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 5, at 12 noon This week from the San Francisco Opera it's Puccini's beloved masterpiece Madame Butterfly starring Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio-San, Brian Jagde as Lt. B.F. Pinkerton, Elizabeth DeShong as Susuki, and Brian Mulligan as Sharpless, with Julius Ahn as Goro, Jacqueline Piccolino as Kate Pinkerton, Efrain Solis as Prince Yamadori, Morris Robinson as The Bonze, and Hadleigh Adams as the Commissioner. 

San Francisco Opera / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, August 29, at 12 noon. This week we travel to the San Francisco Opera for their season with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Airs Saturday, November 29 at 12 noon. The myth goes on: the world’s most renowned, and unique, opera festival, performing the ten operas the “master” deemed fit for his festival theater in the acoustics that have never been replicated: the Richard Wagner Festival never ceases to fascinate!  This time, it’s the performance of Tannhäuser from opening day that occupies our stage, with a surprise in the pit: Axel Kober, a conductor who grew up in Bayreuth, gave his premiere in Wagner’s Festspielhaus.

Karli Cadel / The Glimmerglass Festival

Airs Saturday, November 22 at 12 noon.  This week on our American Opera series we travel to the Glimmerglass Festival for : An American Tragedy Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy which stars Vanessa Isiguen as Roberta Alden, Samantha Guevrekian as Grace, and Jennifer Root as Elizabeth Griffiths. Also featured in this production are Aleksey Bogdanov as Samuel Griffiths, Meredith Lustig as Bella Griffiths, Cynthia Cook as Sondra Finchley, John Kapusta as  Reverend McMillan, Thomas Richards as Orville Mason, Patricia Schuman as Elvira Griffiths, and Matthew Scollin as Judge. Peter Van de Graaff will host.

Airs Saturday, November 15 at 12 noon. This week on the American Opera series we travel to the Caramoor Music Festival for a performance of Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece, Lucrezia Borgia, staring Angela Meade as Lucrezia and Tamara Mumford as Maffio Orsini with Michele Angelini as Gennaro;  Christophoros Stamboglis as Alfonso D'Este; Sungwook Kim as Jeppo Liverotto; Hans Tashjian as Don Apostolo Gazella; Kyle Oliver as Ascanio Petrucci; William Hearn as Oloferno Vitellozzo; and Cameron Schutza as Rustighello. This production is conducted by Will Crutchfield and Elaine Warner will host.

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