Release date: 9/30/2011

San Francisco Opera Presents Mozart's Don Giovanni October 15-November 10, War Memorial Opera House

Ensemble Cast Includes Lucas Meachem, Ellie Dehn, Serena Farnocchia, Kate Lindsey, Topi Lehtipuu and Marco Vinco

New Production Directed by Noted Film Director Gabriele Lavia with Sets by Alessandro Camera and Costums by Andrea Viotti

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (September 30, 2011)—San Francisco Opera presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a new production premiere at the War Memorial Opera House. Opening on Saturday, October 15 with eight subsequent performances through November 10, Mozart’s exhilarating comic drama features an exciting cast of singers, including Lucas Meachem, Ellie Dehn, Serena Farnocchia, Kate Lindsey, Topi Lehtipuu and Marco Vinco. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and Italian film and theater director Gabriele Lavia directs this new San Francisco Opera production with sets designed by Alessandro Camera and costumes by Andrea Viotti.
 
Leading the ensemble cast in the title role is former Adler Fellow Lucas Meachem, who starred asCount Almavivain last fall’s Le Nozze di Figaro. The American baritone has previously appeared as Don Giovanni at New Orleans Opera, the Glyndebourne Festival and the Santa Fe Opera, where the Santa Fe New Mexican wrote that his performance was “sweet, dark-grained and supple, and insinuating enough to make any woman give at the knees.” Other Mozart engagements include Count Almaviva at Munich's Bavarian State Opera and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Los Angeles Opera, Colorado Opera and in Portland, Maine. Meachem made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 as General Rayevsky in War and Peace and returned last season as Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette.
 
Soprano Ellie Dehn, who made her Company debut last year as Countess Almaviva opposite Meachem, is Donna Anna. The American soprano has previously appeared as Countess Almaviva with Houston Grand Opera and as Donna Anna with Opera Pacific and at the Ravinia Festival. Among her recent engagements are Musetta in La Bohème with the Metropolitan Opera and Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera, and Mimì in La Bohème with the San Diego Opera and Minnesota Opera. Dehn will return to the Metropolitan Opera this season as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and will appear at La Scala as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Musetta.
 
Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia appears at San Francisco Opera for the first time in a role she has previously performed in Geneva—Don Giovanni’s scorned lover, Donna Elvira. Farnocchia’s career highlights include Mimì in La Bohème at La Scala, Rome’s Teatro dell'Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Leonora in Il Trovatore in Lausanne, Parma, and Dresden; and Amelia Grimaldi in Simon Boccanegra at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice and in Trieste and Seville.
 
American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Zerlina, a role she recently performed opposite Lucas Meachem at the Santa Fe Opera. Recent engagements include returns to both the Metropolitan Opera as Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Seattle Opera as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, as well as performances as Zaida in Il Turco in Italia with Los Angeles Opera and Idamante in Idomeneo at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
 
Tenor Topi Lehtipuu, a native of Finland, makes his United States debut as Don Ottavio, a role he has also performed in Toulouse. Described by the London Daily Telegraph as “one of the most elegant and musical young lyric tenors to have emerged in a decade,” Lehtipuu’s recent career highlights include Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival; Ferrando in Così fan tutte at the Salzburg Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival and in Las Palmas, Frankfurt, and Bilbao; and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte in Turin.
Italian bass Marco Vinco makes his United States debut as Leporello in this production. Performing regularly with many of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses, Vinco has appeared with Milan’s La Scala; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Madrid’s Teatro Real; Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice. Recent engagements include Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri with Paris Opera, the title role of Le Nozze di Figaro at Paris’s Théatre des Champs-Elysées; Colline in La Bohème in Seville; and Escamillo in Carmen in Lisbon.
 
San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this production. Additionally this season he leads Puccini’s Turandot, Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s Attila, and two special performances with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in concert co-presented with Cal Performances in Berkeley. Luisotti’s outside engagements during the 2011–12 season include Tosca at La Scala and the rarely performed I Masnadieri with Teatro di San Carlo in addition to many orchestral engagements, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia.
 
Celebrated Italian film and theater director Gabriele Lavia makes his United States directorial debut this season with this new production of Don Giovanni. He returns in June 2012 to directa new co-production of Attila, which received its premiere at Teatro alla Scala in June 2011. Lavia partners with set designer Alessandro Camera and costume designer Andrea Viotti for both productions. As an actor, Lavia has had roles in nearly thirty films and television programs. He is best known in the United States for his appearances in a number of horror films, including Beyond the Door (1974); Dario Argento's Deep Red (1976), Inferno (1980), and Sleepless (2001); and Pupi Avati's Zeder (1983), in which he starred. Maintaining an active career as a theater director, Gabriele Lavia formerly held positions as the artistic co-director of the Eliseo Theatre of Rome, artistic director of the Stable Theatre of Turin and artistic director of the Festival of Taormina Art. Lavia’s diverse opera credits include Luisa Miller in Naples; Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci in Verona; several productions at Milan’s La Scala, including Maria Stuarda, I Masnadieri, and I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata; and Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
                                                                                                 
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the nine performances of Don Giovanni are scheduled for October 15 (8 p.m.), October 18 (8 p.m.), October 21 (8 p.m.), October 23 (2 p.m.), October 26 (7:30 p.m.), October 29 (8 p.m.), November 2 (7:30 p.m.), November 5 (2 p.m.) and November 10 (7:30 p.m.), 2011.
 
Tickets and Information
Tickets for the performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni are priced from $21 to $330 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.
All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by educator and chorus director, Bruce Lamott. 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 Don Giovanni and San Francisco Opera’s 2011–12 season, please visit sfopera.com.