Release date: 10/1/2013
Live Streaming of Mefistofele to European Cinemas, Oct 2
SAN FRANCISCO (October 1, 2013) – San Francisco Opera launches several new media initiatives this fall underscoring the Company’s prominence as one of the world’s leading producers for the lyric stage while showcasing the acclaimed assets of its in-house state-of-the-art Koret-Taube Media Suite.
Worldwide DVD/Blue-ray Release of Moby-Dick & Lucrezia Borgia, Oct 29
PBS TV ARTS FALL FESTIVAL Great Performances to air Moby-Dick, Nov 1
Live Simulcast of Falstaff to Stanford's Frost Amphitheater, Oct 11
SFO Returns to KQED Public Television Sept 12 — Oct 3 with Porgy and Bess, Aida, Boris Godunov, Lucrezia Borgia with special host Frederica von Stade
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley said, “With today’s news, the Company continues to expand our global stature and emphasize many of the wonderful live performances recorded and produced in high-definition format from the War Memorial Opera House. I’m proud to say these initiatives stress one of the Company’s core values of providing greater accessibility and enjoyment of the opera art form to a broader community. In this spirit, we’ve forged meaningful relationships with our esteemed media partners Rising Alternative, EuroArts and Naxos, THIRTEEN for WNET/PBS Great Performances, KQED Public Television, and Stanford Live, in addition to our ongoing Bay Area and national radio partners KDFC and WFMT, and anticipate audiences locally and worldwide will be the true beneficiary of our collective efforts.”
Live Streaming of Mefistofele, October 2
This new media campaign will be distinguished by the Company’s first-ever live streaming of a performance from the War Memorial Opera House stage on Wednesday, October 2, with Arrigo Boito’s grand opera Mefistofele, presented in high-definition format to more than one hundred cinema theaters across fifteen countries in Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain and the UK). Produced in cooperation with Rising Alternative, one of the premiere content distributors of classical arts programming to cinemas worldwide, Mefistofele will be screened in Europe on October 3 with a trans-Atlantic delay due to the multiple time zones ranging from California to Russia.
This unique and spectacular production designed by Robert Carsen and Michael Levine features an international cast of Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas and American soprano Patricia Racette, with San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti leading the Company Orchestra, Chorus and Corps Dancers. Future plans call for Rising Alternative to offer cinemas San Francisco Opera’s recent John Pascoe production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia with soprano Renée Fleming, tenor Michael Fabiano and conductor Riccardo Frizza beginning in 2014.
Worldwide Release of Moby-Dick and Lucrezia Borgia DVD and Blu-ray discs
Beginning Tuesday, October 29, San Francisco Opera in partnership with EuroArts Music International and Naxos of America will release for worldwide sale DVD and Blu-ray discs of two recent San Francisco Opera productions: the premiere recording of contemporary composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s universally praised Moby-Dick, an adaptation of Herman Melville’s powerful novel set for the lyric stage, and Gaetano Donizetti’s 19th century bel canto gem Lucrezia Borgia featuring opera superstar Renée Fleming. Recorded live in high-definition at the War Memorial Opera House, both operas include special bonus material including interviews with cast members, program notes, plot synopses and production photographs.
By special arrangement with Naxos of America, copies of both Moby-Dick and Lucrezia Borgia will be available for sale at the San Francisco Opera Shop beginning the week of October 7. The sale price is $24.99 for DVDs and $39.99 for Blu-ray discs. On Sunday, November 3 following the company’s matinee performance of Der Fliegende Holländer, Moby-Dick composer Jake Heggie and conductor Patrick Summers will make a special appearance to autograph purchased copies of the opera.
The release of Moby-Dick and Lucrezia Borgia represent the first of six operas to be produced by San Francisco Opera in this new collaboration with EuroArts, with an additional four operas expected to be announced in 2014.
Bernd Hellthaler, CEO and Executive Producer at EuroArts Music International, said: “We are thrilled to be working with San Francisco Opera. It is a privilege to add these sumptuously produced performances to our portfolio of first-class opera productions. San Francisco Opera, internationally recognized as one of the top opera companies in the world, is the ideal partner to work with us on the TV distribution and release on DVD and Blu-ray disc of these splendid programs.”
Jim Selby, CEO at Naxos of America added, “Naxos of America is honored and excited to enter into a new partnership with the San Francisco Opera and EuroArts with the release of Moby-Dick and Lucrezia Borgia on both DVD and Blu-ray formats. We also look forward to further releases in 2014 from the same forces, utilizing our collective marketing efforts to bring these important productions to the widest possible audience.”
Recorded in October 2012, San Francisco Opera’s presentation of Moby-Dick features Grammy Award-winning singer Jay Hunter Morris in the role of Captain Ahab; Stephen Costello as Greenhorn; Morgan Smith as Starbuck; Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg; Talise Trevigne as Pip; Matthew O’Neill as Flask; and Robert Orth as Stubb. San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, who led the highly successful world premiere in April 2010 at Dallas Opera, presides over the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The San Francisco Opera presentation reunited Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer with the original creative team of director Leonard Foglia, production designer Robert Brill, costume designer Jane Greenwood, lighting designer Gavan Swift, video projection designer Elaine J. McCarthy, and choreographer Keturah Stickann.
Donizetti’s rarely heard Lucrezia Borgia vividly comes alive in this plush recording from October 2011 with a highly praised cast distinguished by San Francisco Opera veteran Renée Fleming in the title role; Michael Fabiano as Gennaro; Elizabeth DeShong as Maffio Orsini; and Vitalij Kowaljow as Duke Alfonso. Riccardo Frizza conducted the San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra and the stage is set in a lavish Italian Renaissance production designed and directed by John Pascoe.
PBS Great Performances to air Moby-Dick, November 1
For the first time since 2002, San Francisco Opera returns to Great Performances with composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning opera Moby-Dick, to be broadcast nationwide on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.
Composed in two acts and sung in English, Heggie and Scheer’s opera adaptation brings a thrilling new musical dimension to one of the towering classics of American literature, Herman Melville’s celebrated novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.
The Bay Area premiere ran for eight performances in the fall of 2012 at the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers presided over a vocally resplendent cast of singers including Jay Hunter Morris (Captain Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Talise Trevigne (Pip), Matthew O’Neill (Flask), Robert Orth (Stubb), and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Ian Robertson, Chorus Director) in a stage production directed by Leonard Foglia, choreographed by Keturah Stickann, and designed by Robert Brill (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Gavan Swift (lighting), and Elaine J. McCarthy (projections).
San Francisco Bay Area music critics were unanimous in their high praise for the opera premiere. “The result is a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. “Suffused with gorgeous harmonies and melodic music, there are few contemporary operas like it; it will certainly stay in the international opera repertory for a long time,” stated the San Francisco Examiner. The San Jose Mercury News added, “Moby-Dick boasts an ace cast and whiz-bang production values: digital projections that conjure the vast rolling seas; physical sets with mile-high masts and Brooklyn Bridge grids of rigging. Directed by Leonard Foglia, Moby is awesome in a 21st Century Broadway kind of way.”
Moby-Dick was co-commissioned by San Francisco Opera in partnership with the Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia, and premiered at the Dallas Opera’s Winspear Opera House in April 2010. In September 2012, Moby-Dick was voted “Best Opera” and Leonard Foglia was named “Best Director of an Opera” at the Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia—that country’s highest awards event recognizing distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in live performance.
San Francisco Opera has a long and distinguished broadcast history with Great Performances which includes national telecasts of Samson et Dalila, L’Africaine, Mefistofele, Turandot, the world premiere of Conrad Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons, San Francisco Opera 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration Concert, the world premiere of Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Merry Widow.
Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera is a co-production of San Francisco Opera and THIRTEEN in association with WNET. Directed by Frank Zamacona, the television production is produced by Jessica Koplos and Matthew Shilvock; David Gockley is executive producer. For Great Performances, John Walker is producer, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.
Falstaff Simulcast to Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater, October 11
San Francisco Opera’s popular series of free community simulcasts continues this fall with a live HD simulcast of Giuseppe Verdi’d Falstaff to Stanford University’s Frost Amphitheater on October 11 at 8:00 p.m. Presented in partnership with Stanford Live, Verdi’s comic masterpiece—featuring renowned bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in his signature role and conducted by Nicola Luisotti—will be transmitted to Stanford University’s outdoor amphitheater live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House.
Free live simulcasts are among the first innovations of David Gockley’s tenure and part of the Company’s mission to bring opera into the community and to wider audiences. Falstaff marks the eleventh simulcast presented since its debut in 2006. To date, the Company’s free live simulcasts have drawn over 194,000 music lovers of all ages, including drawing large and enthusiastic crowds to the Company’s regular series of simulcasts to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
KQED TV Airs Four San Francisco Opera Productions
For the fourth consecutive year, San Francisco Opera returned to KQED Public Television 9, Northern California’s preeminent public broadcast station, with a new series of grand operas recorded live in high definition from the War Memorial Opera House. This season’s productions and recent broadcast dates included: The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, September 12; Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, September 19; Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, September 26; and Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, October 3. Each broadcast includes numerous encore airings on KQED 9 and KQED Live. International opera star and arts advocate extraordinaire Frederica von Stade is once again the program’s host.
San Francisco Opera’s critically acclaimed presentation of Porgy and Bess in 2009 featured Eric Owens and Laquita Mitchell in the title roles, along with Lester Lynch (Crown), Chauncey Packer (Sportin’ Life), Karen Slack (Serena) and Angel Blue (Clara). The preeminent Porgy and Bess conductor John DeMain led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Catfish Row ensemble in a new production directed by Francesca Zambello.
The Company’s broadcast of Verdi’s grand Egyptian opera Aida (recorded September 2010) features the local debut of Italian soprano Micaela Carosi in the title role, joined by Dolora Zajick (Amneris), Marcello Giordani (Radames), and Marco Vratogna (Amonasro). SFO Music Director Nicola Luisotti is on the podium leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a lavish production designed by Zandra Rhodes and directed by Jo Davies.
Mussorgsky’s imperial opera Boris Godunov (recorded October 2008) boasts a distinguished cast of singers including American bass Samuel Ramey in the title role, in addition to Vitalij Kowaljow (Pimen), Vsevolod Grivnov (Grigory, the Pretender Dimitri) and Vladimir Ognovenko (Varlaam). Russian conductor Vassily Sinaisky leads a stirring performance with the Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a production by Stein Winge directed by Julia Pevzner.
Donizetti’s bel canto gem Lucrezia Borgia (recorded Sept 2011) welcomes the return of Company veteran and superstar Renée Fleming in the title role, joined by Michael Fabiano (Gennaro), Elizabeth DeShong (Maffio Orsini) and Vitalij Kowaljow (Duke Alfanso). Riccardo Frizza is on the podium with a production by John Pascoe.
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RISING ALTERNATIVE is one of the leading alternative content distributors and offers the best opera and ballet to cinemas, cultural centers and other public venues worldwide. The San Francisco Opera, the Teatro alla Scala, the Opera National de Paris, The Salzburg Festival and the Wiener Staatsoper are among the many opera venues featured in its catalogue. The company, with offices in New York, Berlin and Milan is ideally positioned to support its partners in exhibition and provide cinemas and audiences with a slate of 24 programs a year, 13 of which will be broadcast LIVE in HD during the in 2013-2014 season. Its exhibition partner network includes more than 800 screens in 40 countries. Rising Alternative has been involved in the distribution of content internationally since 2006. For more information, visit www.risingalternative.com.
EUROARTS MUSIC INTERNATIONAL was founded in 1979 by Bernd Hellthaler. Soon, the company became internationally renowned for the production and distribution of audio-visual classical music recordings, acclaimed documentaries, opera and ballet films, and jazz as well as other music and art programs for TV and home video. Today the company sells the catalogues of EuroArts Music, Berlin and Idéale Audience, Paris as well as Arthaus Musik (TV only), BBC Legends and BBC Classic Archive Programs. It is active in TV licensing to more than 150 clients in 40 countries around the world, in DVD and audio distribution, as well as in distribution of digital files and other internet applications. The EuroArts Label distributes its catalog with more than 400 titles worldwide through its international distribution network partner Naxos Global. For more information about EuroArts Music International, visit euroarts.com.
Founded in 1991 and Headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, NAXOS OF AMERICA, Inc. (NoA) is the #1 independent classical music distributor in the U.S. and Canada. Specializing in state-of-the-art distribution, marketing and promotion, NoA distributes nearly 40,000 SKUs to traditional brick and mortar retail, as well as offering a comprehensive suite of services tailored to consumer direct fulfillment. Naxos of America is also the largest digital distributor of independent classical music, supplying a catalog of over 45,000 albums to hundreds of digital download and mobile outlets worldwide. NoA offers marketing, e-marketing, publicity, e-publicity, physical and digital e-commerce services, licensing opportunities, streaming services, sales and customer service for all new releases and active catalog titles of Naxos Records and more than 200 physically distributed and 400 digitally distributed labels. Recordings and artists from the labels of the NoA distribution family have earned 24 GRAMMY® Awards. For more information, visit http://naxosusa.com.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free. For more information, visit www.wnet.org.
As part of its commitment to increase every American’s access to — and participation in — the arts, PBS kicks off the multiplatform PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL on Friday, October 18, 2013, hosted by award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith. Anchored by broadcasts every Friday night and a range of related online content, the Fall Festival features artists and performances from across the country, comprised of full-length performances, behind-the-scenes interviews, and artist and performer profiles. Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf.
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest rated public television services and a leader in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas. As other news organizations have shrunk, KQED has expanded its efforts to cover the issues and events that are important to the Bay Area. As the most trusted source of news in the Bay Area, KQED is a multiplatform operation with offices and bureaus in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles. KQED News programs include KQED NEWSROOM, current affairs specials produced in collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting, The California Report, Forum, 18 news broadcasts on KQED Public Radio daily and the popular blogs News Fix, State of Health, Mindshift and The Lowdown. For more information about news and television programming, visit www.kqed.org.
STANFORD LIVE is a university organization with a multi-faceted and inclusive approach to creating, presenting, nurturing, and celebrating the performing arts at Stanford. In part, Stanford Live is the new Stanford Lively Arts, building upon Lively Arts’ legacy of more than four decades of artistic presentation, artist residencies, faculty and student engagement, and commissions and premieres of new works. Stanford Live includes a wealth of collaborators and partners, including Stanford academic departments and individual faculty members, Stanford students, off-campus arts institutions, and community organizations. Crucially, Stanford Live supports the university’s focus on placing the arts at the heart of a Stanford education. Stanford Live’s home is Bing Concert Hall. Other performance venues across campus include Memorial Auditorium, Memorial Church, and Frost Amphitheater. For more information, visit www.live.stanford.edu.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA is one of the world’s leading producers for the lyric stage heralded for its roster of international opera stars, innovative and bold productions, and critically acclaimed resident orchestra and chorus. Founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola, the Company presents annual fall and summer seasons at the historic San Francisco War Memorial Opera House ranging from classic to world premiere repertoire, in addition to numerous concerts, recitals and free state-of-the-art community engagement events. Since 1955, the Company has been an industry leader in the training and launching of young professional singers by way of the Merola Opera Program and the San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellowship program. In 2008, San Francisco Opera created a new education division to expand upon the popular education and community partnership programs of the San Francisco Opera Guild. Together, these activities annually bring music education offerings to more than 65,000 students throughout Northern California, in addition to providing meaningful on-going education opportunities for all ages. The Company’s performances are further enjoyed throughout the nation and abroad via radio broadcasts, high-definition cinema screenings, and on Public Television. David Gockley became San Francisco Opera’s sixth general director in January 2006 and celebrated Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti became the Company’s music director in September 2009. Visit www.sfopera.com for more information.
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