Release date: 9/10/2010

San Francisco Opera Opens 88th Season with Verdi's Aida, Conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti

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San Francisco Opera opens its 2010–11 Season on Friday, September 10 at the historic War Memorial Opera House with Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, featuring Micaela Carosi, Dolora Zajick, Marcello Giordani and Marco Vratogna. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a magnificent production by British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. A highlight of the City’s fall cultural season, San Francisco Opera’s opening-night festivities include San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera Ball 2010 and BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala.
 
The opening week celebration continues on Sunday, September 12 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 Fall 2010 Opera Season with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
 
The opening of the Fall Opera Season is also highlighted by Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark on Friday, September 24. San Francisco Opera partners with the San Francisco Giants and Webcor Builders once again to bring grand opera to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. One of the Bay Area’s most anticipated community events, this unique admission-free evening of entertainment features the Company’s production of Aida, conducted by Maestro Luisotti and broadcast live in high definition (HD) from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to the 103-feet wide scoreboard over the outfield of AT&T Park.
 
Opera Ball 2010 / Friday, September 10
San Francisco Opera Guild kicks off the San Francisco philanthropic season on Friday September 10 with Opera Ball 2010, co-chaired by Charlot Malin and Mary Poland.Hailed as one of the City’s most glamorous cultural events, Opera Ball raises funds for San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s education programs while treating guests to an exceptional evening of food, beverages and world-class entertainment. The event begins at 5 p.m. with an elegant reception featuring signature cocktails—the GREY GOOSE ® L’Orange White Cosmopolitan: The Pharaoh and the GREY GOOSE ® La Poire Anjou Gem: The Gem of the Nile—under a large canopy reminiscent of the Old Cairo Hotel. Following the reception in the North Light Court of San Francisco City Hall, a sumptuous dinner created by Chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCall Associates will be served in the elegant Beaux-Arts style rotunda of the building. After dinner, guests will enjoy the season-opening performance of Verdi’s Aida at the War Memorial Opera House at 8 p.m. The evening culminates with desserts and dancing under the rotunda at City Hall to live musical entertainment by the Side-Spin Band. This entire evening will be designed by VanWyck & VanWyck, a leading event production firm based in New York City that is famous for incorporating whimsical details and stunning theatrical elements to their designs. The décor for the evening is inspired by the Egyptian theme of Aida and incorporates fabrics and textures reminiscent of Zandra Rhodes’s costume designs.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala / Friday, September 10
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera's group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 19th annual opening night gala on Friday, September 10, co-chaired by Jane Burkhard and Anjelika Koulebakina. BRAVO! CLUB begins the evening at 5 p.m. with a pre-performance hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine reception in the South Light Court of San Francisco City Hall. Dinner will follow featuring an exotic Egyptian-inspired menu created by McCall Associates and paired with local wines. After dinner, guests will enjoy San Francisco Opera’s performance of Verdi's dazzling Egyptian love story, Aida, at the War Memorial Opera House. The evening concludes back at City Hall with dancing to both a live band and the music of DJ Aykut, with delectable desserts by McCall Associates and spirits from SKYY Vodka. The evening will be designed by VanWyck & VanWyck of New York City, famous for their green designs and hip productions, notably including Sean “Diddy” Combs’ recent 40th birthday party.
Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida/ Friday, September 10
San Francisco Opera’s 2010–11 Season opens with Giuseppe Verdi’s classic masterpiece Aida. A compelling tale of conflicting loyalties and forbidden passions, this spectacular production, previously seen at Houston Grand Opera and English National Opera, is designed by renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and directed by Jo Davies. Of the production, General Director David Gockley explains that “Zandra’s work is pure theater, just like she is. It’s bigger than life and full of fantasy.  It’s perfect for making a big impact in a venue the size of ours.”The cast features Italian soprano Micaela Carosi making her Company debut in the title role, Verdian mezzo-soprano and former Adler Fellow Dolora Zajick as Amneris and Marcello Giordani making his role debut as Radames. Returning after his highly-praised performance in last season’s Otello is Marco Vratogna as Amonasro; baritone Hao Jiang Tian returns to San Francisco Opera as Ramfis after his 2008 Company debut as Chang the Coffinmaker in The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Music Director Nicola Luisotti leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
 
San Francisco Chronicle PresentsOpera in the Park / Sunday, September 12
San Francisco Opera’s opening weekend festivities continue with San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park on Sunday, September 12 at 1:30 p.m. in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow. A cherished tradition of San Francisco Opera’s season opening, the annual Opera in the Park concert features singers from the Company’s Fall 2010 Season and 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 24
San Francisco Opera partners with the San Francisco Giants and Webcor Builders once again to bring grand opera to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team on Friday, September 24 at 8 p.m. This free live simulcast of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida features Micaela Carosi, Dolora Zajick, Marcello Giordani and Marco Vratogna and is conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti.Conceived by David Gockley as a way to further the Company’s community involvement, San Francisco Opera’s four previous simulcasts at AT&T Park have allowed nearly100,000 music lovers to experience grand opera for free 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 creates 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 glorious opera.
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
 
Tickets for San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera Ball 2010 are $850, $1,500, $2,500 and $5,000 and are entirely sold out.
 
Tickets for BRAVO! CLUB’S Opening Night Gala, which include performance tickets, are priced from $375 to $500 and are entirely sold out.
 
Tickets for the performance of Verdi’s Aida (not including opening night galas) are priced from $25 to $320 and may be purchased at www.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 12 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 www.sfopera.com/park or call (415) 864-3330.
           
The September 24 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 www.sfopera.com/simulcast  to register.