Updated Casting for San Francisco Opera's 2018–19 Season

Release date: 7/30/2018    


 Eight Productions Presented at the War Memorial Opera House for the First Time, Including a New San Francisco Opera Staging of Puccini's Tosca and the West Coast Premiere of Jake Heggie's It's a Wonderful Life

Season Also Features Plácido Domingo in Concert, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, Strauss' Arabella, Bizet's Carmen, Handel's Orlando and Dvořák’s Rusalka

2018-19 Season_updated.pdf Photos Available

San Francisco Opera announces updated casting for its 96th Season, which opens Friday, September 7, with the double bill of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and two galas, Opera Ball 2018: ¡Viva La Noche! and the BRAVO! CLUB Opening Night Gala. The 2018–19 Season features eight productions that are new to the War Memorial Opera House stage, including a new staging of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca and the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Highlights also include Plácido Domingo in Concert on October 21 and a roster of returning artists, debuting soloists and conductors.

The double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, or Cav/Pag, (September 7–30), last seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage 15 years ago, returns in famed Argentine tenor José Cura’s staging that sets the action for both operas in Buenos Aires’ La Boca district, known for its tango performances and colorful houses. Each of the Italian works features an international cast with mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, tenor Roberto Aronica and baritone Dimitri Platanias starring in Cavalleria Rusticana and soprano Lianna Haroutounian, tenor Marco Berti, baritone David Pershall and Platanias in Pagliacci. The double bill will be conducted by Italian maestro Daniele Callegari in his San Francisco Opera debut and Cura’s production will be directed by fellow Argentine Jose Maria Condemi.

Gaetano Donizetti’s lyric drama of Tudor-era England, Roberto Devereux (September 8–27), opens on the second night of the new season with a cast led by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Elisabetta (Elizabeth, Queen of England), mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Sara (Duchess of Nottingham) and tenor Russell Thomas in his first portrayal of the title role, Roberto (Robert, Earl of Essex). Opening weekend concludes September 9 with Opera in the Park, the popular annual event presented by the San Francisco Chronicle featuring the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and vocal soloists and guest conductors from the new season in a free concert at Robin Williams Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Cast and program details for Opera in the Park will be announced in August.

On October 3, San Francisco Opera will unveil a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca (October 3–30) by director Shawna Lucey and production designer Robert Innes Hopkins. The composer’s melodrama about love and corruption stars Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio in her Company and role debuts as Tosca with tenor Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and baritone Scott Hendricks as Baron Scarpia. In his first engagement with the Company, British conductor Leo Hussain leads the San Francisco Opera and Chorus. Puccini’s masterwork has been central to San Francisco Opera’s history as it was featured during the Company’s first season in 1923 at the Civic Auditorium, the opera inaugurated the War Memorial Opera House on October 15, 1932 and it was chosen to reopen the opera house in 1997 following a closure for seismic retrofitting.

Legendary artist Plácido Domingo returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage on Sunday, October 21 for a special concert that also features Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz and Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Tickets for this one-night-only event are sold out.

Richard Strauss’ romantic Arabella (October 16–November 3) returns to the repertory led by acclaimed German conductor Marc Albrecht in his premiere American operatic engagement. Soprano Ellie Dehn and baritone Brian Mulligan take on the roles of Arabella and Mandryka for the first time in a cast that also features soprano Heidi Stober, tenor Daniel Johansson in his Company debut and soprano Hye Jung Lee.

The 2018 Fall Season concludes with the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life (November 17–December 9). Based, in part, on Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 film and the story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, this new work by the Bay Area composer of Dead Man Walking and Moby-Dick and set to a libretto by Gene Scheer will be staged during the holiday season in nine performances. The cast features tenor William Burden, soprano Golda Schultz, soprano Andriana Chuchman, tenor Keith Jameson, baritone Joshua Hopkins and baritone Rod Gilfry. Houston Grand Opera Music Director Patrick Summers conducts and the production, which premiered in Houston in 2016, is directed by Leonard Foglia.

The 2019 Summer Season opens with Georges Bizet’s Carmen (June 5–29) in a production by internationally-renowned opera director Francesca Zambello and starring mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, tenor Matthew Polenzani, soprano Anita Hartig, bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen and led by American conductor James Gaffigan in his San Francisco Opera mainstage opera conducting debut. Handel’s psychologically complex Orlando (June 9–27) returns to San Francisco Opera for the first time since 1985 in a bold new production by Harry Fehr that sets the action in London during The Blitz of World War II. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke portrays the title role in a cast that includes countertenor David Daniels, soprano Heidi Stober, soprano Christina Gansch, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn and is conducted by English maestro Christopher Moulds in his San Francisco Opera debut. Rounding out the trio of summer 2019 presentations is Rusalka (June 16–28), Antonín Dvořák’s enchanting fairytale about a water nymph who trades her voice for love. Rising South Korean conductor Eun Sun Kim makes her Company debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra with a cast featuring soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen, tenor Brandon Jovanovich, bass Ferruccio Furlanetto and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in director David McVicar’s production.

*For the complete press release, including full cast and calendar, please view the attached PDF.