Release date: 8/27/2013

San Francisco Opera Celebrates 91st Season Opening with Boito's Mefistofele Conducted by Nicola Luisotti September 6, War Memorial Opera House

Opening Night Festivities Highlighted by Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil and Bravo! Club Opening Night Gala

Opening Weekend Concludes with Annual Free Opera in the Park Concert

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 91st Season on Friday, September 6, 2013 with a gala performance of Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti and featuring an illustrious cast, led by Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role of Mefistofele, American soprano Patricia Racette as both Margherita and Elena and Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas as Faust. The opening night festivities are highlighted by Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil, created by celebrity event designer Colin Cowie, and BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala. Concluding the opening weekend of the 2013–14 Season is one of the Bay Area’s most popular musical events––San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park, San Francisco Opera’s annual free concert in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, September 8.
 
Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele / September 6–October 2
San Francisco Opera’s 2013–14 season opens September 6, 2013 with Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele (Mephistopheles), in one of the most impressive productions ever seen at the War Memorial Opera House. The title role of Mefistofele is sung by Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in his stage role debut, soprano Patricia Racette appears as both Margherita and Elena, and Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas makes his fully-staged role debut as Faust, the philosopher who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for perpetual youth. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this monumental work of “choral grandeur and melodic richness” (The New York Times). Robert Carsen’s impressive San Francisco Opera production––now co-owned with the Metropolitan Opera––featuring designs by Michael Levine, is directed by Laurie Feldman.
 
Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil / Friday, September 6
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 91st Season on September 6, 2013 with a gala opening night like none other. San Francisco Opera Guild’s sold-out 2013 Opera Ball: The Garden of Good and Evil will be created by celebrity event designer Colin Cowie to reflect the celestial and devilish themes of the evening’s performance––late 19th-century Italian composer Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele.  Always a highlight of the City’s cultural and philanthropic season, Opera Ball is an extraordinary event that brings together local and national corporate, political, civic and philanthropic leaders. The proceeds from this celebrated signature fundraising event support San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s award-winning education and community programs throughout the Bay Area. Opera Ball 2013 is co-chaired by Ann Girard and Mai Shiver; Karen Kubin is president of San Francisco Opera Guild.
 
Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil begins with a heavenly pre-performance cocktail reception in the North Light Court of San Francisco’s historic City Hall at 5 p.m., created to mirror the spectacular production of Mefistofele. An indulgent dinner created by acclaimed chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCalls Catering and Events follows at 6 p.m. in City Hall, and at 8 p.m. the curtain rises on the gala opening night performance of Mefistofele at the War Memorial Opera House.  Returning to City Hall following the performance, guests will enjoy decadent cocktails, desserts and dancing in an atmosphere dramatically transformed into an exotic sanctuary full of diabolical surprises. San Francisco Opera’s opening night festivities will take place at City Hall this year due to the closure of the War Memorial Veterans Building and War Memorial Campus for seismic retrofit and renovations.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala / Friday, September 6
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera's group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 22nd annual opening night gala on Friday, September 6, co-chaired by Sia Charonis and Lauren Groff. BRAVO! CLUB begins the evening at 7 p.m. with a champagne promenade reception on the Outdoor Loggia at the War Memorial Opera House followed by the opening night performance of Boito’s Mefistofele. The post-performance festivities continue with dessert, hors d’oeuvres and dancing into the night at Jardinière Restaurant.
 
San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park / Sunday, September 8
A beloved San Francisco tradition, the annual San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park concert will take place on Sunday, September 8 at 1:30 p.m. The celebratory free event features artists from the Company’s Fall 2013 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.
 
Tickets for the performance of Boito’s Mefistofeles (not including Opera Ball 2013 gala) are priced from $23 to $385 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 8 San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park concert is free and open to the public; no tickets required. Visit sfopera.com/park for more information.
Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil is sold-out. For more information, visit sfopera.com/OperaBall2013 or call (415) 565-3204.
Tickets for BRAVO! CLUB’S Opening Night Gala, which include performance tickets, are priced from $250 to $425 and may be purchased at sfopera.com/bravo. A BRAVO! CLUB membership fee of $60 is required to attend the Opening Night Gala.