18. May 2016 · Comments Off on Luisotti Leaving · Categories: Announcements, Conductors, Opera, San Francisco Opera · Tags: , ,

San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti today announced that he will step down from his position at the end of his current contract, which expires on July 31, 2018. Mr. Luisotti, age 55, will continue to serve as San Francisco Opera music director through the 2017–18 Season. Today’s announcement was made in the War Memorial Opera House theater before the full company of staff, musicians, chorus, dancers and crew.

RTWT

06. October 2014 · Comments Off on Congratulations, Janet! · Categories: Opera, Reviews, San Francisco Opera

Special credit goes to Janet Popesco Archibald for her magnificent English horn solo during “Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa.”

I absolutely love seeing friends get good reviews, and Janet is one fine player. I always enjoy hearing the wonderful musicians of San Francisco Opera.

RTWT, written by Lisa Hirsch. She didn’t care for the men. I’ll have to see what I think, but she is an opera expert and I most certainly am not.

07. November 2012 · Comments Off on Lohengrin · Categories: San Francisco Opera

Dan and I went to see and hear Lohengrin at San Francisco Opera last night. I had never heard it before, and only knew the few excerpts I’d played in symphony here at home. I enjoyed it. (As readers know I don’t do reviews here and I don’t go negative at all. Well, okay, most of the time I don’t go negative anyway.) I thought Brandon Jovanovich was great. I did puzzle over some staging directions, but whatever. Sometimes I just close my eyes and listen anyway.

I also had to look up the composition dates of Swan Lake and Lohengrin the next day, after which I wondered if Tchaikovsky chose a particular theme deliberately … anyone know? It’s so close ….

Anyway, after the opera was over I looked at Dan and sang “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?”

He thanked me for the ear worm.

Or not.

(If you know the opera you get the joke. If not, oh well!)

Bravi tutti to the orchestra and chorus, as is pretty typical! Gotta love those folks!

We have only one more San Francisco Opera performance (Tosca) before they hand the hall over to the ballet. Then we have to wait some months before returning. Meanwhile it appears, via Lisa Hirsch’s blog that they will be announcing next season rather soon. I was invited to attend this a few years back but I think I’ve been dumped. I’m trying not to take it personally.

18. October 2012 · Comments Off on Moby Dick · Categories: Opera, San Francisco Opera

If you click on google.com today you’ll see that Moby Dick is referenced. Why? To quote Wikipedia: “Moby-Dick has been classified as American Romanticism. It was first published by Richard Bentley in London on October 18, 1851, in an expurgated three-volume edition titled The Whale, and weeks later as a single volume, by New York City publisher Harper and Brothers as Moby-Dick; or, The Whale on November 14, 1851. The book initially received mixed reviews, but Moby-Dick is now considered part of the Western canon,[3] and at the center of the canon of American novels.”

So yes it was published on this day, back in 1851.

Tonight we go to see and hear Moby Dick.

Coincidence?

17. January 2012 · Comments Off on San Francisco Opera’s 2012-13 Season · Categories: San Francisco Opera


Photo by Terrence McCarthy, used with permission of San Francisco Opera

SAN FRANCISCO (January 17, 2012)—San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley today announced the Company’s 2012–13 repertory season, guest artists and performance schedule, in addition to three world premiere commissions slated for 2013 by Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison (The Secret Garden), Mark Adamo (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene), and Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy (Dolores Claiborne). Gockley also announced the extension of his contract to lead San Francisco Opera through the 2015–16 Season along with the extension of contracts for the artistic leadership team of Music Director Nicola Luisotti, Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers and Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi.

The Company’s 90th season opens Friday, September 7, 2012 with a gala performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. Maestro Luisotti leads an international cast of singers, including acclaimed Serbian baritone and Verdi specialist Željko Lu?i? in the title role, and the Company debuts of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Italian tenor Francesco Demuro as the Duke of Mantua. Opera Ball, the Company’s celebrated signature benefit event, co-produced with the San Francisco Opera Guild in support of the San Francisco Opera and Opera Guild education programs, will precede the opening night performance at the historic War Memorial Opera House.

In addition to Rigoletto, which features two international casts of singers, San Francisco Opera’s 2012–13 Season offers Vincenzo Bellini’s bel canto gem I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues); the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, commissioned and produced by San Francisco Opera, The Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia; Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin; Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, interpreted by two casts of widely acclaimed singers; Jacques Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte; the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene; and the world premiere of Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison’s The Secret Garden, a co-production with Cal Performances.

RTWT

Dan and I are home from a very wonderful night at the opera. We heard and saw Handel’s Xerxes at San Francisco Opera. Wow! Voices were incredible. Orchestra sounded fabulous. I was a happy camper.

I wasn’t such a happy camper about the traffic. PG&E is currently on my bad list. Due to a pipe rupture or whatever it was the drive took us an hour longer than usual. 280 was a MESS. I left home at 5:20. We arrived at the parking garage at nearly 7:30. Guess what? The opera began at 7:30!

But we didn’t even know that on the drive up (maybe that’s a good thing; my stomach would have been in knots!).

Foolish, foolish me. I assumed an 8:00 show, since all the rest are at that time. But nope. 7:30. Fortunately we went straight there (thinking to catch a bite to eat at the hall since we arrived too late to go out) and ran to the elevator because I looked at the tickets as we were walking over and I saw the 7:30 time. (And I even checked the date earlier and didn’t notice the time.) The usher took us in to some seats in the back of the dress circle which was fine by me; the orchestra had already started and I was just very grateful to get in the hall at all, as I thought we’d have to wait until the second act to go in.

If any of you have a chance to get to this I highly recommend it. I believe it’s my fave of the year so far!

But what a long day I had. It started with driving to Stanford at 7:30 AM. Drove from Stanford to UCSC to demonstrate the oboe and English horn to an orchestration class. Drove home to have my first meal of the day after 2:00 PM. Taught two students. Then it was SF Opera time. Whew!

Now I’m off to bed — I have Opera San José (first of our two final dress rehearsals) tomorrow during the day, and then Dan is in a photography show which has its reception tomorrow evening!

Oh. Wait. it’s already tomorrow! Must. Get. Sleep.

08. November 2011 · Comments Off on Tonight! · Categories: Opera, San Francisco Opera, Videos

27. September 2010 · Comments Off on Opera In The Ballpark · Categories: San Francisco Opera

This past Friday Dan and I attended the San Francisco Opera in the Ballpark simulcast event. The opera was Verdi’s Aida, which we’d already experienced on opening night, but heck, it was free, and it was quite the event. Little did we know just how many people attend opera when it’s free and at AT&T ballpark! Wow. The lines to get in were so long I was ready to turn around and head home, but Dan looked around and found an entrance for those of us who had registered ahead of time had had printed vouchers, and we got right in. We also managed to find a way to get on to the field, despite one person who worked at the park who told us to head upstairs and keep going until we get to the top and then parachute down. Funny man … except I don’t believe he was trying to be funny, but merely unhelpful.

After setting up our blanket we had some time to wait, so Dan headed off to get food and drinks, and I spent time tweeting. Yep. At the opera! I was far from the only one; the tweets were coming from all over the ballpark.

It was so much fun to see things on such a big screen, although I still say the best way to see a video of an opera is with the camera backed off, showing the entire stage, letting us decide what we want to see. Sometimes the camera crew shows us only one singer when I want to see more! The picture was great, though, and the sound mighty nice as well. I could swear they changed on bit of staging, but maybe I just didn’t see things correctly … on opening night I thought the on stage trumpets filed on in two groups of three and were standing there before they played. This time it seems they were already set up and a screen (or something; I can’t quite recall) lifted and there they were. Hmm. I wonder …? I especially enjoyed hearing MingJia Liu play the wonderful principal oboe part again. I even took a bit of video with my iPhone on that part, but I hesitate posting it in case it’s illegal to do so.

The bows were great fun … they all came out with something from the Giants … either wearing a T-shirt, carrying a banner or Giants foam finger or, in the case of the Maestro, wearing a Giants scarf. Fun!

Bravi tutti to all involved!

Aida isn’t my favorite opera, but I think it was perfect for a spectacle at the ballpark! The sets and costumes really look wonderful on the big screen!

23. September 2010 · Comments Off on Reviewing · Categories: Books, Reviews, San Francisco Opera

Most readers know by now that I don’t like to actually do serious reviews; as much as I can be quite critical, I hesitate being open about it. But recently I’ve been given* recordings of a few things and some books, and I think that the companies who provided these are expecting me to review them. So I guess I’ll have to hop to it!

Here are the things I’ve started to listen to and read so far (yes, I have more):

  • Elina Garanca: Habanera
  • Boulez/Vienna Philharmonic/Tetzlaff: Song of the Night
  • Measha Brueggergosman: Night & Dreams
  • Nico Muhly: A Good Understanding
  • Nico Muhly: I Drink The Air Before Me
  • Hahn/Higdon/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerti
    … and one book (although several have been sent)

  • Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey

I suppose these are the perks of running a blog. Truth is, though, that reviewing takes a lot of time, and it’s also a responsibility one shouldn’t take lightly. I can’t just say, “Don’t like it,” and feel good about things … or can I? Or perhaps, since I sign nothing saying I’m obligated and must review, I should only comment on the things I like. I do like to try and be kind and all that jazz.

It does make me admire the real reviewers out there. The amount of time it takes to truly listen and read — assuming they really do that! — is tremendous. I understand why one that I’ve read on occasion said, “I will not read things if you send them to me. Period.” He’s a big enough name that I’m sure it’s completely his choice about what he chooses to bash review.

At the moment I have Garanca on. But am I truly listening? No. I’m blogging! All I can say at the moment is I hear her and immediately think, “Why did you bag SF Opera for something else?” as we read all about last March. (Not that I was at ALL sorry with her wonderful replacement, Alice Coote!) And I think about the crazy video she has out promoting the recording, which made me not really want to hear it. Watch and see if you agree:

I don’t think I’m their target audience for that one!

I much prefer this video:

As to the Lotfi Mansouri book … heh … while we were at Marriage of Figaro on Tuesday night I wondered (but didn’t check) jokingly if we’d find his autobiography there. I would guess not. At the same time, everyone knows it’s out, and most know he dissed Runnicles, Willie Brown, Pamela Rosenberg, and so many more. So maybe it’s just better to go ahead and put it out there. Dunno. Maybe I’ll look when we attend the next opera. It won’t be this Friday, though; that’s the Opera in the Ballpark event. Oh … but maybe they’ll bring their store to the ballpark too? I’ll probably not get there, though; we’ll be searching for the garlic fries! (I’m guessing it’s more about the experience than the music …?

17. March 2010 · Comments Off on Oops! · Categories: Opera, San Francisco Opera

So I guess I only read part of the article I quoted in my earlier blog entry (and forgot to post a link to the article too … my apologies!). There was more to the story. I just didn’t scroll down. (I’m gonna blame my illness and the layout of the article, okay?)

Regarding Ms. Garanca, Mr. Gockley commented, “It pains me greatly to announce that Ms. Garanca has chosen not to appear in next season’s Werther as promised. She is a glamorous young star who has created a stir in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, and I was looking forward to presenting her West Coast debut. However, after extensive discussions with her management and having filed a grievance through the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), I am satisfied that the financial settlement we have reached disposes of the matter.” A series of European concerts has been recently announced on Ms. Garanca’s website during the Werther performance schedule.

And HERE is the link I neglected earlier. Sorry!