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by Arrigo Boito
The season kicks off with Boito’s resplendent retelling of Goethe’s Faust, a monumental work of "choral grandeur and melodic richness" (The New York Times) in one of the most impressive productions ever seen at the War Memorial Opera House. The cast includes Ramón Vargas, a tenor "in ravishing voice" (Financial Times), as the philosopher who sells his soul to the Devil; the "luminous, compelling" Patricia Racette (Washington Post) as the woman he desires; and, in the vividly menacing title role, the "seductively malevolent" bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov, a "fullbodied bass-baritone" renowned for his "wonderfully evil portrayals" (The New York Times). Our own Italian maestro will be on the podium, showing once again why "we are blessed to have Nicola Luisotti in San Francisco" (San Francisco Classical Voice).
Production contains nudity and suggestive behavior.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
by Giuseppe Verdi
The ruler of the Huns fully intends to invade fifth-century Italy until a fierce female captive enchants him with her valiant defiance. In the popular imagination, Attila the Hun was a ruthless barbarian. But to Giuseppe Verdi, he was a far more complex and compelling figure: a brave, ambitious warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts. The intense, conflicted anti-hero comes vividly alive in this “vibrant and engrossing musical drama” (The New York Times).
Music Director Nicola Luisotti, a “superb Verdi conductor” (Sunday Times, London), leads a world-class cast featuring bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, whose "strong, dark, textured voice filled Verdi's lines with burnished sound and arching lyricism" (The New York Times), in the title role; exciting young Venezuelan soprano Lucrecia Garciaand “brilliant…magnificent” baritone Quinn Kelsey (San Francisco Chronicle). Legendary bass Samuel Ramey, whose “superb” performance (San Francisco Chronicle) in the title role of the Company's 2008 Boris Godunov won him critical praise, returns as Pope Leo I.
I Capuleti e i Montecchi
by Vincenzo Bellini
The tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet inspired some of Shakespeare's finest verse—and some of Bellini's most beautiful melodies. "An opera of definite dramatic appeal" (The New York Times) awash in "music of extraordinary grace" (All Music Guide), this bel canto masterpiece features international stars Joyce DiDonato, a singer of "glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace and remarkable talent," and Nicole Cabell, who "wields her radiant lyric soprano like a silken lasso" (The New York Times). Saimir Pirgu, praised by Opera News as "a tenor to watch," brings his "honeyed tenor" (The New York Times) to his debut role as Tebaldo. Costumes are by world-renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix; set designer Vincent Lemaire has created "dramatically powerful visual statements" (Opera Today) for the production; director Vincent Boussard "effectively underscores the claustrophobic, helpless situation of both lovers" (Opera News). Riccardo Frizza, praised by The New Yorker for his "crisp and idiomatic conducting," leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
One of opera's most vivid and compelling characters, a vengeful court jester, desperately tries to protect his daughter from disaster in this heart-wrenching tragedy. The first of two world-class casts led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti stars Željko Lučić, "whose vocal artistry is exceptional" (The New York Times); Aleksandra Kurzak, "a superstar in the making" (The Guardian, London); and, as the lecherous Duke, Francesco Demuro, "whose open, bright, superbly focused tone was reminiscent of Pavarotti" (Opera News).
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