San Francisco Opera Series

Saturday at 12 noon
  • Hosted by Dianne Nicolini

A leader among international opera companies for nine decades, San Francisco Opera was founded by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953) and incorporated in 1923. The Company's first performance took place on September 26, 1923 in the City's Civic Auditorium (La Bohème, with Queena Mario and Giovanni Martinelli, conducted by Merola). Originally presented over two weeks, San Francisco Opera's season now contains approximately 75 performances of ten operas between September and July.

San Francisco Opera inaugurated its current home, the War Memorial Opera House, with a performance of Tosca on October 15, 1932 (Claudia Muzio, Dino Borgioli, and Alfredo Gandolfi sang the principal roles in a production conducted by Merola). The venerable beaux arts building holds the distinction of being the first American opera house that was not built by and for a small group of wealthy patrons; the funding came thanks to a group of private citizens who encouraged thousands of San Franciscans to subscribe.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, September 9, 2017, at 12 noon. The American Opera Series from WFMT continues with the San Francisco Opera and a production of Aida by Giuseppe Verdi staring Leah Crocetto as Aida and Brian Jagde as Radames, with Ekaterina Semenchuck as Amneris, George Gagnidze as Amonasro, Raymond Aceto as Ramfis, Anthony Reed as King of Egypt, Toni Marie Palmertree as A Priestess, and Pene Pati as A Messenger.

Airs Saturday, September 2, 2017, at 12 noon. The American Opera Series from WFMT continues with a new season from the San Francisco Opera opening with an archival broadcast of Ponchielli's La Gioconda starring Renata Scotto as La Gioconda and Luciano Pavarotti as Enzo Grimaldo, with Stefania Toczyska as Laura, Margarita Lilova as La Cieva, Norman Mittlemann as Barnaba, Feruccio Furlanetto as Alvise, John Del Carlo as Zuane, Tonio Di Paolo as Isepo, and Isepo as A Monk.

Airs Saturday, October 22, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus conclude their season with a performance of Leoš Janácek’s Janůfa featuring Malin Byström in the title roll with Karita Mattila as Kostelnicka, William Burden as Laca Klemen, and Scott Quinn as Steva Buryja. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be led by Jirí Belohlávek with stage direction from Olivier Tambosi and the chorus master is Ian Robertson.

Airs Saturday, October 15, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlo starring Michael Fabiano as Don Carlo and Ana María Martínez as Elisabetta, with Nadia Krasteva as Princess Eboli, Mariusz Kwiecien as Rodrigo, René Pape as Philip II, and Andrea Silvestrelli as The Grand Inquisitor. Nicola Luisotti will lead the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus with chorus master Ian Robertson and stage direction by Emilio Sagi.

Airs Saturday, October 8, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in George Bizet's Carmen staring Irene Roberts in the title role and Brian Jagde as Don José, with Ellie Dehn as Micaëla, and Zachary Nelson as Escamillo. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be under the direction of Carlo Montanaro with Ian Robertson as Chorus Master and Stage Direction by Calixto Bieito.

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