Die Meistersinger Cast Change Announced

Release date: 10/26/2015

San Francisco Opera Announces Cast Update for Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Opening November 18:

James Rutherford to Replace Greer Grimsley in the Role of Hans Sachs

Meistersinger cast change.pdf   Photos Available

San Francisco Opera today announced a cast change for Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, opening November 18. British baritone James Rutherford will sing the central role of Hans Sachs, replacing Greer Grimsley who has withdrawn from the production. The David McVicar production, a co-presentation of San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, is conducted by Sir Mark Elder and runs for six performances November 18–December 6, 2015 at the War Memorial Opera House.

“It is with great regret that I announce Greer Grimsley, our Hans Sachs, will be unable to participate in our production of Die Meistersinger,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “Ongoing health issues have not cleared up and have prevented him from fully participating in our musical and staging rehearsals for what was meant to be his debut in this epic role. While I am sorry to lose this great colleague to our production, I am very pleased to announce the return to San Francisco Opera of extraordinary British singer James Rutherford, a highly acclaimed interpreter of the leading Wagnerian roles, especially Hans Sachs.”

James Rutherford made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2007 performing the role of Wolfram von Eschenbach in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Since winning the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner Competition in 2006, Rutherford has become renowned for his interpretations of German romantic opera. He has sung Hans Sachs for the Bayreuth Festival in 2010 and 2011, Vienna State Opera, Hamburg Opera, Cologne Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival, and in the David McVicar production at the Glyndebourne Festival; Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) for Washington National Opera; and the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. In 2009 he began a major association with the Graz Opera, singing his first Hans Sachs and returning for roles including Iago (Otello), Orest (Elektra), and the title role of Falstaff. He has performed Jochanaan (Salome) at the Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Opéra National de Montpellier. Other appearances include the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Paris Opéra; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Welsh National Opera; and English National Opera. Recent concert appearances include Adams' Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival), conducted by the composer; Wotan in Act 3 of Die Walküre (Philharmonia Orchestra) for Wagner's 200th birthday; and an invitation by Prince Charles to sing Hans Sachs at his 65th birthday Wagner gala at Buckingham Palace. Last season, Rutherford sang the title role of Guillaume Tell and Scarpia (Tosca) in Graz, Orest in Hamburg, and Lysiart (Euryanthe) in Frankfurt. He recently performed Orest with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Upcoming performances include his first Wotan in Frankfurt Opera’s Ring cycle. His CD of Wagner arias with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic was released on the BIS label. 

San Francisco Opera’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

For the first time since 2001, San Francisco Opera presents Richard Wagner’s monumental work, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, in a new David McVicar co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The production features an illustrious team of Wagner interpreters led by James Rutherford as Hans Sachs, tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Walther von Stolzing, soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen in her Company debut as Eva and Sasha Cooke as Magdalene, with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sir Mark Elder in his Company debut. McVicar’s “remarkable” (The Guardian) production—here co-directed by Marie Lambert and Ian Rutherford—“brings out the humor and approachability of Wagner's only comedy” (Chicago Tribune) and updates the opera from the original 16th-century setting to 1813, the year of the composer’s birth. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg runs for six performances November 18–December 6, 2015 at the War Memorial Opera House. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com.