Release date: 4/30/2018
Shannon Cronan and Kathy Huber Co-Chair Benefit Gala Opening San Francisco Opera's 96th Season
Opera Ball Festivities Inspired by Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci Production Set in Buenos Aires' La Boca District
Opera Ball 2018.pdf Photos Available
Details were announced today for Opera Ball 2018: ¡Viva La Noche!, San Francisco Opera Guild’s signature gala benefit inaugurating San Francisco Opera’s 96th season on Friday, September 7. Presented in conjunction with the season-opening double bill of one-act operas, Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (or Cav/Pag), Opera Ball 2018 is co-chaired by Shannon Cronan and Kathy Huber and features event design by J. Riccardo Benavides and a sumptuous dinner by McCalls Catering & Events. Last presented by San Francisco Opera 15 years ago, Cav/Pag returns next season in a staging by Argentine tenor, conductor and director José Cura that sets both Italian classics in La Boca, the Buenos Aires neighborhood known for its colorful architecture and live tango performances. Honorary Chairs for Opera Ball 2018 are John A. & Cynthia Fry Gunn and Diane B. Wilsey. The official wine sponsor is Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery.
San Francisco Opera Guild President Jane Mudge said: “Each year the bar for Opera Ball is set higher than the year before which is why I couldn’t be happier to have Kathy and Shannon co-chairing Opera Ball 2018. Through their extensive work organizing brilliantly successful events, each has demonstrated the aesthetic eye, business acumen, management skill, grace under pressure and overall leadership that are needed for Opera Ball. What could be better than Kathy and Shannon working with genius designer J. Riccardo Benavides and the premier society caterer in town, McCalls? This will be a night to remember.”
Co-chairs Cronan and Huber remarked: “We are honored to take the lead on this year’s Opera Ball and what a great theme we have! With opera’s greatest double-bill on the stage and set in La Boca, you can expect this night to be filled with unforgettable culinary delights, passionate tango rhythms, glamour and no shortage of festive cheer. We look forward to welcoming all our guests to this celebration and toasting a fabulous new season of opera in San Francisco.”
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery, one of California’s premier producers of luxury wines, is the official wine sponsor for Opera Ball 2018. Located on a 1,300-acre estate in the Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery will be serving its 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This is the first collaboration for Chalk Hill, the iconic wine estate of Sonoma County, with San Francisco Opera Guild.
On the evening of September 7, Opera Ball attendees will promenade along the red carpet to the War Memorial Opera House foyer for a 5 p.m. cocktail reception. Dinner will be served in a tented pavilion outside the carriage entrance of the Opera House at 6 p.m. Benavides, known for creating immersive, experiential events, will channel the refined, Italianate style of Buenos Aires to the War Memorial campus and, within the pavilion, set a tone of excitement and elegance. Following dinner, more than 700 Opera Ball guests will return to the Opera House for an 8 p.m. gala performance of Cav/Pag. After the opera, attendees will process to the pavilion for cocktails, savories, sweets and dancing to the high-energy sounds and theatrics of Pop Rocks.
One of the premier philanthropic evenings on the West Coast, Opera Ball brings together local and national corporate, political, civic and charitable leaders all committed to the cause of music education and the transformative experiences San Francisco Opera presents on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. The mission and distinguished tradition of Opera Ball in San Francisco have long attracted important collaborators and partnerships to the annual event, which benefits the community initiatives and education programs of the Opera Guild and San Francisco Opera Association reaching a combined 60,000 students in Northern California every year.
The double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, last presented in 2003, returns to San Francisco Opera to launch the 2018–19 Season. Cavalleria Rusticana features Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as Santuzza, Italian tenor Roberto Aronica as Turiddu and Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias in his Company debut as Alfio. Pagliacci stars Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian as Nedda, Italian tenor Marco Berti as Canio, Platanias as Tonio and American baritone David Pershall as Silvio. Italian conductor Daniele Callegari leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus for the first time in the United States premiere of José Cura’s production, staged in revival by fellow Argentine stage director Jose Maria Condemi.
*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.