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.

Airs Saturday, November 8 at 12 noon. This three-act opera is based on Edmond Rostand’s celebrated stage drama of 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac, a romantic tragedy. Cyrano de Bergerac, Rostand’s most popular play, blends nostalgia for 17th century French life with swashbuckling heroism, romance, and lyrical verse. Cyrano, a nobleman with a larger-than-life personality, skilled in both the sword and the pen, is physically plain with a rather large nose. Despite his overwhelming love for the beautiful Roxane, Cyrano agrees to help his younger rival, the handsome Christian, to win her heart.

Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, November 1 at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera conclude it's season with a stellar production of Jerome Kern's Showboat starring Heidi Stober as Magnolia Hawks and Michael Todd Simpson as Gaylord Ravenal, with Bill Irwin as Cap'n Andy Hawks, Patricia Racette as Julie La Verne, Angela Renée Simpson as Queenie, Harriet Harris as Parthy Ann Hawks, Kirsten Wyatt as Ellie Mae Chipley, Morris Robinson as Joe, and John Bolton as Frank Schultz. John Demain leads the San Francisco Opera Orchstra and Chorus and Dianne Nicolini will host.


Airs Saturday, October 18 at 12 noon. This week on the San Francisco Opera we feature Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece La Traviata, starring Ailyn Pérez as Violetta Valery, Saimir Pirgu as Alfredo Germont, Zanda Svede as Flora Bervoix, Dale Travis as Baron Douphol, and Hadleigh Adams as Marqius D'Obigny. This production also features Andrew Craig Brown as Doctor Grenvil, and Erin Johnson as Annina. Nicola Luisotti leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus and Dianne Nicolini will host.

San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, October 11 at 12 noon. This week from the San Francisco Opera we present Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten a tale filled with a one armed man and a one eyed man, a hunchback, a spirit messenger, and Emperor and Empress and a talking falcon. The earliest sketches for the libretto are based on a piece by Goethe. This performance stars Ruth Hesse as The Empress's Nurse, James Johnson as the Spirit Messenger, with Matti Kastu as The Emperor and Leonie Rysanek as The Empress. This production as features  Linda Roark as the Voice of the Falcon, Lorenzo Alvary as the One-Armed man, Joshua Hecht as the One-Eyed man, John Duykers as the Hunchback, Ursula Schröder-Feinen as Barak's wife and Walter Berry as Barak with the Children's Voice of Claudia Cummings, Pamela South, Linda Roark, Gwendolyn Jones, and Donna Petersen.

San Francisco Opera

Airs Saturday, October 4 at 12 noon. This week the San Francisco Opera brings us Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia starring Ao Li as Fiorello and Javier Camarena as Count Almaviva with Alessandro Corbelli as Doctor Bartolo, Lucas Meachem as Figaro, Isabel Leonard as Rosina, Andrea Silvestrelli as Don Basilio, Catherine Cook as Berta, A.J. Glueckert as Ambrogio, Andrew Truett as the Notary, and Hadleigh Adams as An Officer. Giuseppe Finzi conducts and Dianne Nicolini will host.