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.

Ron Scherl / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, October 1, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in Francis Poulenc's Dialogues Of The Carmelites staring Leontyne Price as Madame Lidoine, Virginia Zeani as Mother Marie, with Betsy Norden as Sister Constance, Régine Crespin as Madame de Croissy, Carol Vaness as Blance, Howard Hensel as Chevalier de la Force, and Eric Halfvarson as Marquis de la Force. Henry Lewis conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus with stage direction from John Dexter and the chorus master is Richard Bradshaw.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, September 24, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in a double bill with Gordon Getty's Usher House and Claude Debussy's La Chute de la Maison Usher starring Brian Mulligan as Roderick Usher, Jason Bridges as Edgar Allan Poe, and Jacqueline Piccolino as Madeline Usher / Lady Madeline, with Anthony Reed as Doctor Primus, Joel Sorensen as Le Médecin, and Edward Nelson as L'Ami. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are under the direction of Lawrence Foster.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, September 17, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in Gioachino Rossini's Barber of Seville staring Lucas Meachem as Figaro, Daniela Mack as Rosina, René Barbera as Count Almaviva, and Alessandro Corbelli as Doctor Bartolo. The production also features Andrea Silvestrelli as Don Basilio, Catherine Cook as Berta, Edward Nelson as Fiorello, Efraín Solís in the role of Ambrogio, and Matthew Stump plays An officer.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, September 10, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in Mozart's The Magic Flute staring Sarah Shafer as Pamina, Paul Appleby as Tamino, Efraín Solís as Papageno, Alfred Reiter as Sarastro, and Albina Shagimuratova as The Queen of the Night. This production also features Greg Fedderly as Monostatos, Jacqueline Piccolino as First Lady, Nian Wang as Second Lady, Zanda Švēde as Third Lady, and Maria Valdes as Papagena.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, September 3, at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus are featured in Wagner's Die Meistersinger starring James Rutherford as hans Sachs, Brandon Jovanovich as Walther von Stolzing, Rachel Willis-Sørensen as Eva, and Sasha Cooke as Magdalene.

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