Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

San Francisco Opera presents the West Coast premiere of It's a Wonderful Life by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer in nine holiday-season performances from November 17 through December 9. The two-act work, a co-commission and co-production between San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, is based in part on Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life™ and The Greatest Gift, a story by Philip Van Doren Stern.

The story of It's a Wonderful Life is familiar to fans of the eponymous film starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. On Christmas Eve, George Bailey is contemplating suicide until the angel Clarence helps George see the positive impact of his life on others, thereby restoring his will to live. Heggie and Scheer's full-scale operatic retelling of this touching story of second chances and the importance of each human life premiered at Houston Grand Opera in 2016 with the Houston Chronicle observing, "While the 1946 movie was a work of naturalism, the opera looks and feels like a dream." The composer, librettist and creative team have revised the work for the West Coast premiere at the War Memorial Opera House.

Sung in English with English supertitles, the nine performances of It's a Wonderful Life are scheduled for November 17 (7:30 p.m.), November 20 (7:30 p.m.), November 24 (2 p.m.), November 25 (2 p.m.), November 29 (7:30 p.m.), December 1 (7:30 p.m.), December 4 (7:30 p.m.), December 7 (7:30 p.m.) and December 9 (2 p.m.).

Photo Credit: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara (center) with Sarah Cambidge, Amitai Pati, Ashley Dixon and Christian Pursell as Angels First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara (center) with Sarah Cambidge, Amitai Pati, Ashley Dixon and Christian Pursell as Angels First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara and William Burden as George Bailey (center) and Sarah Cambidge, Amitai Pati, Ashley Dixon and Christian Pursell as Angels First Class.

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
William Burden as George Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara, Violet Pasmooij as Young Mary, Pablo Gracia as Young Harry, Benjamin Drever as Young George, and Ashley Dixon as Angel First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Joshua Hopkins as Harry Bailey, William Burden as George Bailey and Keith Jameson as Uncle Billy Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch and William Burden as George Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Joshua Hopkins as Harry Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara (left) and William Burden as George Bailey with members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Carole Schaffer as Helen Bailey, Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch, William Burden as George Bailey, Keith Jameson as Uncle Billy Bailey and Catherine Cook as Mother Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
William Burden as George Bailey and Golda Schultz as Clara

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
William Burden as George Bailey and Golda Schultz as Clara (center) with Amitai Pati, Ashley Dixon, Christian Pursell and Sarah Cambidge as Angels First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch and William Burden as George Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch, William Burden as George Bailey and Keith Jameson as Uncle Billy Bailey

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
It's a Wonderful Life

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara (center) with Sarah Cambidge, Amitai Pati, Christian Pursell and Ashley Dixon as Angels First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Golda Schultz as Clara and William Burden as George Bailey (center) and Sarah Cambidge, Amitai Pati, Christian Pursell and Ashley Dixon as Angels First Class

Photo Flash: First Look at San Francisco Opera's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Joshua Hopkins as Harry Bailey, Rod Gilfry as Mr. Potter, Andriana Chuchman as Mary Hatch, William Burden as George Bailey, Golda Schultz as Clara, Keith Jameson as Uncle Billy Bailey, Catherine Cook as Mother Bailey, (front) Joshua Partlow, Violet Pasmooij as Janie, Cadence Goblirsch as Zuzu and Pablo Gracia as Tommy



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