Release date: 9/13/2012

San Francisco Opera Presents Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi Starring Joyce DiDonato and Nicole Cabell September 29-October 19, War Memorial Opera House

Conducted by Riccardo Frizza and Directed by Vincent Boussard

New Production Designed by Vincent Lemaire with Costumes by Christian Lacroix

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera presents Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) at the War Memorial Opera House in a new co-production with Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. Opening on September 29 with five subsequent performances through October 19, this bel canto gem features Joyce DiDonato and Nicole Cabell as the helpless lovers Romeo and Giulietta. Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu makes his Company and role debut as Tebaldo, baritone Ao Li is Lorenzo and bass-baritone Eric Owens is Capellio. Directed by Vincent Boussard and led by returning conductor Riccardo Frizza, this production features costumes by renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix and sets by Vincent Lemaire.
Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece I Capuleti e i Montecchi, inspired by the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet, is what The New York Times calls “an opera of definite dramatic appeal.” The cast is headlined by international stars Joyce DiDonato and Nicole Cabell as the ill-fated lovers Romeo and Giulietta. DiDonato, who wowed San Francisco audiences in her 2007 role debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and in a 2009 recital for San Francisco Performances, returns as Romeo, a role she has previously performed at Paris Opera and will reprise later this season in Munich. Recent career highlights for the Merola Opera Program alumna include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos and Sycorax in The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera; the title role of La Cenerentola and Rosina at Milan’s La Scala; and Idamanate in Idomeneo, Cenerentola, Dejanira in Hercules, the title role of Ariodante, and Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict with Paris Opera. DiDonato’s extensive discography includes complete recordings of Alcina, La Cenerentola, Radamisto, Benvenuto Cellini, and three solo albums, including her 2012 Grammy Award-winning release, Diva Divo, which includes the aria “Ascolta! Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio...La tremenda ultrice spada” from I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World–winner Nicole Cabell makes her role debut as Giulietta in this production. The American soprano, who also makes her San Francisco Opera debut in these performances, has recently appeared as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Montreal Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni in Tokyo and Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de Perles at the Santa Fe Opera. Other recent career highlights include Micaëla in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Leïla with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Donna Elvira with Oper Köln and Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Musetta in La Bohème at the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Covent Garden, Washington National Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and in Buenos Aires.
Albanian tenor and winner of both the 2002 Enrico Caruso and Tito Schipa Competitions, Saimir Pirgu makes his Company and role debut as Tebaldo. Other career highlights include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at Milan’s La Scala; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore at Hamburg State Opera; the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto and Alfredo Germont in La Traviata in Zurich; Ferrando in Così fan tutte at Los Angeles Opera; and Edgardo with Washington National Opera.
Fresh from his critically acclaimed portrayal of Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Eric Owens returns to San Francisco Opera as Capellio. The American Bass-baritone has previously performed at San Francisco Opera as Porgy in Porgy and Bess, General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, the King of Scotland in Ariodante, Ramfis in Aida, Lodovico in Otello and Don Fernando in Fidelio. Chinese baritone Ao Li is a second-year Adler Fellow and makes his role debut as Lorenzo in this production. He has previously performed with San Francisco Opera as Ascanio Petrucci in Lucrezia Borgia and as Le Dancaïre in Carmen for Families.
Directed by Vincent Boussard in his U.S. debut and led by returning conductor and bel canto specialist Riccardo Frizza, this new co-production, which received its debut in Munich in March 2011, has sets created by French opera, theater and dance designer Vincent Lemaire. The production features stunning costumes by renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix, a frequent collaborator with Boussard and a prominent fashion icon known for both his couture house and his theater, ballet and opera costumes.   
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the six performances of I Capuleti e i Montecchi are scheduled for September 29 (8 p.m.), October 3 (7:30 p.m.), October 11 (7:30 p.m.), October 14 (2 p.m.), October 16 (8 p.m.), and October 19 (8 p.m.), 2012.
San Francisco Opera Guild will present an Insight Panel Discussion featuring members of the cast and production team from I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The discussion will take place on Monday, September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Green Room at the War Memorial Veterans Building (401 Van Ness Avenue). Insight panels are free for Opera members and $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion.