Release date: 6/13/2012

San Francisco Opera Chorus Director Ian Robertson Receives San Francisco Opera Medal

Robertson Celebrates Twenty-Fifth Anniversary with San Francisco Opera

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San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley announced that Chorus Director Ian Robertson received the San Francisco Opera Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Company to an artistic professional.  Robertson joined the Company in 1987 and celebrates his twenty-fifth anniversary with San Francisco Opera this year.  The Opera Medal was presented to Robertson on stage at the War Memorial Opera House following the June 12 performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila.  Joining Gockley onstage for the presentation was San Francisco Opera Music Director and Attila conductor Nicola Luisotti, the cast of Attila, and the San Francisco Opera Chorus.
 
 David Gockley stated:  “Ian Robertson celebrates his twenty-fifth anniversary with San Francisco Opera this year, and over the course of his distinguished tenure he has led the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Chorus in more than 300 productions.  He has brought great artistry not only to the life of this Company, but to the musical fabric of the Bay Area through his work with the San Francisco Boys Chorus and other institutions.  He is a treasured member of the artistic leadership of San Francisco Opera, and it is very fitting that we recognize him in this way.”  
 
Ian Robertson has been chorus director and conductor with San Francisco Opera since 1987, having prepared more than 300 productions for the Company.  He was awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize in 2003 for his artistic contribution to the preparation of the Company’s North American premiere of Saint François d’Assise.  Robertson made his San Francisco Opera conducting debut with Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and has since led performances of Falstaff, Lohengrin, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlo, Turandot, Il Trovatore, and La Bohème.  He has led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in many concerts, and he conducted productions and concerts for San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program.  Other North American opera credits include productions with Sarasota Opera, Edmonton Opera, and Philadelphia’s Curtis Opera Theatre. Before joining San Francisco Opera, Robertson was head of music and chorus director of Scottish Opera, where he led numerous productions, including Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Pearl Fishers, The Secret of Susanna, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.  Robertson is currently the artistic director of the San Francisco Festival Chorale, which performed this past summer at the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the San Francisco Boys Chorus.  A 2009 trip with the San Francisco Boys Chorus took him to the inauguration of the President of the United States, and last summer he led performances with the Boys Chorus in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen.
 
The San Francisco Opera Medal was established in 1970 by former General Director Kurt Herbert Adler in 1970. Past honorees include Dorothy Kirsten (1970), Leontyne Price (1977), Joan Sutherland (1984), Marilyn Horne (1990), Plácido Domingo (1994), Charles Mackerras (1995), Frederica von Stade (1997), James Morris (2001), Samuel Ramey (2003); former San Francisco Opera General Directors Kurt Herbert Adler (1978), Lotfi Mansouri (2001) and Pamela Rosenberg (2005); former San Francisco Opera Music Director Donald Runnicles (2009); and most recently, stage director John Copley (2010).  A complete list of Opera Medal recipients follows below.
 
San Francisco Opera Medal Recipients
1970 - Dorothy Kirsten
1972 - Jess Thomas
1973 - Paul Hager (house stage director)
1974 - Colin Harvey (chorister and chorus librarian)
1975 - Otto Guth
            Alexander Fried (San Francisco Examiner music critic)
1976 - Leonie Rysanek
1977 - Leontyne Price
1978 - Kurt Herbert Adler
1980 - Geraint Evans
1981 - Matthew Farruggio (production supervisor and house stage director)
            Birgit Nilsson
1982 - Regina Resnik
1984 - Joan Sutherland
1985 - Thomas Stewart
1987 - Régine Crespin
1988 - Philip Eisenberg (music staff)
1989 - Pilar Lorengar
Bidú Sayao
1990 - Janis Martin
Marilyn Horne
1991 - Licia Albanese
1993 - Walter Mahoney (costume shop manager)
1994 - Zaven Melikian (concertmaster)
Michael Kane (master carpenter)
Plácido Domingo
1995 - Charles Mackerras
1997 - Frederica von Stade
1998 - Irene Dalis
2001 - Lotfi Mansouri
James Morris
2003 - Samuel Ramey
2004 - Joe Harris (dresser)
2005 - Pamela Rosenberg
2008 - Clifford (Kip) Cranna (director of music administration)
            Ruth Ann Swenson
2009 – Donald Runnicles
2010 – John Copley (stage director)
2012 – Ian Robertson (chorus director)