Release date: 7/13/2012

San Francisco Opera Celebrates 90th Season Opening With Verdi's Rigoletto Conducted by Nicola Luisotti September 7, War Memorial Opera House

Opening Night Festivities Highlighted by Opera Ball 2012, Notte Di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration and BRAVO! CLUB Opening Night Gala

Free Season-Opening Events Include Annual Opera in the Park Concert and Opera at the Ballpark Simulcast

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 90th Season on Friday, September 7, 2012 with a gala performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti and featuring an illustrious cast led by baritone Željko Lučić in the title role, soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Francesco Demuro as the Duke of Mantua.  The opening night festivities are highlighted by Opera Ball 2012, Notte di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration and BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala.
 
Also celebrating the opening of the 2012–13 opera season are two of the Bay Area’s most popular musical events–– San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park, San Francisco Opera’s annual concert in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, September 9 and Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark, a live simulcast of San Francisco Opera’s Rigoletto at AT&T Park on Saturday, September 15. Both events are free to the public.
 
Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto / September 7–30
San Francisco Opera’s 2012–13 Season opens on September 7 with Verdi’s Rigoletto, the vivid and compelling story of a vengeful court jester desperately attempting to protect his daughter from disaster. Conductor Nicola Luisotti leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, together with an international cast of singers including acclaimed Serbian baritone and Verdi specialist Željko Lučić in the title role, and the Company debuts of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Italian tenor Francesco Demuro as the Duke of Mantua. Opening Saturday, September 8, San Francisco Opera presents Rigoletto with a second renowned cast of featuring Marco Vratonga, Albina Shagimuratova and David Lomelí. Opera and theater director Harry Silverstein returns to direct this San Francisco Opera production with sets designed by Michael Yeargan. Rigoletto runs for 12 performances through September 30, alternating between the two casts of principals. (See attached calendar for complete cast information.)
 
Opera Ball 2012, Notte di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration / Friday, September 7
A highlight of the City’s cultural and philanthropic season, Opera Ball is the Company’s celebrated signature fundraising event co-produced with San Francisco Opera Guild to benefit San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s education and community programs.  Opera Ball 2012 is co-chaired by Cathy MacNaughton and Diane Rubin.  Ninetieth Anniversary Honorary Chairmen are Cynthia Fry Gunn, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield and Diane B. Wilsey.  Opera Ball 2012, Notte di Splendore begins with an elegant pre-performance cocktail reception at 5 p.m. in the historic War Memorial House.  A sumptuous dinner by acclaimed chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCall Associates follows in the tented Opera Ball Pavilion, transformed by renowned event architect Robert Fountain into an Italian palace fit for the Duke of Mantua.  At 8 p.m., the curtain rises on the gala opening night performance of Rigoletto.  Following the conclusion of the opera, Opera Ball patrons will return to the Opera Ball Pavilion for cocktails, desserts and dancing the night away to the Richard Olsen Orchestra.
 
Opera Ball 2012 is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor, Nordstrom; Jewelry Sponsor, Bulgari; Supporting Sponsors, Joan & David Traitel; and Luxury Automotive Sponsor, Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco; as well as Hartmann Studios, United, William Hill Estate Winery, Scharffenberger Cellars, Town & Country, Nob Hill Gazette, Soiree Valet, Satoko Furuta Design, and Marci & Lou Palatella.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala / Friday, September 7
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera's group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 21st annual opening night gala on Friday, September 7, co-chaired by Eva Binda and Gianna Cardinale. BRAVO! CLUB begins the evening at 6 p.m. with an extended pre-performance cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception by Patina Catering in the Entrance Lobby at the War Memorial Veterans Building followed by the opening night performance of Verdi's Rigoletto. The post-performance festivities continue with dessert and dancing to the music of DJ Rukus in the elegant Green Room of the War Memorial Veterans Building, which will be transformed with Rich Italian renaissance style décor.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala is generously supported by Asset Management Company, Black Stallion Estate Winery, Irony, Jen’s Desserts, Uber, Code Salon, Cultivar and Wilkes Bashford.
 
San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park / Sunday, September 9
A beloved San Francisco tradition, the annual San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park concert will take place on Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. The celebratory event features artists from the Company’s Fall 2012 Season and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti. The concert draws thousands of music lovers each year, many of whom enjoy the occasion with elaborate picnics on the lawn. In the event’s time-honored finale, the audience joins with the singers in a rousing rendition of the drinking song (“Libiamo nei’lieti calici”) from Verdi’s La Traviata. This concert, held in Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park, is free and open to the public.
 
Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark / Saturday, September 15
Also in celebration of the new season, San Francisco Opera partners with Webcor Builders and the San Francisco Giants to present the Company’s seventh free live simulcast at AT&T Park on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 8 p.m. Verdi’s Rigoletto, featuring a celebrated cast of singers and conducted by Nicola Luisotti, will be simulcast live from the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park’s high-definition scoreboard. A unique opportunity for fans to enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco Opera in one of the nation’s foremost ballparks, the Company’s simulcasts at AT&T Park have drawn more than 165,000 people, many experiencing opera for the first time. Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark is made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Koret-Taube Media Suite. This event marks the tenth free simulcast presented by San Francisco Opera under David Gockley’s leadership.