Saturday, June 6, 2015

San Francisco Opera's exciting summer season kicks off this weekend

Philippe Sly and Luca Pisaroni
The San Francisco Opera kicks off one of its most exciting summer season's this weekend in decade. First up is Hector Berlioz's epic 5 1/2 hour masterpiece Les Troyens with Anna Caterina Antonacci as Cassandra. She is perhaps the most exciting singing actress in opera since Leonie Rysanek.

The opera has not been performed in San Francisco in 47 years, where the U.S. stage premiere took place two years earlier in 1956 with Regine Crespin and Jon Vickers. The five-act opera is set to Virgil’s classical poem The Aeneid and is performed in two parts: “The Capture of Troy,” the Greek siege of ancient Troy including the famed Trojan Horse, and “The Trojans at Carthage,” the escape of the Trojans to the North African Mediterranean city of Carthage.

Christian Van Horn as Narbal (left)
Bass-Barihunk Christian Van Horn takes on the role of the queen's adviser Narbal, in an all-star cast that also includes Susan Graham as Dido, Bryan Hymel as Aeneas and Sasha Cooke as Anna.  The production is the largest physical production ever to be presented as the War Memorial Opera House, requiring 134 artists on stage and 95 musicians in the orchestra pit and backstage. The production first opened in 2012 at London’s the Royal Opera and later at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. Following the San Francisco Opera performances, the production will be seen at the Vienna State Opera. Performances run from June 7–July 1 and tickets are available online.

Two of the most beloved and gifted barihunks in the world head the cast of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, with Philippe Sly as Figaro and Luca Pisaroni as the lecherous Count. They'll be joined by Nadine Sierra as his Countess, Lisette Oropesa as Susanna, Kate Lindsey/Angela Brower as Cherubino, John Del Carlo as Bartolo and Catherine Cook as Marcellina. Performances run from June 14-July 5.

Christian Van Horn with fellow barihunk Andrè Schuen and hunkentenor Jonas Kaufmann
Van Horn also appears as the Field Marshall in the world premiere of Italian composer Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara), with a libretto by the composer and Fabio Ceresa. Anna Caterina Antonacci is also back as the mother Cesira. Her daughter will be played by Sarah Shafer. It is the first time in the history of San Francisco Opera that an Italian composer has been commissioned to write a new opera for the company.

The opera is based on 20th-century Italian author Alberto Moravia’s novel of the same name. Moravia’s critically-acclaimed 1958 work was adapted in 1960 by noted Italian film producer Carlo Ponti into a film directed by Vittorio De Sica starring Sophia Loren. Loren won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Actress for the performance—the first artist to win an Oscar for a foreign language film. Performances run from June 13-30.

Van Horn next appears as Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco at the Seattle Opera from August 8-22.

1 comment:

  1. I know he's only a tenor ;-) but that should be Jon Vickers....