Release date: 8/5/2010

San Francisco Opera's Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Samson and Delilah and La Rondine to Air on KQED Public Television, August 26-September 23, 2010

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera today announced plans to return to KQED Public Television 9, Northern California’s preeminent public broadcast station, with four grand operas recorded live in high definition at the historic War Memorial Opera House. The four opera series for television will be distinguished by program host Rita Moreno, a celebrated artist and recipient of the four most coveted awards in the entertainment industry: the Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy.
San Francisco Opera’s acclaimed production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly featuring critically acclaimed American soprano Patricia Racette in the title role will air beginning Thursday, August 26. The series continues September 2 with renowned Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni, followed by internationally praised soprano Angela Gheorghiu in a sumptuous Art Deco production of Puccini’s La Rondine beginning September 16. The sweeping biblical epic Samson and Dalilah by Camille Saint-Saëns concludes the series beginning September 23 with a large-scale production starring Olga Borodina and Clifton Forbis. All productions feature the award winning San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
Each airing will be enhanced with backstage interviews with singers, conductors, directors and other members of the artistic and creative team in order to offer greater perspective on the music and production of each opera to the audience. Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, La Rondine and Samson and Delilah will presented in their original languages and will feature English subtitles. Each opera will air beginning on a Thursday evening at 8 p.m., with numerous additional airings in subsequent days; check local listings for complete information.
“San Francisco Opera’s return to KQED TV promises to be a thrilling experience, and I couldn’t be happier to showcase four of our operas recorded in high definition,” said David Gockley, general director of San Francisco Opera. “I’m very proud of our broadcast series and believe it will translate well for television, providing many more viewers the opportunity to experience the grandeur of San Francisco Opera.”
Madama Butterfly, Puccini’s classic story of colliding heartstars celebrated American soprano Patricia Racette in her signature role as the tragic heroine Cio-Cio-San opposite American tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton and mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao as Suzuki. Donald Runnicles conducts this stirring San Francisco Opera production created by Ron Daniels and directed by Kathleen Belcher. Mozart’s Don Giovanni features leading baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, with soprano Elza van den Heever as Donna Anna, soprano Twyla Robinson as Donna Elvira and tenor Charles Castronovo as Don Ottavio.  Cannily balancing comedy and tragedy, Leah Hausman directs this riveting production by David McVicar, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
Puccini’s rarely performed gem La Rondine stars renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiu as the worldly Magda de Civry and tenor Misha Didyk as Ruggero, the naïve young man who falls in love with her. Soprano Anna Christy is Magda’s maid Lisette, and tenor Gerard Powers sings Prunier. Ion Marin conducts this dazzling Art Deco-inspired production conceived by Nicolas Joël and directed by Stephen Barlow. Saint-Saëns’s sweeping biblical epic Samson and Delilah features mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina as the seductive Delilah and tenor Clifton Forbis as the Old Testament hero who loses his heart, his hair and nearly his soul. Sandra Bernhard directs the opulent San Francisco Opera production by Nicolas Joël and Patrick Summers conducts. 
San Francisco Opera’s Grand Opera Cinema Series on KQED Public Television coincides with the opening of the Company’s 88th season, beginning September 10, 2010. The cinema series is one of the many electronic media initiatives launched under the direction of General Director David Gockley. These include the Company’s free live simulcasts, one of the first innovations of Gockley’s tenure and part of the Company’s campaign to bring opera into the community.  Since 2006, San Francisco Opera has presented seven free live simulcasts at venues throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco’s AT&T Park, for nearly 120,000 fans. San Francisco Opera’s simulcasts and cinemacasts are made possible through the technology of the Company’s Koret-Taube Media Suite, the first permanent HD broadcast-standard video production facility installed in an American opera house. 
KQED Public Television (, a service of Northern California Public Broadcasting, Inc. (NCPB), is one of the nation's most-watched public television stations. KQED produces local weekly series in high definition, available on Comcast On Demand, including: QUEST; Spark; Check, Please! Bay Area and This Week in Northern California; and national series: Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way and Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. KQED's digital television channels include 9HD, Life, World, Kids, and V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. Download programs for viewing and video podcasts at, featuring unique content on one of the most-visited station sites in public broadcasting.
To view complete listing information about San Francisco Opera on KQED TV, visit For more information about San Francisco Opera’s Grand Opera Cinema Series, and to view video clips of these operas, visit