Release date: 8/13/2014

San Francisco Opera Returns To KQED Public Television With Four Spectacular Operas In High-Definition
 
Hosted by Frederica von Stade;
Airing Thursdays primetime on KQED 9 starting September 4;
Fifth season includes Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Boito's Mefistofele, Verdi's Attila and Rigoletto

 
Special airing of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess October 17 nationwide as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (August 13, 2014)— San Francisco Opera and KQED 9 partner once again bring the glory of grand opera to the living rooms of the Bay Area. Recorded in impressive high-definition and in 5.1 surround sound at the War Memorial Opera House, the television specials showcase the imaginative stagings and all-star casts from San Francisco Opera’s recent productions of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet accompanied by some of Bellini's most beautiful melodies; Verdi’s Attila, a complex look at a legendary warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts; Mefistofele, Boito’s resplendent retelling of Goethe’s Faust; and Verdi’s Rigoletto about a vengeful court jester desperately trying to protect his daughter from disaster.
 
Hosted by celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, the operas will premiere Thursdays, September 4 through October 2, on KQED 9.
 
In addition, San Francisco Opera’s Porgy and Bess, which was first aired locally on KQED as part of the fourth season of the series, will be broadcast nationwide as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival on October 17.
 
Each opera is presented in its original language with English subtitles and features the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
 
“We are proud to partner with San Francisco Opera to showcase these world class performances on KQED and make it possible for more people to enjoy the best in performing arts,” said Michael Isip, KQED Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer. “The arts are a key focus for KQED and we are committed to providing our community with opportunities to discover, explore and experience the abundance and diversity of the Bay Area’s arts scene on television, radio and online.”
 
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley commented, “KQED Public Television is recognized as one of the nation’s leading presenters of arts programming, and I’m very pleased that San Francisco Opera will return this fall for its fifth season, particularly with such an extraordinary repertoire and roster of singing stars.  Our media initiatives continue to be of paramount importance as we continually look for opportunities to ‘blow open the walls’ of the War Memorial Opera House and let audiences engage with opera in places and ways that work best for them. There’s no question that our association with KQED is the right way to go, and I anticipate the public will be the true beneficiary of our efforts.”
 
San Francisco Opera Grand Opera Cinema Series’ fifth season features:
                                                                       
I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) – Vincenzo Bellini
Thursday, September 4 at 8pm on KQED 9      
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 star-crossed lovers. Directed by Vincent Boussard in his U.S. debut and led by returning conductor Riccardo Frizza, this new co-production with Munich’s Bavarian State Opera features costumes by renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix and sets by Vincent Lemaire.
 
Attila – Giuseppe Verdi
Thursday, September 11 at 8pm on KQED 9
In popular culture, Attila the Hun was a ruthless barbarian, but to Verdi, he was a far more complex and compelling figure: a brave, ambitious warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts. This new San Francisco Opera/Teatro alla Scala co-production features a distinguished cast, including legendary Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.
 
Mefistofele (Mephistopheles) – Arrigo Boito
Thursday, September 25 at 9pm on KQED 9
This monumental work of “choral grandeur and melodic richness” (The New York Times), a reimagining of Goethe’s Faust, is 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 staged role debut. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in Robert Carsen’s impressive San Francisco Opera production.
 
Rigoletto – Giuseppe Verdi
Thursday, October 2 at 8pm on KQED 9
Verdi’s Rigoletto brings to life the vivid and compelling story of a vengeful court jester desperately attempting to protect his daughter from disaster. The world-class cast, led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti, features Serbian baritone Željko Lučić in the title role and the San Francisco Opera debut of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda. Acclaimed director Harry Silverstein returns to direct this San Francisco Opera production with sets designed by Michael Yeargan.
 
The Gershwins® Porgy and BessSM – George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
Friday, October 17, at 9pm on KQED 9

Gershwin miraculously melded classical music, popular song, jazz, blues and spirituals in this quintessentially American masterpiece. Featuring such classics as “Summertime,” Porgy and Bess tells the poignant story of a crippled beggar, the headstrong woman he loves and the community that sustains them both. Director Francesca Zambello's critically-acclaimed production stars bass-baritone Eric Owens as Porgy and soprano Laquita Mitchell as Bess. Featured as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival.
 
 
ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
 
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 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 has been San Francisco Opera’s sixth general director since January 2006, and celebrated Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti has been the Company’s music director since September 2009. Visit sfopera.com for more information.
 
 
 
ABOUT KQED

KQED Public Television, the PBS affiliate that serves Northern California, is one of the country’s most popular public television stations. It brings the values of public media to homes around the Bay Area with Emmy Award–winning programming that inspires, informs and entertains, including Downton Abbey and Sherlock from MASTERPIECE, American Experience, American Masters, Great Performances, POV, Independent Lens, NOVA and Nature. KQED produces local series like Check, Please! Bay Area, KQED NEWSROOM, San Francisco Opera, Truly CA and ImageMakers, as well as popular programs for national broadcast such as Film School Shorts, Essential Pépin and QUEST. KQED also distributes programming to public media stations across the country including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Roadtrip Nation and Joanne Weir’s Cooking School. For more information, please visit kqed.org/tv.
 
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For further press information or to obtain related photographs, please visit sfopera.com/press or contact San Francisco Opera Communications:
Jon Finck (415) 565-6472 / jfinck@sfopera.com
Julia Inouye (415) 565-6430 / jinouye@sfopera.com
Robin Freeman (415) 565-6451 / rfreeman@sfopera.com 
Gelane Pearson (415) 565-6470 / gpearson@sfopera.com