Release date: 5/9/2012

San Francisco Opera Present Summer 2012 Season

Bay Area Premiere of Nixon in China by John Adams and Alice Goodman Opens Summer Season June 8

San Francisco Opera/Teatro alla Scala Co-production of Verdi's Attila Led by Nicola Luisotti Opens June 12

New Production of Mozart's The Magic Flute Designed by Jun Kaneko Premieres June 13

San Francisco Opera Orchestra in Concert June 3 Featuring Amit Peled and Nicola Luisotti

Photos Available
 San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2012 Season will feature three productions never before seen in San Francisco, opening on Friday, June 8 with the long-awaited Bay Area premiere of Nixon In China by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman. These performances mark the 25th anniversary of this work, originally co-commissioned by David Gockley.       
The season continues with the San Francisco debut of a new co-production of Verdi’s Attila, opening June 12, which premiered at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala in June 2011 and features legendary Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role and Lucrecia Garcia in her Company debut as Odabella. Completing the Summer Season is Mozart’s The Magic Flute, beginning June 13, presented in a new production designed by visual artist Jun Kaneko and bringing together a strong ensemble cast including Heidi Stober, Alek Shrader, Nathan Gunn, Kristinn Sigmundsson and Albina Shagimuratova.
Described by the New York Times as a work of “clarity, simplicity, shocking elegance,” John Adams’ rhythmically rich recreation of Richard Nixon’s 1972 presidential trip to Beijing has established itself as one of the most important American operas of the 20th century. Twenty-five years after premiering at Houston Grand Opera under the leadership of David Gockley and marking the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s historic trip, this presentation of Adams’ seminal work marks its Bay Area stage premiere. The cast features Brian Mulligan, who thrilled audiences in San Francisco Opera’s Faust (2010) and Werther (2010), making his role debut as Richard Nixon. The cast also includes Maria Kanyova (Pat Nixon), Simon O’Neill (Mao Tse-tung), Hye Jung Lee (Madame Mao Tse-tung), Chen-Ye Yuan (Chou En-lai) and Patrick Carfizzi (Henry Kissinger). Lawrence Renes, whose conducting of Adams’ Doctor Atomic won praise from London critics, will lead the orchestra in an acclaimed Vancouver Opera production directed by Michael Cavanagh that was described by the Vancouver Sun as “vibrant, exhilarating and totally compelling.” In addition to Brian Mulligan, Hye Jung Lee and Patrick Carfizzi are also making their role debuts, heralding a new generation of singers to bring this landmark work to life.
In the popular imagination Attila the Hun was a ruthless barbarian, but to Giuseppe Verdi he was a far more complex and compelling figure: a brave, ambitious warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts. This new co-production with Teatro alla Scala, which was first performed in Italy in June 2011 led by Maestro Luisotti in his La Scala conducting debut, is staged by Gabriele Lavia with sets by Alessandro Camera and costumes by Andrea Viotti, the creative team who made their San Francisco Opera debuts with Don Giovanni this past October. This grand, large-scale production celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification with a bold re-imagining that places each act of Attila in a different period of Italian history: Attila the barbarian in the ruins of a Roman-era amphitheater, Attila the Austrian general in a destroyed a 19th-century Italian opera house and Attila the politician in a contemporary movie theater.
The distinguished cast features legendary bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role; the Company debut of Venezuelan soprano Lucrecia Garcia (Odabella), who recently sang this role at La Scala and Seattle Opera; Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey (Ezio) and renowned bass Samuel Ramey (Pope Leo I). Mexican tenor Diego Torre, who was originally scheduled to sing Foresto in two performances, will now replace Fabio Sartori in all performances of Attila.
Endlessly inventive, charmingly fantastical and utterly unique, Mozart’s final opera is a profound yet lighthearted tale of romantic love, spiritual transcendence and the beguiling art of birdcatching. In this production premiere, the internationally acclaimed ensemble cast is led by dynamic young conductor Rory Macdonald and includes lyric tenor and former Adler Fellow Alek Shrader as Tamino, a role he recently performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago (shared with Nathaniel Peake for two performances), soprano Heidi Stober (Pamina), acclaimed baritone Nathan Gunn (Papageno), bass Kristinn Sigmundsson (Sarastro), and in the opera’s most virtuoso role, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova, who is “in demand everywhere as the Queen of the Night” (The New York Times). Sung in English, this new San Francisco Opera co-production is created by renowned Japanese-American visual artist Jun Kaneko and directed by Harry Silverstein. Kaneko, who is known for his large-scale ceramics and permanent installations, has created a bold, colorful production which integrates whimsical costumes and conceptual, graphic projections. Using new state of the art Autodesk Inventor 3D software, the production team and San Francisco Opera production and props departments have created a one of a kind new production at the cutting edge of theatrical technology—the first all-digital production in San Francisco Opera history.
In conjunction with this production of The Magic Flute, the San Francisco Opera Education Department will present four interactive, multi-generational workshops based on the themes, story, characters and music of Mozart’s opera. Exploration Workshop: Inside The Magic Flute! is recommended for children ages 8 and up and their families and will take place on Saturday, June 16 at 4–5 p.m. and 5:30–6:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 11 a.m.–12 p.m. and 12:30–1:30 p.m. at Chorissima Hall in the San Francisco Girls Chorus Building, 44 Page Street. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at
San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances present Music Director Nicola Luisotti and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in concert at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, June 3 at 3 p.m. Nicola Luisotti will lead the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony, Cherubini’s Symphony in D Major and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C  Major featuring cellist Amit Peled. The Israeli cellist has toured the United States and Europe extensively in recent years garnering rave reviews for his dramatic and moving interpretations of traditional cello repertoire as well as serving as an ambassador for contemporary Jewish music. He has previously performed as soloist at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, New York; Salle Gaveau, Paris; Wigmore Hall, London; Konzerthaus, Berlin; and Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium. 
San Francisco Opera Guild will present an Insight Panel Discussion on May 29 at 6 p.m. in the Herbst Theatre at the War Memorial Veterans Building (401 Van Ness Avenue). This informative discussion will feature members of the cast and production team from Nixon in China. Insight panels are free for Opera members and $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion.
Single tickets are priced from $21 to $389 and may be purchased at 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.

Tickets for the Nicola Luisotti and San Francisco Opera Orchestra concert on June 3 are priced from $30 to $80 and may be purchased online at and through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Tickets can also be purchased through Cal Performances’ Box Office [Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus, by phone at (510) 642-9988] or online at
Before every opera performance, listen to charismatic music scholars present a 25-minute Opera Talk including an overview of the opera, with insights on the music, composer and historical background.  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 and
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2012 season, please visit

*For a complete calendar of the Summer 2012 Season, please view the pdf attached above