Regional Opera Company of the Week: San Francisco Opera
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the net, continues its expansion into other areas of entertainment with our latest feature -The Regional Opera Company of the Week!
This week's featured Opera Company is The San Francisco Opera!
The San Francisco Opera celebrates its 90th year since it was founded by Gaetano Merola in 1923. Currently the second largest opera company in North America, the San Francisco Opera has grown from one production presented for two weeks to 75 performances of ten different operas running from September to July.
The company originally performed at the City's Civic Auditorium before it moved to the War Memorial Opera House in 1932. This is coincidentally still the companies current home over 80 years later This building was the first American opera house not built by or for a small group of wealthy patrons but instead through a group of private citizens who in turn encouraged thousands of San Fransicians to subscribe.
The San Francisco Opera is currently in its sixth general director. Starting with two visionary leaders, Gaetano Merola and Kurt Herbert, the company has always been recognized for one of the top opera companies in the world both with production quality and international roster of performers. Since the start of the company, San Francisco Opera has presented the world premieres of countless operas. Under David Gockley's leadership, the Company has added three new operas to that list: Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's Appomattox (2007), StewArt Wallace and Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter (2008), and Christopher Theofanidis and Donna Di Novelli's Heart of a Soldier (2011). Future commissioned works include The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (summer 2013) by Mark Adamo and Dolores Claiborne (fall 2013) by Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy, in addition to The Secret Garden by Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison (spring 2013), a co-commission with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley.
In addition to performances and premieres the company offers a wide range of award winning training programs and performance opportunities for young artists in both the San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program. The programs include the Adler Fellowship Program, the Scwabcher Debut Recital Series and education and outreach programs in the community the the San Francisco Oper Guild. The Guild, founded in 1939 was to develop greater understanding of opera and to increase opera audience through educational and outreach programs. The Guild supports San Francisco Opera through contributions and coordinating the services of hundreds of volunteers who give their time and expertise to assist Company staff and to act as tour guides to War Memorial Opera House visitors.
Another program, named after the founder and first general director, the Merola Opera Program annually offers 30 singers, coaches, and stage directors the opportunity to study, coach and participate in master classes for 11 weeks each summer. The group performs two fully-staged operas during the summer, a free concert at the Yerba Buena Gardens, and the famed Merola Grand Finale at the War Memorial Opera House.
The company has always and continues to follow its mission to present opera of the highest quality to the widest audiences as well as leading in training and arts education through the company. The 90 year company has proven itself time and time again and continues with this years season as well.