Release date: 7/31/2014

San Francisco Opera Celebrates 92nd Season Opening with
Bellini's Norma Starring Sondra Radvanovsky
September 5, War Memorial Opera House

Opening Weekend Continues with Company Premiere of
Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, September 6

Annual Free Opera in the Park Concert
September 7, Golden Gate Park

 

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 92nd Season on Friday, September 5, 2014 with a gala performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti and featuring an illustrious cast led by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role.  The opening night festivities are highlighted by Opera Ball 2014: Passione, a benefit supporting the education programs of San Francisco Opera Guild and San Francisco Opera Education Department, and BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala.  Saturday, September 6 marks the long-awaited Company premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s quintessentially American opera, Susannah, starring Patricia Racette. Concluding the opening weekend of the 2014–15 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 7.
 
Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma / September 5–30
The Fall 2014 Season opens with a dramatic new production of Vincenzo Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma, starring American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in one of opera’s most dazzling and demanding roles. Of her recent performance as Norma at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Times wrote, “[Radvanovsky] earned a thunderous ovation. . .her top notes ringing and powerful, her middle range velvety, her coloratura nimble and phrasing elegant.” Featuring “Casta Diva,” one of the most popular arias in the operatic repertoire, Norma tells the story of a Druid high priestess who betrays her people by falling in love with an occupying Roman soldier, only to be betrayed herself; her conflicted state of mind threatens the lives of the innocent and guilty alike. American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas is the young priestess Adalgisa; Italian tenor Marco Berti is Pollione, the Roman who secretly fathers Norma’s children; and American bass-baritone Christian Van Horn is Oroveso, chief of the Druids and Norma’s father. Director Kevin Newbury and set designer David Korins return to San Francisco Opera for the premiere of this vivid, large-scale new co-production with Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and Lyric Opera of Chicago. 
 
Opera Ball 2014: Passione / Friday, September 5
San Francisco Opera celebrates the gala opening of the new season with Opera Ball 2014: Passione, presented in collaboration with San Francisco Opera Guild. San Francisco’s historic City Hall, transformed into a resplendent Roman imperial palace by acclaimed event designer Riccardo Benavides, serves as the dramatic setting for the evening. Opera Ball 2014: Passione will begin at 5 p.m. as guests are escorted down the red carpet by Roman legionnaires into San Francisco City Hall for an elegant cocktail reception. Guests will then adjourn to Julius Caesar's stately palace for a lavish banquet orchestrated by McCalls Catering & Events. At 8 p.m., the curtain will rise at the War Memorial Opera House for the opening night performance of Norma, starring soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, in the role made famous by Maria Callas. Following the dramatic conclusion of Bellini’s opera, patrons will return to City Hall to continue the night of decadence with cocktails, desserts and dancing.
 
A perennial 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. 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 2014 is co-chaired by Teresa Medearis and Cynthia Schreuder; Karen Kubin is president of San Francisco Opera Guild. Tickets for Opera Ball 2014 are nearly sold out; More tickets have been sold at the Grand Benefactor level than in any previous year.
 
Opera Ball 2014 culminates San Francisco Opera Guild’s year-long 75th anniversary celebrations commemorating the success of its past, its vision for the future, and its rich tradition of enthralling and nurturing students throughout the Bay Area.  Founded in January 1939, San Francisco Opera Guild has supported San Francisco Opera for 75 years through its fundraising efforts and by creating award-winning education programs that extend the impact of opera.
 
BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala / Friday, September 5
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera's group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 23rd annual opening night gala on Friday, September 5, co-chaired by S.B. Hadley Wilson and Benjamin Osgood. BRAVO! CLUB begins the evening at 6:30 p.m. with a champagne promenade reception on the Outdoor Loggia of the War Memorial Opera House followed by the opening night performance of Bellini’s Norma. The post-performance festivities will continue with dessert, hors d’oeuvres and dancing at Jardinière Restaurant.
 
Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah / September 6–21
 
Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 opera Susannah receives its eagerly awaited Company premiere with soprano Patricia Racette in the title role. One of the most performed of all American operas, Susannah was the first score and libretto written by the prolific composer and features iconic music that evokes the work’s rural Appalachian setting. Racette returns to San Francisco Opera in her role debut as the innocent, strong-willed and falsely accused young woman Susannah Polk. The all-American cast also includes bass Raymond Aceto as Reverend Olin Blitch, the itinerant preacher who targets Susannah as a sinner, and tenor Brandon Jovanovich as her hot-headed brother Sam Polk. This new production will be created by director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom, who most recently brought their critically acclaimed Nixon in China production to San Francisco in 2012. Conductor Karen Kamensek, music director of Hannover State Opera, will make her Company debut. 
 
San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park / Sunday, September 7
San Francisco Opera’s 2014–15 Season-opening weekend concludes with San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park, a free concert in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow on Sunday, September 7 at 1:30 p.m.  A beloved San Francisco tradition, this year’s concert celebrates San Francisco Opera’s 92nd Season and features stars from the Company’s Fall Season performing favorite arias, accompanied by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti.  David Gockley, General Director of San Francisco Opera, will serve as master of ceremonies.  Bring a picnic and enjoy this outdoor event; food and beverages will also be for sale at the event.
 
Tickets for the performance of Bellini’s Norma and Floyd's Susannah (not including Opera Ball 2014 gala) are priced from $30 to $370 (subject to change) 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 7 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

Tickets for Opera Ball 2014: Passione, which do not include performance tickets, are priced at $1,500; $2,500; and $5,000. Tickets are nearly sold out. For tickets and information, visit sfopera.com/operaBall2014 or call (415) 565-3204.

Tickets for BRAVO! CLUB’S Opening Night Gala, which include performance tickets, are priced from $250 to $425; tickets for only the performance and the after party are priced at $195. For tickets and information, visit sfopera.com/bravo. A BRAVO! CLUB membership fee of $60 is required to attend the Opening Night Gala.