Returning to San Francisco Opera is especially poignant for me. Although I had already sung some roles professionally beginning in 1972, my big debut was here on the stage of the Memorial Opera House on Sept 13, 1974 as the Maestro di Ballo to Leontyne Price's first Manon Lescaut. Back then there were no apprentice programs, Adler Fellows, or Merola. I was fortunate in that I had worked with Otto Guth, Kurt Adler's right-hand man, at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where I was completing a post graduate opera degree. Through his recommendation I was invited to sing in San Francisco, where Mr. Adler offered me a number of wonderful roles.
Posted: 09/13/2011 by
Joseph Frank (Emperor Altoum, Turandot)
Besides reading and re-reading the book Heart of a Soldier
by James B. Stewart, I took inspiration from a variety of other sources. Here are just some of the additional works that lent their weight as I wrote the libretto.
Posted: 09/12/2011 by
Donna Di Novelli (Librettist, Heart of a Soldier)
Today, we presented our annual Opera in the Park concert as a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, along with Music Director Nicola Luisotti and four Adler Fellow soloists performed Mozart's Requiem Mass, interspersed with meditational texts read by members of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. Included below are the various readings and prayers which were included in the event.
Posted: 09/11/2011 by
San Francisco Interfaith Council
This morning, August 31st, I am looking over my music with twenty or so "notes" from Francesca, her assistant Matthew, David Hanlon (assistant conductor) and our librettist, Donna Di Novelli. These notes are, of course, little things that can be changed to make the show better and better. It just takes a little brain power and a good deal of strong coffee to assimilate the suggestions; especially precious hours before an orchestral run-thru. [Left: Melody Moore and Thomas Hampson as Susan and Rick Rescorla in a recent working rehearsal. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
Posted: 09/02/2011 by
Melody Moore (Susan Rescorla, Heart of a Soldier)
American Bass-Baritone Michael Sumuel has participated in our Merola Opera Program and even sang a Schwabacher Debut Recital last season, but Heart of a Soldier marks his official San Francisco Opera debut. In this opera, his primary role is Tom, an American soldier and medic who loses his life in the battle of X-Ray in Vietnam.
Opening night is drawing closer! I came into this process knowing that it would be just that-a process. It isn't often that you'll make an important debut with a company such as San Francisco Opera in a world premiere with the composer and librettist present and telling the true story of three remarkable human beings. It is an overwhelming task to concisely describe the process up to this point but I am incredibly grateful to be just one piece within a larger scope.
Posted: 09/01/2011 by
Michael Sumuel (Tom and Ted, Heart of a Soldier)