Release date: 8/16/2011

San Francisco Opera Opens 89th Season with Puccini's Turandot, Conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti September 9-October 4, War Memorial Opera House

Celebrated Cast Includes Iréne Theorin, Marco Berti and Leah Crocetto

San Francisco Opera Partners with the San Francisco Giants and Webcor Builders for Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark, September 25 

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (August 16, 2011)—San Francisco Opera launches the Company’s 89th season with Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot at the War Memorial Opera House. Opening on Friday, September 9 with six subsequent performances through October 4, Puccini’s masterpiecewill be brought to life by David Hockney’s glorious and fanciful production with costumes by Ian Falconer. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts a cast of renowned singers with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
 
The celebrated cast of principal singers features Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin in the title role, tenor Marco Berti as Calaf and Adler Fellow Leah Crocetto as Liù. “The world’s reigning Turandot” (Opera Britannia), Iréne Theorin marks her first appearances with San Francisco Opera as the Chinese princess. The Swedish soprano has previously performed this role at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and in Copenhagen, Dresden, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Other career highlights include Brünnhilde in Die Walküre and Siegfried with the Metropolitan Opera; Isolde in Tristan und Isolde in Bayreuth, Brussels and Essen; Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen in Köln and Dresden; and the title role of Elektra at the Salzburg Festival. This season she will appear as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre with Berlin State Opera and Milan’s La Scala.
 
Italian tenor Marco Berti returns to San Francisco Opera as Calaf, the prince who bravely risks his life in order to win Turandot’s love. Berti has previously appeared as Calaf at Milan’s La Scala, the Deutsch Oper Berlin, the Arena di Verona and in Seville, Barcelona and Valencia; he will reprise the role this season in Berlin and Munich. The tenor made his San Francisco Opera debut as Don José in Carmen in 2006 and most recently appeared with the Company in the title role of Il Trovatore in 2009.
 
A winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Leah Crocetto makes her role debut as the slave girl Liù. The third-year Adler Fellow has previously appeared with San Francisco Opera in Suor Angelica, Aida and Cyrano de Bergerac. Earlier this year, Crocetto made her role debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore with the Bordeaux National Opera and represented the United States in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
                                                                               
Maestro Nicola Luisotti begins the third season of his tenure as San Francisco Opera’s music director with this production. Called “both an original thinker and a great respecter of tradition” by Opera News, which featured him on the cover of the July 2011 special issue on conductors, Luisotti recently conducted Turandot at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. This season he also leads Don Giovanni, Carmen, a new co-production with Milan’s La Scala of Attila with the Companyand two special concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra co-presented with Cal Performances in Berkeley. 
 
Puccini’s final opera, Turandot features some of the composer’s most glorious music, including the stirring anthem “Nessun dorma.” This colorful production, San Francisco Opera’s much-beloved co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago, brings to life the passionate tale of a princess whose cruelty masks her fear of love. Directed by Garnett Bruce, this production is designed by renowned painter, photographer and print-maker David Hockney, who has also created stage designs for the Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.
 
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the seven performances of Turandot in September and Octoberare scheduled for September 9 (8 p.m.), September 14 (7:30 p.m.), September 17 (8 p.m.), September 22 (7:30 p.m.), September 25 (2 p.m.), October 1 (8 p.m.), and October 4 (7:30 p.m.), 2011. San Francisco Opera will also present three performances of Turandot in November led by Giuseppe Finzi and starring American dramatic soprano Susan Foster and Italian tenor Walter Fraccaro.
 
Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark / Sunday, September 25
Continuing what has become a beloved Bay Area tradition, San Francisco Opera partners with Webcor Builders and the San Francisco Giants to present the Company’s sixth free live simulcast at AT&T Park and its first matinee simulcast. Presented at one of the nation’s most beautiful baseball stadiums and home of the 2010 World Series champions the San Francisco Giants, on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 2:00 p.m., the simulcast of Puccini’s Turandot will take full advantage of the daytime capability of the Giants’ powerful high-definition video screen. Free family activities will be offered before and during the simulcast in the Coca-Cola Fan Lot and Scoreboard Plaza. Activities will include face painting, art projects, singing, storytelling and appearances by Giants mascot Lou Seal. Renowned artist and designer David Hockney’s striking production of Puccini’s masterwork will be conducted by Nicola Luisotti and sung by an acclaimed cast, including soprano Iréne Theorin (Turandot), Adler Fellow Leah Crocetto(Liù), tenor Marco Berti (Calaf) and bass Raymond Aceto (Timur). Simulcast live from the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park’s high-definition scoreboard, last year’s Opera at the Ballpark simulcast of Aida drew an unprecedented crowd of 32,000 people, many experiencing opera for the first time. Instituted as one of the first innovations of David Gockley’s tenure to bring opera into the community, this event marks the ninth free simulcast presented by San Francisco Opera, which to date have drawn more than 150,000 people of all ages.  
 
Tickets and Information
Tickets for the performance of Puccini’s Turandot are priced from $21 to $389 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.
            The September 25 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 sfopera.com/simulcast to register.