Release date: 6/28/2012

San Francisco Opera Celebrates 90th Season Opening September 7, War Memorial Opera House

Opening Night Festivities Highlighted by Opera Ball 2012, Notte Di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration

Music Director Nicola Luisotti Opens Company's 2012-13 Season Leading Gala Performance of Verdi's Rigoletto

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 90th Season on September 7, 2012 with a gala opening night at the War Memorial Opera House highlighted by Opera Ball 2012, Notte di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration.  The evening is crowned by a 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 and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda. 
A highlight of the City’s cultural and philanthropic season, Opera Ball is the Company’s celebrated signature benefit event co-produced with the 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.  90th Anniversary Honorary Chairmen are Cynthia Fry Gunn, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield and Diane B. Wilsey. 
“With the support of our sponsors, Nordstrom, Bulgari, Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco, and our many generous patrons, we will be able to make a significant impact in the community next year.  Opera Ball is not only a celebration of the opening of the cultural season in San Francisco, it is also an important source of revenue for our opera education programs that reach over 60,000 students annually,” said Ann Girard, President of San Francisco Opera Guild. 
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 majestic 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 dramatic 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 and David Traitel; and Luxury Automotive Sponsor, Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco; as well as Hartmann Studios, United, William Hill Estate Winery, Scharffenberger Cellars, Nob Hill Gazette, Town & Country, Soiree Valet, Satoko Furuta Design, and Marci & Lou Palatella.
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.  Opera and theater director Harry Silverstein returns to direct this San Francisco Opera production with sets designed by Michael Yeargan.          
Tickets for Opera Ball 2012, Notte di Splendore: A 90th Anniversary Celebration are priced at
$1,000 (sold-out); $1,500; $2,500; and $5,000; ticket availability is limited.  Opera Ball tickets may be purchased at or by calling (415) 565-3204.
Tickets for the performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto (not including Opera Ball 2012 gala) are priced from $27 to $340 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.