Release date: 9/7/2010

San Francisco Opera Presents Charles François Gounod’s Faust Starring Stefano Secco, Patricia Racette and John Relyea June 5-July 1, War Memorial Opera House

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SAN FRANCISCO (May 7, 2010)—San Francisco Opera opens the Summer 2010 season with Charles François Gounod’s Faust, beginning June 5 with seven subsequent performances through July 1 at the War Memorial Opera House. Tenor Stefano Secco stars in the title role alongside soprano Patricia Racette as Marguerite and bass-baritone John Relyea as Méphistophélès. This Lyric Opera of Chicago production presented in San Francisco for the first time is directed by Jose Maria Condemi. Italian maestro Maurizio Benini conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and Assistant Music Director Giuseppe Finzi leads the final two performances.
 
Gounod’s classic French Romantic masterpiece Faust tells Goethe’s heartbreaking story ofa forlorn philosopher who regains his youth by making a deal with the Devil. This ever-popular opera has been performed in 18 previous San Francisco Opera seasons and has featured such legends as Jussi Björling, Ezio Pinza, Licia Albanese, and Samuel Ramey. Stefano Secco, making his role debut as Faust, headlines the trio of leading characters. The Italian tenor made his San Francisco Opera concert debut last season in Verdi’s Requiem and will return next fall as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Toronto native John Relyea returns to San Francisco Opera to sing Méphistophélès, a role he has recently sung at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.A former Adler Fellow who has established himself as one of the leading bass-baritones of his generation, Relyea was most recently seen at San Francisco Opera in the title role of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
 
Renowned American dramatic soprano Patricia Racette continues her more than 20-year relationship with San Francisco Opera as she returns to sing Marguerite, a role she has previously sung at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Opera Australia. Most recently, Racette appeared with San Francisco Opera as each of the three heroines in Puccini’s triptych Il Trittico.  Garnering great acclaim for her performances, Racette went on to thrill audiences in New York by reprising the roles at the Metropolitan Opera. In recent weeks, the soprano has generated even more headlines after stepping in on late notice to make her Met role debut as Puccini’s Tosca. The New York Times noted that Racette “brought a richly expressive voice and raw emotion to her wrenching portrayal of [the role],” and that “she sang with uncommon richness, expressivity and honesty.” A Merola Opera Program alumna and former Adler Fellow, Patricia Racette has appeared in 28 mainstage productions with San Francisco Opera.
                                            
Baritone Brian Mulligan recently made his role debuts as Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) with English National Opera and returns to San Francisco Opera to appear as Marguerite’s brother Valentin for the first time. Mulligan will also return this fall to appear in the Company’s productions of Werther, Madama Butterfly and Cyrano de Bergerac. Soprano Daniela Mack makes her role debut as Faust’s student Siebel in her first return to San Francisco Opera since her time as an Adler Fellow. Mack debuted another trouser role with San Francisco Opera in 2008 when she stepped in for an ailing Alice Coote as Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and she has recently appeared as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) at Opera Omaha and the title role of La Cenerentola at Opera Colorado.
 
Italian maestro Maurizio Benini makes his San Francisco Opera debut conducting Gounod’s vivid score. An active conducter in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, Benini’s recent engagements include La Bohème and Il turco in Italia at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Met; and L'elisir d'amore at the Glyndebourne Festival. Recently appointed artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara, Jose Maria Condemi directs this passion-filled production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which was designed by Robert Perdziola.
 
Sung in French with English supertitles, the eight performances of Faust are scheduled for June 5 (7:30 p.m.), June 8 (7:30 p.m.), June 11 (7:30 p.m.), June 16 (7 p.m.), June 20 (1:30 p.m.), June 23 (7 p.m.), June 26 (1:30 p.m.) and July 1 (7 p.m.), 2010.
 
 
Tickets and Information
Tickets for Faust range from $15 to $360 each and may be purchased online at sfopera.com or from the San Francisco Opera Box Office either in person 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.
All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by San Francisco Opera Director of Music Administration Dr. Clifford Cranna. Talks begin fifty-five minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.
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 Faust and San Francisco Opera’s 2010 summer season, please visit sfopera.com.