San Francisco Opera Guild Announces Opera Ball 2017 at The Imperial Palace

San Francisco Opera Guild Announces Opera Ball 2017 at The Imperial PalaceSan Francisco Opera Guild in collaboration with San Francisco Opera Association today announced details for Opera Ball 2017 at The Imperial Palace, a gala benefit celebrating the opening of the Company's 95th Season on Friday, September 8. Set within an elegant Imperial Palace Pavilion adjacent to the War Memorial Opera House, Opera Ball 2017, along with the opening night gala performance of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, will launch the new opera season with customary brilliance. The co-chairs for Opera Ball 2017 are Courtney Labe and Maryam Muduroglu. Honorary chairs for the event are John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn and Diane B. Wilsey. The honoree for this year's event is San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti who will step down from his post at the conclusion of the 2017-18 Season.

Beginning at 5 p.m. with a festive cocktail reception within the foyer of the Beaux Arts-designed War Memorial Opera House, guests will promenade at 6 p.m. to the Pavilion for an elegant dinner by McCalls Catering & Events. With the opening night opera Turandot as his inspiration, designer J. Riccardo Benavides will create an atmospheric setting within the Pavilion that will transport guests to a reimagined Imperial Palace. This magical and opulent setting will evoke a distant time and place for the 750 Opera Ball patrons as they celebrate the opening of San Francisco Opera's 2017-18 Season. Following dinner, patrons return to the Opera House for the 8 p.m. curtain of the gala performance of Turandot, Puccini's majestic 1926 work. After the opera, Opera Ball 2017 attendees will be welcomed back to The Imperial Palace Pavilion for cocktails, savories, sweets and dancing to the sounds of Pop Rocks.

Opera Ball 2017 co-chairs Courtney Labe and Maryam Muduroglu said: "We're thrilled to be co-chairing Opera Ball 2017 at the Imperial Palace, celebrating the opening of the 95th season and Puccini's glorious opera Turandot, which is set in legendary Peking and features "Nessun dorma," one of the composer's most sublime arias. This year is particularly special to us, as we will be honoring Nicola Luisotti in his final season as music director of San Francisco Opera."

Maestro Luisotti will conduct Turandot and then join the co-chairs and all Opera Ball patrons in the Pavilion for a warm tribute to his distinguished tenure on the Company's podium. For the 2017 Fall Season, Luisotti also leads the free Opera in the Park concert and Verdi's La Traviata. Since his Company debut in 2005 leading Verdi's La Forza del Destino and 2009 appointment as music director, Luisotti has conducted over 40 operas and concerts with San Francisco Opera.

When asked to be the honoree for Opera Ball 2017, the Italian-born conductor said: "I accept with deepest appreciation. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished during my time with San Francisco Opera. As I step down from the post of Music Director at the end of the 2017-18 Season, this will certainly be a very emotional year for me. To be acknowledged by the Opera Guild at so prestigious an affair as Opera Ball is a great and touching honor. My wife, Rita, and I both thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

One of the premiere philanthropic evenings on the West Coast, Opera Ball brings together local and national corporate, political, civic and charitable leaders all committed to the cause of music education and the transformative experiences San Francisco Opera presents on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. The mission and distinguished tradition of Opera Ball in San Francisco have long attracted important collaborators and partnerships to the annual event. San Francisco Opera Guild is honored to welcome Town & Country magazine, the authority on modern society, elegant living and irreplaceable guide to exceptional people and exclusive destinations, as National Media Sponsor.

San Francisco Opera Guild President Jane Mudge said: "The importance of culture and community to a well-functioning society are more apparent than ever. The Opera Guild is proud to produce the Opera Ball celebrating the 95th season of San Francisco Opera. The funds from the Ball help to raise awareness of the art form of opera, deliver our nationally recognized education programs to the Greater Bay Area and, most importantly, impact and change the lives of today's youth."

The success of Opera Ball is in large part due to support from the community. "It is a thrill for us to introduce our partnership with the award-winning HALL Wines in Napa Valley at Opera Ball," said co-chairs Courtney Labe and Maryam Muduroglu. "Craig and Kathryn Hall are deeply committed to expressive arts, making HALL Wines the perfect partner at Opera Ball, which is a celebration of opera as an art form."

Opera Ball 2017 is made possible through the generous support of Opening Weekend Grand Sponsor Diane B. Wilsey; Cocktail Reception Sponsor TriplePoint Capital; Dinner Sponsor Neiman Marcus Union Square; Corporate Sponsor Abbot Downing; Official Airline United Airlines; Benefactor Party Sponsors Jack Calhoun & Trent Norris; Patron Party Sponsors Maryam & Oran Muduroglu; Sparkling Wine Sponsor Roederer Estate; Wine Sponsor HALL Wines in Napa Valley; and Media Sponsors Town & Country and Nob Hill Gazette. Additional Corporate Table Sponsors include Accenture, Bank of America, Burberry, Meyer Sound, Resolution Economics LLC, San Francisco Giants, Union Bank and Wells Fargo. Proceeds benefit the community initiatives and education programs of the Opera Guild and San Francisco Opera which reach a combined 60,000 students around Northern California each year.

Giacomo Puccini's Turandot features Austrian soprano Martina Serafin in the title role, American tenor Brian Jagde as Calaf, Italian soprano Maria Agresta in her Company debut as Liù, current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow soprano Toni Marie Palmertree as Liù (September 24 and 30) and American bass Raymond Aceto as Timur. Maestro Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in the classic production by English artist David Hockney, directed by Garnett Bruce. Turandot will be presented in six performances between Friday, September 8 and September 30. The opera returns mid-season on November 18 in an encore presentation featuring several new cast members, including soprano Nina Stemme as Princess Turandot, soprano Leah Crocetto as Liù and Company debuts by bass Soloman Howard as Timur and conductor Christopher Franklin.

OPERA BALL 2017 AT THE IMPERIAL PALACE / TICKETS AND INFORMATION

Tickets for Opera Ball 2017 at The Imperial Palace are priced at $1,500; $2,500; $5,000 and $10,000 and are available at sfopera.com/operaball2017 and by calling (415) 565-3204. Tickets for the performance of Puccini's Turandot are sold separately.

Tickets for Turandot, priced from $26-$398, are available at sfopera.com and through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue] and by phone at (415) 864-3330. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only, and are restricted to two per person. Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change.

Photo credit: Valentina Simi/San Francisco Opera




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