Release date: 8/25/2009

San Francisco Opera Presents 2009-10 Season Opening Festivities

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (August 25, 2009)––Ushering in a new era for San Francisco Opera, internationally acclaimed Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti begins his inaugural season as music director on Friday, September 11 at the historic War Memorial Opera House with Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, featuring an all-star cast that includes Sondra Radvanovsky, Stephanie Blythe, Marco Berti, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. The opening of the Company’s 87th season coincides with the annual presentation of one of the most important social events in the nation, the elegant and renowned San Francisco Opera Ball, a benefit in support of opera education. The evening’s celebration also includes BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala
 
The opening week celebration continues on Sunday, September 13 with a beloved Bay Area tradition: the annual San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park. This free concert features singers from the 2009–10 fall opera season, including Sondra Radvanovsky, Ewa Podleś, Marco Berti, Brandon Jovanovich, Quinn Kelsey and Andrea Silvestrelli, with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
 
The festivities culminate on Saturday, September 19 as San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants partner with Webcor Builders to bring grand opera to the ballpark for the fourth time in two years. One of the Bay Area’s most anticipated community events, Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark brought over 27,000 opera and baseball fans to AT&T Park in June 2009. This unique evening of free entertainment features a performance of Il Trovatore, conducted by Maestro Luisotti, broadcast live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to the scoreboard over the outfield of AT&T Park.
 
Nicola Luisotti begins his tenure as San Francisco Opera’s third music director at the start of the 2009–10 season, succeeding Donald Runnicles. In his inaugural season as music director, Maestro Luisotti conducts Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Otello, Giacomo Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West and Richard Strauss’s Salome
 
Opera Ball 2009: A Gala Benefit in Support of Opera Education / Friday, September 11
Celebrating their 70th anniversary year, San Francisco Opera Guild presents Opera Ball 2009: A Gala Benefit in Support of Opera Education on Friday September 11. Hailed as one of the City’s premier philanthropic social events, Opera Ball raises funds for San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s education programs while treating guests to a glamorous evening of food, beverages and world-class entertainment. The event begins at 5 p.m. with an elegant cocktail reception in the atrium of the War Memorial Veterans Building and continues with the opening night performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore in the War Memorial Opera House at 7 p.m. At the conclusion of the opera, guests enter the Beaux-Arts style rotunda of San Francisco City Hall, exotically decorated with Spanish flair by celebrated Bay Area designer Stanlee Gatti, for a sumptuous dinner created by renowned Chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCall Associates. In salute to Maestro Luisotti’s inaugural season, Scharffenberger Cellars, the event’s exclusive sparkling wine sponsor, will debut the limited edition Scharffenberger Rosé NV at this year’s Opera Ball. The evening culminates with dancing under the City Hall rotunda to the music of Bill Hopkins Rock’n Orchestra. Opera Ball 2009 co-chairs are Teresa Medearis and Adrianna Pope Sullivan.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’S 18th Annual Opening Night Gala / Friday, September 11
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera's group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 18th annual opening night gala on Friday, September 11. BRAVO! CLUB hosts a pre-performance champagne and cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. in San Francisco’s City Hall, decorated with Spanish flair by Stanlee Gatti and featuring live flamenco dancing by Danica Sena Flamenco & Spanish Dance. Following the performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore will be a delicious post-performance dinner by McCall Associates featuring Spanish-themed tapas. The evening concludes as guests join together with Opera Ball patrons for dancing under the rotunda to the music of Bill Hopkins Rock’n Orchestra. BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala co-chairs are Alexandra Siliezar and Marie Carr.
 
Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore/ Friday, September 11
San Francisco Opera’s 2009–10 season opens on Friday, September 11 at 7 p.m. with Nicola Luisotti on the podium conducting Verdi’s Il Trovatore, his first production as the Company’s music director. Italian tenor Marco Berti stars in the title role of this suspenseful story of a corrupt count, a dashing warrior and a Gypsy who plots to avenge her mother’s wrongful death. Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky returns to the Company as Count di Luna, a role he shares with Quinn Kelsey, and Sondra Radvanovsky, whose exquisite soprano voice has thrilled audiences from Vienna to New York, makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Leonora. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, Musical America’s 2009 Vocalist of the Year, makes her first appearance in a fully staged San Francisco Opera production in these performances as Azucena. Blythe shares the role with Malgorzata Walewska, also making her San Francisco Opera debut, in this critically acclaimed production by David McVicar directed by Walter Sutcliffe.
 
San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park / Sunday, September 13
San Francisco Opera’s opening week festivities continue with San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park on Sunday, September 13 at 1:30 p.m. in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow. A cherished tradition of San Francisco Opera’s opening weekend, the annual Opera in the Park concert features singers from the Company’s Fall 2009 season and includes Sondra Radvanovsky, Marco Berti and Quinn Kelsey from the cast of Il Trovatore and Ewa Podleś, Brandon Jovanovich and Andrea Silvestrelli from the cast of Giacomo Puccini’s Il Trittico with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Maestro Luisotti. The concert draws thousands of music lovers each year, many of whom enjoy the occasion with elaborate picnics on the lawn. In the event’s time-honored finale, the audience joins with the singers in a rousing rendition of the drinking song (“Libiamo nei’lieti calici”) from Verdi’s La Traviata. This concert is free, no tickets are required.
 
Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark / Saturday, September 19
San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants partner with Webcor Builders once again to bring grand opera to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, on Saturday, September 19 at  8 p.m. The opening week of the Company’s 2009–10 season culminates with a free live simulcast of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore starring Marco Berti in the title role and conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti.Over27,000 music lovers enjoyed the Company’s most recent simulcast of Tosca in June 2009, and large crowds are once again expected to turn out and experience glorious music in one of San Francisco’s most beautiful locations. Through state-of-the-art technology made possible by the Koret-Taube Media Suite, these simulcasts are transmitted in high definition (HD) to AT&T Park’s 103-feet wide scoreboard—one of the highest quality outdoor scoreboards in the nation—live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. Concert quality audio combined with AT&T Park’s huge screen create an unmatched operatic experience for attendees sitting in the stands and on the baseball field. Traditional baseball game concessions are available, providing audiences the rare opportunity to eat hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn while enjoying world-class opera.
 
Tickets and Information
Ticket levels for San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera Ball 2009 are $850, $1,500, $2,500 and $5,000 and may be purchased at sfopera.com/operaball or by calling (415) 565-3204.
Tickets for BRAVO! CLUB’S Opening Night Gala, which include performance tickets, are priced from $325 to $430 and may be purchased at sfopera.com/bravo.
Tickets for the performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore (not including opening night galas) are priced from $15 to $310 and may be purchased at sfopera.com or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.
The September 13 San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park concert at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park is free, no tickets are required. For more information, visit sfopera.com or call (415) 864-3330.
The September 19 Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark simulcast at AT&T Park is free and open to the public; advance online registration assures early entrance into the ballpark for preferred seating and entry into a special prize drawing. Visit sfopera.com/simulcast to register.
 The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmuni.com.
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Il Trovatore and San Francisco Opera’s 2009-10 season, please visit sfopera.com