Release date: 7/26/2013

San Francisco Opera returns for the 76th anniversary of The Stern Grove Festival, August 18 at 2 p.m.

Concert features soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello performing a celebration of Verdi, Wagner and Britten favorites

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (July 26, 2013) — San Francisco Opera returns to the beautiful outdoor setting of Sigmund Stern Grove on Sunday, August 18 at 2 p.m. for a concert celebrating the works of  acclaimed composers Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner and Benjamin Britten. The Stern Grove Festival, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco, is an annual admission-free concert. San Francisco Opera’s appearance at the Stern Grove Festival is one of the Company’s most popular community events, attracting thousands of Bay Area opera lovers. This season marks the 76th anniversary of the much loved summer music festival.
           
The husband-and-wife team of soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello join San Francisco Opera Orchestra in a program honoring the bicentennial births of Verdi and Wagner and the centennial birth of Britten. Ms. Pérez and Mr. Costello will be joined by San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellows and led by critically acclaimed conductor George Manahan.

Named by Opera News as “one of opera’s next wave” (August 2012), soprano Ailyn Pérez made her San Francisco Opera debut in title role of  La Traviata in 2009.  She is the 2012 winner of the Richard Tucker Award, where she made history as the first Hispanic to win the prestigious award. Her recent engagements include Mimì in La Bohème at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater and Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with the Vienna State Opera. In November she performed the role of Violetta in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House to high praise. Ms. Pérez will reprise the role of Violetta in La Traviata with San Francisco Opera in June 2014.

American tenor Stephen Costello made his San Francisco Opera debut as Greenhorn (Ishmael) in 2012, a role he created in the world premiere of Moby-Dick at the Dallas Opera in 2010. His recent engagements include Lord Percy in Anna Bolena at the Metropolitan Opera, which was transmitted to theaters worldwide, and Alfredo Germont in La Traviata with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Cincinnati Opera.  In June 2014 Mr. Costello will join Ailyn Pérez on stage in San Francisco Opera’s La Traviata as Alfredo Germont.

Renowned American conductor George Manahan will make his San Francisco Opera debut this fall in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne. Manahan is currently in his second season as music director of the American Composers Orchestra and served as music director of New York City Opera for fourteen seasons. He has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner.
                         
San Francisco Opera’s performance at Stern Grove is sponsored by the Patricia Yakutis Endowment Fund.
 
ADMISSION AND ACCESS TO STERN GROVE FESTIVAL
 
All Stern Grove Festival concerts begin at 2:00 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard.  All Stern Grove Festival events are ADMISSION-FREE; no tickets are required.
 
Stern Grove Festival is accessible by MUNI bus and metro lines and concert-goers are encouraged to use public transportation. Patrons can take lines K, L or S to West Portal Station, transfer to an M Ocean View Bus or K Ingleside Bus, and exit at the first stop at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. Patrons are advised to allow for extra travel time. Visit sterngrove.org for updates.
 
Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early for the best lawn seating and may bring picnics, low beach chairs, and ground covers. Tall chairs, beach umbrellas, and pets are prohibited in Stern Grove during concerts.  Blankets and groundcovers are restricted in size to 8x10 feet due to space limitations. Unoccupied blankets are subject to removal. Designated benches are reserved for seniors over the age of 65 and disabled persons with one guest until 30 minutes prior to concert time.  To ensure the safety and comfort of patrons at each performance, the concert meadow will be closed to further entry if capacity is reached.  Patrons are not guaranteed seating in the meadow.
 
Free shuttle service within the Grove is provided to seniors and disabled patrons and a drop-off area is located at the entrance to the park at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. A limited number of handicapped parking spaces are available at the 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard entrance to the park.
 
Picnics are welcome and food and drinks are available from the Grove Café. Festival merchandise and artist CDs are for sale at the Festival Shop. Sigmund Stern Grove is a 33-acre recreation area with meadows, picnic facilities, hiking trails, and a lake. The audience is advised to come prepared for both sun and fog.        
 
For additional information visit the Stern Grove Festival website at sterngrove.org or call
(415) 252-6252.
 
About the Artists
 
Hispanic-American soprano AILYN PÉREZ made her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of 2009’s La Traviata. Winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, her engagements this past season include Mimì (La Bohème) at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater and Florida Grand Opera, Countess Almaviva and Violetta Valéry at the Hamburg State Opera, and Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore) with the Vienna State Opera. Other career highlights include Violetta at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and in Hamburg; Amelia (Simon Boccanegra) at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Berlin State Opera, and Zurich Opera; Mimì with Los Angeles Opera and in Zurich; Suzel (L’Amico Fritz) in Moscow; Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Countess Almaviva at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival; Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with the Dallas Opera; the title role of Manon in Valencia; Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) in Philadelphia; Marguerite (Faust) with San Diego Opera; Leïla (Les Pêcheurs de Perles) in Santiago, Chile; and the Four Heroine’s (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. She is a recipient of the George London Foundation’s Leonie Rysanek Award, a 2007 winner of a Shoshana Foundation Career Grant, placed second in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, and was previously lauded by the Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Opera Index, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.

A native of Philadelphia, STEPHEN COSTELLO made his San Francisco Opera debut as Greenhorn in 2012’s Moby-Dick, a role he created at the Dallas Opera in 2010. His recent engagements include Lord Percy (Anna Bolena) at the Metropolitan Opera, which was transmitted to theaters worldwide; Alfredo Germont (La Traviata) with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Cincinnati Opera; Rodolfo (La Bohème) with Los Angeles Opera; Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore) at the Vienna State Opera; Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) at Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza; and Fritz (L’Amico Fritz) with the Moscow Philharmonic. The tenor’s career highlights include Rodolfo with the Vienna State Opera, Lord Percy with the Dallas Opera, Roméo (Roméo et Juliette) at Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Salzburg Festival, the Italian Singer (Der Rosenkavalier) and the title role of Gounod’s Faust with the San Diego Opera, and Carlo (Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix) at Covent Garden. Costello’s performances of Cassio (Otello) at the Salzburg Festival were released on DVD in 2010 (Major/Naxos), and his Covent Garden debut in Linda di Chamounix was released on CD in March 2011 (Opera Rara). Recent and upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in Berlin, Tonio (La Fille du Régiment) in San Diego, Nemorino in Vienna, and Edgardo in Toronto.

Having recently completed his second season as music director of the American Composers Orchestra, George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO this season, Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as director of Orchestral Studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He served as music director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons. He makes his San Francisco Opera debut with this production. Manahan’s guest appearances include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Hollywood Bowl, and New Jersey, where he served as acting music director for four seasons. He is a regular guest with the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival, and has also appeared with the Opera Companies of Seattle, Chicago, Santa Fe, Portland, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, the Bergen Festival (Norway), the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), and Minnesota Opera, where he was principal conductor. Manahan’s wide-ranging recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim (ECM); recordings of Edward Thomas’s Desire Under the Elms, which was nominated for a Grammy; Joe Jackson’s Will Power; and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His enthusiasm for contemporary music continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner.
 
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For further press information, please visit www.sfopera.com/press or contact Gelane Pearson at
(415) 565-6470 / gpearson@sfopera.com.