2009's Otello and returned earlier this season as Pong (Turandot) and Rustighello (Lucrezia Borgia). As a participant in the 2010 Merola Opera Program, he performed Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore.  He was recently heard as Mario in Daniel Catán's Il Postino with the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet opposite Plácido Domingo, as Pang in a concert performance of Turandot at the Hollywood Bowl, and as the Shepherd (Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex) at the Sydney Festival. His many appearances with Los Angeles Opera include Gastone (La Traviata); Le Dancaïre (Carmen), which he also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Maximino Mendez in the world premiere of Lee Holdridge's Concierto para Mendez, among other productions. Montenegro's other credits include the Steersman (Der Fliegende Holländer) with both Portland Opera and Arizona Opera.

TIMOTHY MIX (Le Dancaïre) made his San Francisco Opera debut as Sonora in 2010's La Fanciulla del West and returned as Le Bret (Cyrano de Bergerac). The baritone's recent engagements include Ford (Falstaff) with Washington National Opera; Marcello (La Bohème) at Arizona Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Palm Beach Opera; Belcore (L'Elisir d'Amore) with Toledo Opera; and the Duke of Nottingham (Roberto Devereaux) at the Dallas Opera. Mix is a former artist with Pittsburgh Opera Center, and his roles with that company have included Baron Douphol (La Traviata) Don Fernando (Fidelio), Monterone (Rigoletto), Flint (Billy Budd), and Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). Career highlights include Escamillo (Carmen) with Opera Colorado; the title role of Eugene Onegin at Virginia's Todi Music Festival; Ford with New York City Opera; Clayton McAllister (Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree) with Atlanta Opera; and Krušina (The Bartered Bride) at Baltimore Opera.

TREVOR SCHEUNEMANN (Moralès) made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2010 as Jake Wallace (La Fanciulla del West) and returned as Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro); he created the roles of Joseph and Joe in this season's Heart of a Soldier. The American baritone's recent engagements include Count Almaviva and Zurga (Les Pêcheurs de Perles) with Washington National Opera, Schaunard (La Bohème) and Sid (La Fanciulla del West) with the Metropolitan Opera, Melot (Tristan und Isolde) at the Glyndebourne Festival, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) in Frankfurt, Anténor (Rameau's Dardanus) in Lille, and Escamillo (Carmen) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A former member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera, his roles with that company have included Schaunard, Masetto (Don Giovanni), Marco (Gianni Schicchi), Larry Landau (Sophie's Choice), and Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly).

WAYNE TIGGES (Zuniga) made his San Francisco Opera debut this season creating the roles of Sam and Wesley in the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier and returns as Ariodates (Xerxes). The American bass-baritone's recent engagements include Willy Wonka in the European premiere of Peter Ash's The Golden Ticket at the Wexford Festival; Escamillo (Carmen) and Leporello (Don Giovanni) at the San Diego Opera; Jochanaan (Salome) with Arizona Opera; Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with Opera Colorado and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Donner (Das Rheingold), Escamillo, Zuniga, and the Bonze (Madama Butterfly) with Los Angeles Opera; the Vicar (Albert Herring), Basilio, and Hercules (Alceste) with the Santa Fe Opera; Escamillo at the Glyndebourne Festival; Kolenatý (The Makropulos Case) with Paris Opera; and Achilla (Giulio Cesare) with the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. A graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center, Tigges's other roles with that company include the title role of Le Nozze di Figaro, Capulet (Roméo et Juliette), Angelotti (Tosca), Sam (Un Ballo in Maschera), and the Bonze; he also created the role of Snook in Bolcom's A Wedding.

YUSEF LAMBERT (Lillas Pastia) has been performing in the Bay Area for the last five years and makes his San Francisco Opera debut with these performances. He was last seen as Mortimer (The Fantasticks) and Cheswick (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) at the San Francisco Playhouse. He has also performed at ACT, TheatreWorks, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare at Stinson in the Bay Area. Lambert has performed with several sketch comedy groups in Seattle, including Up in Your Grill and Serious Dogs Productions. He is also a founding member of Tongue and Groove Theatre, an award-winning commedia dell'arte theater in Austin, Texas. Lambert works in television and film and is currently starring in the 3D independent film The Magic Man. He studied acting at the University of Texas in Austin.

Italian conductor NICOLA LUISOTTI has been music director of San Francisco Opera since the fall of 2009 and holds the Caroline H. Hume Endowed Chair. This season he leads Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen, a new co-production with Milan's La Scala of Attila, and two special performances with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in concert co-presented with Cal Performances in Berkeley.  Luisotti's other engagements during the 2011-12 season include Tosca at La Scala and the rarely performed I Masnadieri with the Naples Teatro di San Carlo in addition to many orchestral engagements including the Berlin Philharmonic and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia. Called "both an original thinker and a great respecter of tradition" by Opera News, which featured him on the cover of the July 2011 special issue on conductors, Luisotti made his Company debut in 2005 conducting La Forza del Destino and returned in November 2008 to conduct La Bohème. As the Company's music director, he has led acclaimed performances of Il Trovatore, Salome, Otello, La Fanciulla del West, Aida, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Madama Butterfly. Maestro Luisotti has garnered enthusiastic praise from both audiences and critics for his work at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden (Aida, Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Il Trovatore); the Metropolitan Opera (La Bohème, Tosca, La Fanciulla del West); Paris Opera (La Traviata, Tosca); the Vienna State Opera (Simon Boccanegra); La Scala (Attila); Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice (Un Ballo in Maschera, La Fanciulla del West, La Traviata, Simon Boccanegra, Il Viaggio a Reims); Venice's La Fenice (Madama Butterfly); Munich's Bavarian State Opera (Macbeth, Tosca); Frankfurt Opera (Il Trittico); Madrid's Teatro Real (Il Trovatore, La Damnation de Faust, Mefistofele); Los Angeles Opera (Carmen, Pagliacci); Dresden's Semperoper (Tosca, Die Zauberflöte); Toronto's Canadian Opera Company (Un Ballo in Maschera); Seattle Opera (Macbeth); Bologna's Teatro Comunale (Salome); Valencia's Palau de les Arts (Mefistofele); and in Tokyo's Suntory Hall (Turandot, Tosca, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte). Maestro Luisotti was awarded the 39th Premio Puccini Award in conjunction with the historic 100th anniversary of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at the Metropolitan Opera, which he conducted last season. Equally at home on the concert stage, Luisotti serves as principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Symphony and has also established growing relationships with the orchestras of London (Philharmonia Orchestra), Genoa, Budapest, Turin, Munich (Bavarian Radio Orchestra), Palermo, and Rome (Santa Cecilia Orchestra), as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony. His recent and upcoming orchestral engagements include concerts with orchestras of Milan, Philadelphia, Berlin, Madrid, Cleveland, Frankfurt, Rome, and Atlanta, among others. The conductor's expanding discography includes a complete recording of Stiffelio (Dynamic) with the orchestra of Trieste's Teatro Verdi and the critically acclaimed Duets (Deutsche Grammophon), featuring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. He is also on the podium of a DVD recording of the Met's La Bohème, with Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas (EMI).

San Francisco Opera Resident Conductor GIUSEPPE FINZI made his Company debut in 2008 conducting The Elixir of Love for Families, and he returned for performances of La Bohème, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Faust, La Fanciulla del West, and Aida as well as the Company's performances at the 2009 and 2011 Stern Grove Festivals. A native of Bari, Italy, he studied composition and conducting at Milan's Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory. Finzi has worked as an assistant conductor, coach, and pianist at Milan's La Scala, the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Florence and Siena's Accademia Chigiana. He made his conducting debut in 2003 with Tosca at the Teatro Rendano in Cosenza and returned in 2004 for La Traviata. Finzi has since led productions of L'Elisir d'Amore and Madama Butterfly in Catanzaro, Rigoletto and La Traviata in Tirana, L'Elisir d'Amore in Foggia, and Carmen in Calabria and Fidenza. Other career highlights include Così fan tutte in Brindisi, Milan's Piccolo Teatro, and at Tokyo's Kunitachi University.

Artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara, JOSE MARIA CONDEMI has directed Così fan tutte, Tosca, The Elixir of Love for Families, Faust, and Madama Butterfly at San Francisco Opera as well as Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Bohème, and La Cenerentola for the Merola Opera Program. A former Adler Fellow and Merola Opera Program alumnus, his notable engagements include a new production of Ernani, Tristan und Isolde, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (student matinee) for Lyric Opera Chicago; Luisa Miller for the Canadian Opera Company; La Bohème and Il Trovatore for Seattle Opera; Ainadamar and Don Giovanni for Cincinnati Opera; Maria Padilla for Minnesota Opera; Il Trovatore for Austin Lyric Opera; Die Zauberflöte, L'Elisir d'Amore, Don Pasquale, and La Rondine with Opera San Jose; and Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias for the University of Cincinnati, a production which earned him the first prize in the 2000 U.S.A. National Opera Association Competition. Condemi's collaboration with contemporary opera composers include directing the world premieres of Armienta's River of Women and The Weeping Woman as well as the workshop performance of Spratlan's Earthrise, commissioned by San Francisco Opera. His directorial credits in theater include Churchill's Mad Forest, Dürrenmatt's The Physicists, Dorfman's Death and the Maiden, and Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba. Recent credits include Così fan tutte for Atlanta Opera and return engagements with Seattle Opera and Cincinnati Opera.

World-renowned designer and director JEAN-PIERRE PONNELLE (1932-1988) began his long relationship with San Francisco Opera designing the Company productions of Orff's Die Kluge in 1958 and designed both sets and costumes for the U.S. premiere of Die Frau ohne Schatten in 1959. Ponnelle's additional productions here include La Cenerentola (the first American project in which he served as both director and designer), Carmen, Falstaff, Rigoletto, Der Fliegende Holländer, Così fan tutte, Lear, Otello, Gianni Schicchi, Tosca, Turandot, La Bohème, Il Prigioniero, and Idomeneo. The Paris native studied at the Sorbonne and in 1952 created the scenery for the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's first opera, Boulevard Solitude. During the 1950s, he designed productions for the principal German theaters and made design debuts at the Vienna State Opera, the Rome Opera, and the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Televised productions included Idomeneo and Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met and Die Zauberflöte at the Salzburg Festival, as well as filmed versions of Madama Butterfly, Carmina Burana, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Clemenza di Tito, and the three extant Monteverdi operas.

 

 

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