Director Puts Her Stamp on New SF Opera Lab
Beginning in early March, audiences will discover what Elkhanah Pulitzer, the first Director of Programming for the SF Opera Lab, has in store for the new 299-seat Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater. According to Pulitzer, intimate experiences—all offered under the moniker SF Opera Lab—will provide San Francisco Opera with a unique opportunity to think creatively and develop new methods and ideas to infuse the art form in a less formal setting.
“I am thinking of it more in terms of the Opera’s R&D branch, a testing ground and incubator for new ideas and working methods across the entire Company, with an active flow of creative energy back and forth between the Wilsey Center and the Opera House,” she says.
Pulitzer is involved in every facet of curating this new space, from helping cultivate new talent to reaching out to younger audiences with more intimate work. “Every week is full of surprises,” she states, “and I’ve learned to do things that I certainly didn’t anticipate.”
Born in Boston and raised in St. Louis, Pulitzer was an assistant director at San Francisco Opera from 2008 to 2013 and maintains a freelance directing career, most recently a critically acclaimed Lulu by Alban Berg in a new chamber reduction for Berkeley- based West Edge Opera. Pulitzer, who is a descendant of journalism pioneer Joseph Pulitzer, is also board vice president of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, which supports experimentation in art installations and live programming.
SF Opera Lab launches with Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise featuring German baritone Matthias Goerne in a theatrical production designed by South African artist William Kentridge. Other highlights of the inaugural season include Svadba–Wedding, an a cappella opera for six female voices written by Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolović, followed in April with screenings of the 2003 animated French film The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert featuring a live chanteuse and musicians.
“SF Opera Lab is not your parent’s opera, but also not opera light,” she says. “It is a litmus test for what opera can be and can become.”