August 25, 2011
San Francisco Opera Presents World Premiere of Heart of a Soldier by Christopher Theofanidis and Donna Di Novelli September 10-30, War Memorial Opera House


A true story of war, love, friendship and heroism based on
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart's acclaimed book
and the life stories of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill

San Francisco Opera partners with Bay Area organizations to present
ancillary events in conjunction with premiere;
Opera in the Park concert to commemorate 10th anniversary of September 11 attacks

SAN FRANCISCO (August 23, 2011)-San Francisco Opera presents the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier, a new opera by composer Christopher Theofanidis with a libretto by Donna Di Novelli. Commissioned by San Francisco Opera in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, Heart of a Soldier is based on the critically acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart and the life stories of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill. The cast features baritone Thomas Hampson, tenor William Burden and soprano Melody Moore.

Heart of a Soldier will premiere on Saturday, September 10, 2011-the eve of the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks-as part of the Company's 2011-12 repertory season. Six additional performances will be presented through September 30 at the War Memorial Opera House. Francesca Zambello will direct this world premiere production and San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers will lead the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The production team includes set designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Jess Goldstein, lighting designer Mark McCullough, projection designer S. Katy Tucker, physical action director Rick Sordelet, choreographer Lawrence Pech and Company chorus director Ian Robertson.

A tale of war, love, friendship and heroism, Heart of a Soldier reflects on the extraordinary true story of Rick Rescorla, a man trained to be a consummate soldier who gave up his own life saving thousands in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Inspired by the American soldiers he saw as a boy in Cornwall, England preparing to launch the Normandy invasion on what became D-Day, and by his adult friendship with American fighting man Dan Hill, whom he meets in war-torn Rhodesia, Rescorla emigrates to the United States in the early 1960s to become a soldier and a "Yank," ultimately becoming a decorated platoon leader during the Vietnam War.

On September 11, 2001, as head of security for Morgan Stanley at Two World Trade Center, Rescorla is thrown to the floor when United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower. Amidst the unimaginable chaos that ensues, Rescorla uses his commanding presence and booming voice to literally sing his colleagues down smoke-filled stairs and out of the building. While he successfully evacuates all of his company's 2,700 employees from the South Tower before it collapses, Rescorla makes the ultimate sacrifice when he goes back into the building to search for stragglers. Heart of a Soldier is an opera about a hero who disdains that very term, and about his deep friendship with an American soldier, so unlike him in approach and yet so similar in dedication and bravery.

Renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson returns to San Francisco Opera as Rick Rescorla. In addition to creating the role of Valmont in the world premiere of Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons, Hampson has previously performed with the Company as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Ulysses in Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria and in the title roles of Hamlet and Macbeth. A great champion of American song and music, Hampson recently received the Library of Congress's "Living Legend" award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to America's diverse cultural, scientific, and social heritage.

Returning to San Francisco Opera after his most recent appearance as Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress, William Burden is Rick Rescorla's best friend, Daniel J. Hill. Burden has previously created roles in two other world premiere productions-Gilbert Griffiths in Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera and Dodge in Daron Hagen's Amelia at the Seattle Opera. The American tenor made his San Francisco Opera debut as Count Lerma in Don Carlo and has also appeared as Janek in The Makropulos Case and Lindoro in L'Italiana in Algeri.

Former Adler Fellow Melody Moore creates the role of Susan Rescorla, Rick's beloved wife. Moore has previously appeared with the Company as Mimì in La Bohème in 2008 as well as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Career highlights include Mimì at English National Opera and Opera Cleveland; Countess Almaviva with Los Angeles Opera and Rita Clayton in the New York premiere of Stephen Schwartz's Seance on a Wet Afternoon with New York City Opera.

"For nearly a decade I have been hoping to commission an opera from the brilliantly talented Christopher Theofanidis," stated David Gockley. "When there finally was a window of opportunity at Houston Grand Opera, I changed jobs and preliminary plans for Heart of a Soldier had to be put on hold. Once in San Francisco, I felt the opportunity to commission this work in observation of the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11-and the commitment of Tom Hampson to create the lead role-gave the project critical mass. On the surface the piece is about what it takes to be a true hero, but what will drive the music is the passion, the suspense and the ultimate tragedy."

Christopher Theofanidis explains: "Donna and I have spent time with Dan Hill and Susan Rescorla (Rick Rescorla's widow) and we are honored to be involved with this project. The fact that it is a true story has made it very personal for both of us. This is fundamentally a deeply humanistic work, with an emphasis on Rick and Dan coming to understand who they are as people and then maximizing their potential. The essence of this comes from a sense of service to others and duty-the heart of a soldier. This nobility of spirit is transformed in the arc of the opera from Vietnam, where it kept Rick and Dan's troops together, to September 11th, when Rick went back into a building he knew was going to fall. Another theme resonating throughout the opera is how we honor and remember the dead, how we incorporate them into our own hearts and come to grips with great loss."

"When I read James Stewart's true story of an unsung hero of 9/11, its epic themes of a warrior's code of honor, intense bonds of loyalty, late-found love and overwhelming tragedy struck me as extremely theatrical," said Francesca Zambello. "It also takes up ideas and ideals, morals and morality in the context of modern American lives. I have always wanted to create an opera based on a real life story and was very gratified when David Gockley agreed to develop this work with me."

Ancillary Events

San Francisco Opera partners with the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Litquake Festival, Grace Cathedral, the Commonwealth Club, the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the San Francisco Opera Guild to present an array of panel discussions, lectures and special events in conjunction with the Heart of a Soldier premiere. Events include discussions with members of opera's artistic team, author James B. Stewart and Susan Rescorla about the creation of the work and the motivations and challenges behind creating this inspiring opera. A full listing of ancillary events can be found at the end of this press release and at

San Francisco Opera's annual free Opera in the Park concert at Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, on Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m., has been recognized as the City and County of San Francisco's civic observance commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Presented by the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Opera, with the participation of the Office of the Mayor of San Francisco, the Honorable Edwin M. Lee, in cooperation with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, this year's special Opera in the Park concert will honor the memory of those who perished on 9/11 and celebrate the service and heroism of the Bay Area's first responders including firefighters, paramedics and police, among others. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti will conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Chorus and acclaimed soloists from the Company's Fall 2011 Season in a concert featuring Mozart's Requiem in D minor, and inspirational works by American composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and John Williams, as well as music by Christopher Theofanidis. During the Mozart Requiem, musical movements will be interspersed with meditational texts read by members of the broad religious community that comprise the San Francisco Interfaith Council. For more information, visit

San Francisco Opera announces the launch a new Company blog that will give readers an inside look at the creative process and behind-the-scenes activities that take place each day. Backstage at San Francisco Opera, hosted at, will have many contributors, each involved with the Company in a unique way. The blog will feature many posts about Heart of a Soldier including entries from singers, designers, crew members as well as the composer and the director.

Tickets & Information

Tickets for Heart of a Soldier are priced from $21 to $389 and may be purchased at 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.
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 and
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Heart of a Soldier and San Francisco Opera's 2011-12 season, please visit

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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, and Bernard and Barbro Osher. San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.
The world premiere of Heart of a Soldier is made possible, in part, by Company Sponsors John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn. Additional support provided by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
San Francisco Opera simulcasts are made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Company's Koret-Taube Media Suite. A grant from the Koret Foundation provided lead funding for the Koret-Taube Media Suite, with additional support provided by Tad and Dianne Taube. Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark is supported by Presenting Sponsor Webcor Builders, Platinum Sponsor Charles Schwab and Gold Sponsors Chevron and United Airlines.
Yamaha is the official piano of San Francisco Opera. Pianos provided by Music Exchange.

Wells Fargo

2011-12 Season Sponsor



September 10 (8 p.m.), 13 (7:30 p.m.), 18 (2 p.m.), 21 (7:30 p.m.), 24 (2 p.m.), 27 (8 p.m.), 30 (8 p.m.), 2011

Music by Christopher Theofanidis
Libretto by Donna Di Novelli
Based on the book by James B. Stewart and the life stories
of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill

San Francisco Opera production

Approximate running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes with one intermission
Sung in English with English supertitles

Rick Rescorla Thomas Hampson?
Susan Rescorla Melody Moore?
Daniel J. Hill William Burden?
Cyril Henry Mason Phipps?*
Juliet, Barbara Nadine Sierra†?*
Imam Mohannad Mchallah?
Tom, Ted Michael Sumuel*?
Bridesmaid #1, Lolita Susannah Biller†?
Pat, Ann Sara Gartland†?
Bridesmaid #2, Kathy Maya Lahyani†?
Omaha, Robert Ta'u Pupu'a?*
Dexter, Dex Daniel Snyder?*
Joe, Joseph Trevor Scheunemann?
Sam, Wesley Wayne Tigges*?
Maria Carole Schaffer?
Joan Sally Mouzon?
Tony David Gustafson?

Production Team:
Conductor Patrick Summers
Director Francesca Zambello
Set Designer Peter J. Davison
Costume Designer Jess Goldstein*
Lighting Designer Mark McCullough
Projection Designer S. Katy Tucker
Sound Designer Tod Nixon*
Physical Action Director Rick Sordelet*
Choreographer and Dance Master Lawrence Pech
Chorus Director Ian Robertson

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

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Visit for more information and updates
All schedules/programs are subject to change.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 / 5p.m.
San Francisco Opera Guild East Bay Chapter

Veteran's Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette

A Discussion with Christopher Theofanidis & Donna Di Novelli
Composer Christopher Theofanidis and librettist Donna Di Novelli, joined by General Director David Gockley and Director of Music Administration Dr. Kip Cranna, will share insights and experiences on their collaboration and creation of Heart of a Soldier. Soprano Melody Moore, who will portray Rick Rescorla's widow Susan, and former Adler Fellow baritone Austin Kness as Rick Rescorla, will sing excerpts from the opera. Event includes food and wine.

Tickets: $45, non-members welcome. Information: Silvia Lin, (925) 838-9255 or or

Saturday, August 27, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
San Francisco Opera Guild Peninsula Chapter

Green Gables Estate, Woodside

A Discussion with Christopher Theofanidis & Donna Di Novelli
Composer Christopher Theofanidis and librettist Donna Di Novelli, joined by General Director David Gockley and Director of Music Administration Dr. Kip Cranna, will share insights and experiences on their collaboration and creation of Heart of a Soldier. This salute to the fall season includes a mini-concert by San Francisco Opera resident artists. Enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres while exploring the exquisite grounds of historic Green Gables.

Tickets: $50-$150, non-members welcome. Reservations: Andrea Smith, or (650) 322-0607. Information: Judy Kahn, or (650) 948-8881 or

Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 6 p.m.
San Francisco Opera Guild

Herbst Theatre, War Memorial Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Heart of a Soldier Insight Panel Discussion
Learn more about the opera at this informal panel discussion with members of the artistic and creative team of Heart of a Soldier, including Susan Rescorla, who will be doing a book-signing of her new book, Touched by a Hero.

Tickets: Free to Opera members; $5 to general public. Information: (415) 565-6433 or

September 6-8, 2011
San Francisco Opera Guild San Francisco, Marin, East Bay, Sonoma and South Peninsula Chapters
and San Jose Opera Guild

Heart of a Soldier Preview Lectures
UCLA Musicology Professor Mitchell Morris will give in-depth previews at various Bay Area locations.
Peninsula Chapter: September 6
San Jose Opera Guild: September 6
East Bay Chapter: September 7
San Francisco Chapter: September 7
Marin Chapter: September 8
Sonoma Chapter: September 8

Locations, times and admission costs vary. Information:

Thursday, September 8, 2011, 7 p.m.
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

Kanbar Hall, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street, San Francisco

Screening of Love Hate Love
Love Hate Love, a film that follows three survivors-whose lives have been shattered by terrorists-as they search for honor, meaning and a new life's path, will be screened. A panel discussion with members of the creative team follows the screening.

Tickets: $10. Information:

Thursday, September 8, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Litquake Festival

Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco

James Stewart in Conversation with Tom Barbash
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart, author of Heart of a Soldier, will be in conversation with Tom Barbash, author of On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11: A Story of Loss and Renewal. Discussion followed by book-signing.

Free and open to the public. Information:

September 10-30, 2011
San Francisco Opera

War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Heart of a Soldier Pre-Opera Talks
Informative 25-minute talks, presented by Jonathan Khuner, prepare audiences for a deeper, richer opera experience. Pre-opera Talks begin 55 minutes before each Heart of a Soldier performance and take place in the Opera House auditorium.

Free to opera ticket holders,

Sunday, September 11, 2011, 9:30 a.m.
The Forum at Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco

Heart of a Soldier: How one man's bravery on September 11 became an opera
The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, will moderate a lively discussion with Susan Rescorla and members of Heart of a Soldier creative team. Attend on site at Grace Cathedral, or tune in to the live audio webcast or archived recordings at

Free and open to the public. Information: (415) 749-6300 or

Sunday, September 11, 2011, 2 p.m.
San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Chronicle

Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

San Francisco Chronicle Presents San Francisco Opera in the Park
Join in the City's civic observance commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11. This free, special concert will feature the Mozart Requiem and inspirational works by some of America's great composers, including Christopher Theofanidis, composer of Heart of a Soldier.

Free and open to the public,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 6 p.m. (5:30pm check-in)
The Commonwealth Club

San Francisco Club Office, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco

Heart of a Soldier: Honoring Strength through Song with James Stewart
We first heard the extraordinary story of Rick Rescorla, a military veteran who led thousands to safety in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, in James Stewart's 2002 book, Heart of a Soldier. Nine years later, Rescorla's heroism lives on in San Francisco Opera's commemorative production of the same name. Hear about the project's motivations and challenges from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart, composer Christopher Theofanidis, General Director David Gockley and other members of the Heart of a Soldier creative team. These behind-the-scenes experts will discuss their collaboration and creation of this inspiring opera.

Tickets: $20; $12 members; $7 students (with valid ID). Information: (415) 597-6705 or

Sunday, September 18, 2011, 5pm
San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and Books Inc.

Books Inc., Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Opera on the Couch: A Post-Performance Discussion of Heart of a Soldier
Join other inquiring minds for a lively post-performance discussion following the performance of Heart of a Soldier. Members of San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis will discuss the opera's theme from a psychoanalytic perspective.

Free and open to the public; Complimentary light refreshments will be offered.

- SFO -
This press release and downloadable 2011-12 Season photographs are available at

For further press information, please contact:

Jon Finck / (415)565-6472 /
Julia Inouye (415)565-6430 /
Robin Freeman (415)565-6451 /

National Press Representation: Shuman Associates (212)315-1300 /


American baritone THOMAS HAMPSON (Rick Rescorla) made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1990 as Ulysses (Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria) and has returned as Figaro (The Barber of Seville); Valmont in the world premiere of The Dangerous Liaisons; and in the title roles of Hamlet and Macbeth. The Merola Opera Program alumnus has performed in all of the world's most important concert halls and opera houses with many of today's most renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. Recent career highlights include Don Carlo (Ernani), Athanaël (Thais), the title role of Eugene Onegin, and Giorgio Germont (La Traviata) at the Metropolitan Opera; Rodrigo (Don Carlos) and Amfortas (Parsifal) at the Vienna State Opera; Germont with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Macbeth at Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Amfortas, Scarpia (Tosca), Eugene Onegin, and Rodgrigo with Zurich Opera. Hampson has won worldwide recognition for his thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods-most notably German Romantic song and American song. His discography of more than 150 albums includes winners of a Grammy Award, two Edison Prizes, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, and he was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences in 2004. He is the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award recipient from the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C., and in 2010, Hampson was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the Library of Congress's "Living Legend" award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to America's diverse cultural, scientific, and social heritage.

One of America's exciting new talents, MELODY MOORE (Susan Rescorla) was last seen on the San Francisco Opera stage as Mimì (La Bohème) in 2008. She is a former Adler Fellow and Merola Opera Program alumna, and her other Company credits include Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Ida (Die Fledermaus), a Greek Maiden (Iphigénie en Tauride), and Bianca (La Rondine). Career highlights include Mimì at English National Opera and Opera Cleveland; Countess Almaviva with Los Angeles Opera and appearances in that company's productions of Der Zwerg, Der Zerbrochene Krug, and Suor Angelica; the title role of Manon Lescaut with New Orleans Opera; the title role of Suor Angelica with Orlando Opera; and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with the Cincinnati Chamber Opera. Recent and upcoming engagements include Marguerite (Faust) with English National Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater, Countess Almaviva with Madison Opera, Rita Clayton in the New York premiere of Stephen Schwartz's Seance on a Wet Afternoon with New York City Opera, and her debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony in concert performances and a recording of excerpts of Gordon Getty's Plump Jack. A graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she performed for them the role of Candace Whitcomb in Stephen Paulus's The Village Singer and received the Norman Treigle and Andrew White Awards.

American tenor WILLIAM BURDEN (Daniel J. Hill) made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1992 as Count Lerma (Don Carlo) and has returned as Janek (The Makropulos Case), Lindoro (L'Italiana in Algeri), and Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress). He has appeared in many prestigious opera houses in the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Paris Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, the Paris Thèâtre du Châtelet, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Madrid's Teatro Real, and the Saito Kinen Festival. His many roles include the title roles of Faust, Pelléas et Mélisande, Roméo et Juliette, Béatrice and Bénédict, Candide, and Acis and Galatea; Captain Vere in Billy Budd; Don Jose in Carmen; Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore; Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride; Narraboth in Salome; Gerald in Lakmé; Nerone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea; Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte; and Aschenbach in Death in Venice. He also created the role of Gilbert Griffiths in Picker's An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, and the role of Dodge in Daron Hagen's Amelia at the Seattle Opera. Recent credits include Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) at Seattle Opera, Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw) at Los Angeles Opera, Nadir (Les Pêcheurs de Perles) with New Orleans Opera, and Lensky (Eugene Onegin) with Cincinnati Opera. Burden's recordings include Barber's Vanessa with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Chandos, Musique Adorable) and The Songs of Emmanuel Chabrier (Hyperion).

First-year Adler Fellow NADINE SIERRA (Juliet, Barbara) is an alumna of the 2010 Merola Opera Program, where she was heard as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore. Winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Sierra's other recent awards include first prize of the George London Competition (2010), the Gerda Lissner International Competition (2010), the Loren Zachary Competition (2010) and the Stella Maris Competition (2011), as well as second prize in the Mirjam Helin International Vocal Competition (2009). She has sung the Sandman (Hansel and Gretel), the First Spirit (Die Zauberflöte), Beth (Little Women), and Despina (Così fan tutte). Sierra recently appeared as Tytania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) with Boston Lyric Opera and Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice) with Palm Beach Opera. Upcoming engagements include Gilda (Rigoletto) with Florida Grand Opera and Papagena (The Magic Flute) with the Company this season.

HENRY MASON PHIPPS (Cyril) is enjoying his sixth year singing with the Ragazzi Boys Chorus, the last two in the elite Concert group level. In June of 2010, he toured with the chorus to Montreal, and he journeyed to Cuba with the chorus in June, 2011. Phipps performed a solo this winter in the joint Christmas concerts between Ragazzi Boys Chorus and the world renowned Sonos Handbell Ensemble. When he is not singing, Henry enjoys other musical pursuits such as studying the piano, drums, and trumpet.

A native of Aleppo, Syria, MOHANNAD MCHALLAH (Imam) is a professional singer of Muwashshah, a secular musical genre using Arabic muwašša? texts as lyrics. A student of Sabah Fakhry, he has performed across the Middle East-notably in Lebanon and Dubai-and was selected to participate in Syria's Super Star 2 (2004), a television show based on the popular British show Pop Idol that also spawned American Idol. He ultimately won sixth place out of seventeen contestants. Following his success on Super Star, Mchallah has gone on to record two singles.

American bass-baritone MICHAEL SUMUEL (Tom, Ted) makes his San Francisco Opera debut this season. An alumnus of the 2009 Merola Opera Program, he is also a Houston Grand Opera Studio Artist and appeared with that company this past spring as Antonio (The Marriage of Figaro) and a Lackey (Ariadne auf Naxos). Sumuel's other credits in Houston include Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) a Motorcycle Cop and Prison Guard (Heggie's Dead Man Walking), and Dulcamara (L'Elisir d'Amore); he also sang Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. His awards include a 2010 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and third place in the 2009 Eleanor McCollum Competition. Sumuel recently completed his second season as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera.

SUSANNAH BILLER (Lolita, Bridesmaid) a second-year Adler Fellow, made her Company debut this past fall as Kätchen (Werther) and also appeared as Kristina (The Makropulos Case). 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. The soprano appears with the Company this fall as Frasquita (Carmen).

Soprano SARA GARTLAND (Pat, Ann), 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 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). She returns to the Company this fall as Micaëla (Carmen).

A native of Israel, second-year Adler Fellow MAYA LAHYANI made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2010 as Wowkle (La Fanciulla del West) and Siegrune (Die Walküre); she also appeared in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Makropulos Case, and Der Ring des Nibelungen this past season. As a participant in the 2009 Merola Opera Program, the mezzo-soprano sang the role of Beppe in L'Amico Fritz, and with the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program she appeared as Dorabella (Così fan tutte). She regularly took part in the International Vocal Art Institute in Tel Aviv, where she sang the roles of Rebecca Nurse (The Crucible), the title role in Mascagni's Zanetto, and as Charlotte (Werther). She appears with the Company this fall as Mercédès (Carmen) and Carmen in Carmen for Families.

Richard F Gold Career Grant recipient TA'U PUPU'A (Omaha, Robert) makes his professional operatic debut with San Francisco Opera this season. A native of Tonga, he is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center and attended Weber State University in Utah on a football scholarship while studying music, during which time he was drafted to the NFL to the Cleveland Browns and on to the Baltimore Ravens. The tenor recently changed careers and makes his European debut with Norwegian National Opera as Rodolfo (La Bohème) later this season. Other upcoming engagements include Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Heidelberg State Theater and Tebaldo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) with Norwegian National Opera. Recent engagements include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde for the Alexandria Symphony, Verdi's Requiem for Albany Symphony, Terrence McNally's Masterclass at the Kennedy Center, and Bacchus for the Tanglewood Music Centre.

American tenor DANIEL SNYDER (Dexter, Dex) makes his San Francisco Opera debut in 2011. Recent engagements include Cavaradossi (Tosca) with Bohème Opera New Jersey; Don José (Carmen) with Brazos Valley Symphony, Connecticut Grand Opera, and the Oregon Grand Opera; Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Mississippi Opera; the Drum Major (Wozzeck) with the Astoria Oregon Music Festival; Max (Der Freischütz) with Opera Boston; the title role of Les Contes d'Hoffmann with Virginia Opera; Alfred (Die Fledermaus) with Pittsburgh Opera Theater. On the concert stage, he has been a soloist with Seattle Symphony, Kennedy Center Orchestra, National Philharmonic, and the National Cathedral Choral Society, among others.

Winner of Washington National Opera's 2007 Artist of the Year award, TREVOR SCHEUNEMANN (Joseph, Joe) made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2010 appearing as Jake Wallace (La Fanciulla del West) and as Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). 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 (Sam, Wesley) makes his San Francisco Opera debut this season with roles in Heart of a Soldier, Xerxes, and Carmen. The American bass-baritone's recent engagements include Willy Wonka in 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 (Carmen), 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.

Soprano CAROLE SCHAFFER (Maria), a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus since 1998, has appeared in solo roles in Appomattox, La Rondine, Der Rosenkavalier, Louise, Jen?fa, Le Grand Macabre, and Madama Butterfly. She was heard with City Concert Opera Orchestra as Sophie Scholl (Weisse Rose), Melpomene (Il Parnaso Confuso), and Iseult (Le Vin Herbé), and her New York credits include Héro (Béatrice et Bénédict); Despina (Così fan tutte); Arminda (La Finta Giardiniera); Phani and Zaire (Les Indes Galantes); as well as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro).

A member of the Opera Chorus since 1998, mezzo-soprano SALLY MOUZON (Joan) has performed many solo roles with the Company in productions of Peter Grimes, Louise, Le Nozze di Figaro, Manon Lescaut, Dead Man Walking, and Suor Angelica. Her career highlights include Siebel (Faust) with Sacramento Opera, Dorabella (Così fan tutte) with West Bay Opera, Charlotte (Werther) with San Francisco Lyric Opera, and Little Buttercup (HMS Pinafore) with Eugene Opera.

A member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, DAVID GUSTAFSON (Tony) made his solo debut with the Company in last season's Cyrano de Bergerac. The American tenor's career highlights include Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with the Shanghai Broadcasting Orchestra and concert appearances with the Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, as well as in Denmark and the Czech Republic. His operatic roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Alfredo Germont (La Traviata), Calaf (Turandot), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Rodolfo (La Bohème), and Nemorino (L'Elisir d'Amore), among others.

CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS is one of the most performed American composers writing today. He regularly writes for a variety of musical genres, from orchestral and chamber music to opera and ballet. His work Rainbow Body has been one of the most performed orchestral works in the world in the past ten years, having been programmed by more than 120 orchestras internationally. Theofanidis's other works have been performed by such groups as the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the California Symphony (where he was composer-in-residence from 1994 to 1996). The composer has a long-standing relationship with the Atlanta Symphony, and his Symphony No. 1 was just released by that orchestra on disc. Theofanidis has written widely for the stage, from a work for the American Ballet Theatre, to multiple dramatic pieces, including The Refuge for the Houston Grand Opera. His large-scale piece The Here and Now for soloists, chorus, and orchestra was nominated for a Grammy award in 2008. He has taught at the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School and is currently on the faculty of Yale University; he is also currently a fellow of the US-Japan's Leadership Program. Upcoming works include the opera Siddhartha for the Houston Grand Opera and a new work for the Miro String Quartet for Chamber Music Monterey Bay.

As a librettist and lyricist, DONNA DI NOVELLI's work has been presented at the New York City Opera, the Public Theater, and Joe's Pub. Her collaborations with director Francesca Zambello include lyrics for composer Rachel Portman's 2008 musical Little House on the Prairie and Hildegard: A Measure of Joy, commissioned by the San Francisco Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. Di Novelli has written text for the Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet (Twelve Dancing Princesses) and has been invited to the National Musical Theater Conference, the Mac Dowell Colony, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her stage play, The First Eff (Mark Taper Forum) was excerpted in New Monologues For Women; by Women (Heinemann Press). She has won commissions and fellowships from the Manhattan Theater Club, ASCAP, Mabou Mines, Houston Grand Opera, and the BBC. Besides teaching in the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she teaches playwriting at the O'Neill Theater Center and was a visiting professor at Brown University, where she earned a master's degree in fine arts working with Paula Vogel. Recent work includes a new opera with Paola Prestini that was excerpted at NYCO's Vox Festival and a new musical with Heidi Rodewald (Passing Strange).

JAMES B. STEWART is a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has written on such subjects as the Time Warner AOL merger, the post-prison S.E.C. investigation of Michael Milken, Disney, the Clintons, and Steinway. The creative team for Heart of a Soldier worked closely with Stewart during the opera's gestation period to develop a working scenario based on his 2002 book of the same name. The book grew out of his New Yorker article "The Real Heroes Are Dead" (February 2002). Stewart received the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for his Wall Street Journal articles on the 1987 stock market crash and the insider trading scandal. In addition to Heart of a Soldier, named best non-fiction book of 2002 by Time magazine, the best-selling author's books include Den of Thieves, Blind Eye, Blood Sport, and DisneyWar. Stewart is a former front-page editor of the Wall Street Journal and founding editor of SmartMoney. He is the Bloomberg professor of business journalism at Columbia University.

A native of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, SUSAN RESCORLA is a graduate of Endicott College and the University of Madrid, where she studied art. She enjoyed a distinguished career in academia, specifically in administration and development, before retiring in 1999. Following her husband Rick's death, she started a foundation to raise funds for his statue that now stands in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he became an officer in the U.S. Army and was inducted into the Soldiers' Hall of Fame. Rescorla also collaborated with British artist Roy Ray on his piece Evilution, a series of bronze panels that focus on specific places that have become synonymous with the destruction of innocent lives, one of which is dedicated to the first responders of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, including Rick Rescorla. These panels have been exhibited around the world and are currently on display in Coventry Cathedral in the U.K. She is actively involved in several projects about her husband and those inspired by his story, and she recent published a book, Touched by a Hero, about her experiences. Susan Rescorla is the mother of three daughters and has four grandchildren.

A native of Chicago, DANIEL J. HILL joined the U.S. Army at age fifteen (with forged information) and was a professional soldier for twenty-one years serving as an infantry paratrooper, ranger, special forces soldier, pathfinder, and specialist in demolitions as well as in jungle, arctic, mountain, and desert warfare. He became a non-commissioned officer (corporal) at sixteen, serving as a staff sergeant and instructor in the Army Ranger School. Hill led and commanded men beginning at age sixteen, rising from private to captain in his Army career. He fought in the 1956 Hungarian revolt as well as in Katanga Province, the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia, Vietnam, and Afghanistan; he also ran guns to anti-Castro dissidents in 1960. He has been awarded the Silver Star; five Bronze Stars; three Army Commendation Medals; the Purple Heart; Valorous, Meritorious, and Presidential unit citations; and the unit and individual Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm). Hill retired from the Army in 1975 and worked in international construction in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. A convert to Islam, he has also fought as a Mujahideen warrior against the occupying Russians in Afghanistan and worked as an intelligence and security consultant primarily in the anti-terrorist field. Hill is now semi-retired and dabbles in writing and sculpture. He has been married to his wife Patricia for more than fifty years and has had two children: GiGi, a daughter, and Danny, a son who died in 1992 of Marfan's Syndrome complications.

Houston Grand Opera Artistic and Music Director and Principal Guest Conductor for San Francisco Opera, PATRICK SUMMERS has led a vast repertory for the Company, including Ariodante; Samson et Dalila; Iphigénie en Tauride; Il Trittico; the world premieres of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (1998) and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (2000); and the West Coast premiere of Heggie's Three Decembers (2008). Summers has twice received Merola Opera Program's Otto Guth Award and was named its "Distinguished Alumnus" in 2001. The maestro has led an array of productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Così fan tutte, I Puritani, and Rodelinda, as well as Madama Butterfly and Salome, which were both broadcast live in HD to movie theaters around the world. Last season he conducted Iphigénie en Tauride and Lucia di Lammermoor with that company. Summers is also a regular guest with the world's preeminent opera companies, including Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, Welsh National Opera, the Dallas Opera, Opera Australia, Seattle Opera, Lisbon Opera, Bordeaux Opera, and the Bregenz Festival, among many others. His most recent world premieres include Previn's Brief Encounter at Houston Grand Opera and Paul Moravec's The Letter at the Santa Fe Opera. Summers has overseen many of Houston Grand Opera's important artistic advances, including the formation of its own orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. During his tenure, he has supervised and conducted seven world premieres as well as many seminal opera works not previously mounted by the company. The Indiana University graduate was named Stolichnaya's "Artist of the Year" in 1998.

FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO began her long association with the Company in 1983 as assistant stage director for Ariadne auf Naxos and has since been involved in nearly twenty productions here, including La Traviata, La Voix Humaine, La Bohème, Prince Igor, Jen?fa, the West Coast premiere of Rachel Portman's The Little Prince, Porgy and Bess, and a new production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen this past summer. She currently serves as General and Artistic Director of Glimmerglass Opera, and her work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera; Milan's Teatro alla Scala; the Bolshoi; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Munich's Bavarian State Opera; the Paris Opera; New York City Opera; Washington National Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; and English National Opera, among others. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway and at the Royal National Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Vienna's Raimund Theater, Disneyland, Berlin's Theater des Westens, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government and the Russian Federation's medal for service to culture, three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French Grand Prix des Critiques, the Helpmann Award, the Green Room Award, the Palme d'Or in Germany, and the Golden Mask in Russia. She began her directing career as the artistic director of the Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. She is an adjunct professor at Yale.

PETER J. DAVISON has designed sets for opera, theater, musicals, and ballet since his professional debut in 1988 at London's National Theatre. He made his San Francisco Opera debut with his set designs for 2009's Porgy and Bess. Other opera credits include The Rake's Progress, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Cyrano de Bergerac for the Metropolitan Opera; The Queen of Spades for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Manon Lescaut for Opera Australia; Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, and Maria Stuarda for English National Opera; Guillaume Tell for Paris Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor at Welsh National Opera; Capriccio for Deutsche Oper Berlin and Turin's Teatro Regio; Anna Bolena for the Bavarian State Opera; La Rondine at Venice's La Fenice; Cyrano de Bergerac at Milan's La Scala; and Mitridate, Re di Ponto for the Salzburg Festival, among others. Davison's work has been nominated for a Tony and Drama Desk Award (Medea) and Olivier Awards (Medea, Le Cid, and St. Joan). He received "Best Designer" at the Martini/TMA Regional Theatre Awards for Medea and St. Joan and won an award for the musical theater production of Rebecca in Vienna.

JESS GOLDSTEIN makes his San Francisco Opera debut this season. On Broadway, his costume designs have been seen at the Lincoln Center for Henry IV, Enchanted April, Take Me Out, Judgment at Nuremberg, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Tintypes. For Henry IV (2004), Goldstein earned nominations for the Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama Desk Award for costume design. Other Broadway productions include revivals of The Most Happy Fella, Inherit the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Night Must Fall. Off-Broadway, Goldstein's regional work includes designs for Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf, Arena Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Goldstein is a graduate of Yale School of Drama and has taught design there. His film work includes costume designs for A Walk on the Moon, Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Substance of Fire. In 2005, his costumes designs for The Rivals won a Tony Award.

MARK McCULLOUGH (Lighting Designer) made his San Francisco Opera debut with Luisa Miller (2000) and has returned for numerous productions, including Arshak II, The Mother of Us All, Rigoletto, Das Rheingold, Porgy and Bess, Der Ring des Nibelungen. He has designed lighting for the Metropolitan Opera; Milan's La Scala; Madrid's Teatro Real; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Rhine Opera; Opera North; Washington National Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the Dallas Opera; Opéra de Montréal; Grand Théâtre de Genève; New York City Opera; Seattle Opera; and the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others. His creations have also been seen on Broadway and in regional theater companies nationwide.

S. KATY TUCKER (Projection Designer) made her San Francisco Opera debut collaborating with projection designer Jan Hartley on San Francisco Opera's presentations of Das Rheingold (2008) and Die Walküre (2010); she returned for the entire Ring cycle in 2011, serving as projection designer for Götterdämmerung. Tucker began her career as a painter and installation artist, exhibiting her work at a variety of galleries, such as the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. and Artist's Space in New York City. Her work in theater and opera has been seen around the world, including Broadway; Off-Broadway; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Mariinsky Theatre; Carnegie Hall; Disney World; the Kennedy Center; the Kitchen; and the San Francisco Ballet; among others. She is currently collaborating on a new ballet, Ocean's Kingdom, with Sir Paul McCartney and Peter Martins, which receives its premiere at the New York City Ballet in September.

IAN ROBERTSON has been chorus director and conductor with San Francisco Opera since 1987, having prepared more than 275 productions for the Company. He was awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize in 2003 for his artistic contribution to the preparation of the Company's North American premiere of Saint François d'Assise. Robertson made his San Francisco Opera conducting debut with Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and has since led eight other productions. Other North American opera credits include productions with Sarasota Opera, Edmonton Opera, and Philadelphia's Curtis Opera Theatre. Before joining San Francisco Opera, Robertson was head of music and chorus director of Scottish Opera, where he led numerous productions, including Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Pearl Fishers, The Secret of Susanna, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Robertson is currently the artistic director of the San Francisco Festival Chorale, which performed this summer at the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the San Francisco Boys Chorus. A 2009 trip with the San Francisco Boys Chorus took him to the inauguration of the President of the United States, and this summer he led performances with the Boys Chorus in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen.

Movement director RICK SORDELET has staged thirty-seven Broadway productions, including Disney's The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, and Aida; Titanic; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; 12 Angry Men; Frozen; Curtains; 110 in the Shade; Into the Woods; Urinetown; Seascape; The Scarlet Pimpernel; and True West. Off-Broadway credits include Howard Katz, King Lear at the Public starring Kevin Klein, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet at the Delacort for the Public, Touch of the Poet, Mr. Marmalade, and A Soldier's Play. He has staged the fights for Cyrano de Bergerac starring Plácido Domingo at the Metropolitan Opera; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and in Valencia and Milan. Sordelet teaches at the New School for Drama, the Yale School of Drama, and the Neighborhood Playhouse. He is a company member of the Drama Department, a board member for the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and the author of the play Buried Treasure.

In his fifteenth season as dance master and resident choreographer for San Francisco Opera, LAWRENCE PECH is choreographing Turandot, Heart of a Soldier, Lucrezia Borgia, Don Giovanni, and Carmen. He has created period and interpretive dances for nearly thirty operas with the Company, most recently for Wagner's Ring cycle. Pech received his formal training from American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join that company in 1980; he continues to teach and choreograph for the nationwide ABT Summer Intensives. In 1986 Pech joined San Francisco Ballet and became a principal dancer in 1989. He founded his own dance company in 1995 and has choreographed more than fifty-five ballets, thirty musicals, and numerous self-produced evenings of music and dance. Pech was recently awarded his third Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography.

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