San Francisco Opera Chorus Holds Concert on Friday, November 22

Release date: 11/4/2019    


The San Francisco Opera Chorus, led by Chorus Director Ian Robertson, performs with accompaniment from members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra at the Taube Atrium Theater

A second performance, held in collaboration with Noontime Concerts, is scheduled for December 3 at Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral

Tickets for the Nov. 22 concert available at and (415) 864-3330

Chorus Concert 2019.pdf  Photos Available

San Francisco Opera showcases the vocal might of the San Francisco Opera Chorus in concert on Friday, November 22, at 7:30 p.m.

Held in the intimate Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater, with its high-quality acoustic system from Meyer Sound, the Chorus Concert features the work of Chorus Director Ian Robertson, who celebrates 33 years with the Company in 2019. Also performing are members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, along with Associate Chorus Master Fabrizio Corona on the piano.

An annual event since 2016, the Chorus Concert features an array of music, from a cappella pieces to accompanied works from both operatic and choral repertories.

Reflecting on this year’s program, Chorus Director Robertson remarked, “The acclaimed San Francisco Opera Chorus will present some rarely heard opera choruses including excerpts from Rossini's William Tell [Guillaume Tell] and Moïse et Pharaon, alongside Puccini's Suor Angelica and Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada. Berlioz is represented by a fast and furious chorus from his Benvenuto Cellini. Women composers are well featured, as are traditional choral nuggets such as [Hubert] Parry's ‘Jerusalem,’ heard every year at the Last Night of the Proms in London.”

Those female composers include American music pioneer Amy Beach, German Romantic Clara Schumann and contemporary British musician Judith Weir.

Also featured in the concert program are Tchaikovsky’s “Chorus of the Peasant Girls” from Eugene Onegin, Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Erschallet, Ihr Lieder” from his Cantata 172 and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Morning Hymn” from The Sound of Music

Members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra will perform with the chorus for select pieces including Samuel Barber’s “Sure on This Shining Night,” Ola Gjeilo’s “The Rose” and Dan Forrest’s “Alway Something Sings.”

After the concert, light refreshments will be offered in the Diane B. Wilsey Center’s John M. Bryan Education Studio.

In addition to the November 22 Chorus Concert, the San Francisco Opera Chorus will also hold its second collaboration with Noontime Concerts, a nonprofit dedicated to offering free, live classical music to Bay Area residents. This collaboration will take place at 12:30 p.m. on December 3 at the historic Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Tickets are not required for the event, but donations at the door are appreciated. The Noontime Concert will include an abridged version of the Chorus Concert program.


Comprised of 43 regular choristers — 21 men and 22 women — the San Francisco Opera Chorus is a consistent presence on the War Memorial Opera House stage, delivering acclaimed performances in such recent mainstage productions as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd and Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. The San Francisco Chronicle has praised the chorus for its “knockout performances,” served up with “delicacy and verve.”

The San Francisco Opera Chorus has a history as long as the Company itself, stretching back to the 1920s. Back then, the San Francisco Opera Association even maintained its own chorus school, a “source of pride” to the Company where members could receive paid training under the supervision of Company founder Gaetano Merola.

With the addition of extra chorus members, the group can swell to 100 choristers or more to fulfill the needs of large-scale operas. A 1991 film, In the Shadow of the Stars, profiled the lives of San Francisco Opera chorus members, ultimately winning Best Documentary Feature at the 64th Academy Awards.


Chorus Director Ian Robertson joined San Francisco Opera in 1987 and has since prepared the Opera Chorus for over 300 productions. The Scotland native has also conducted several works for our stage, including Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Rigoletto, Turandot and Lohengrin.

During his time here, Robertson has received several awards, including a prize from the Olivier Messiaen Foundation for his work on the 2002 American premiere of Saint François d'Assise and the Company’s highest honor, the 2012 San Francisco Opera Medal, for his dedication and artistic vision. In 2019, Robertson stepped down as artistic director of the Grammy-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus, a role he had held since 1996.

Robertson is the 24th individual known to hold the title of chorus director or chorus master with San Francisco Opera. Previous chorus directors include the Company’s second general director, Kurt Herbert Adler, and Antonio Dell'Orefice, nephew of the Italian opera composer Giuseppe Dell'Orefice.

Robertson has held the longest tenure of any chorus director with the Company. He has spent 33 seasons in the chorus director title.


Tickets for the November 22 San Francisco Opera Chorus Concert are $35. Seating is general admission. Tickets may be purchased at, the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue or by phone at (415) 864-3330. Additional information, including full program details and a video clip of the Opera Chorus in concert, can be found at

*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.