San Francisco Opera Presents 'Celebrating The Summer Season,' Friday, July 10
San Francisco Opera will present its first virtual event, Celebrating the Summer Season, on Friday, July 10 at sfopera.com. The three-part, 90-minute program will honor the artists and operas-Verdi's Ernani, Handel's Partenope and Mason Bates and Mark Campbell's The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs-from the Company's 2020 Summer Season which was canceled due to the pandemic. Celebrating the Summer Season will be available beginning at 7:30 pm on July 10 and on demand through 11:59 pm on Sunday, July 12 (all times PDT).
The event will be hosted by Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock and feature conversations and performances created for the occasion featuring Caroline H. Hume Music Director Designate Eun Sun Kim, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera Chorus, sopranos Michelle Bradley and Louise Alder, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, tenor Russell Thomas, composer Mason Bates and other guests.
"We are celebrating and honoring the operas that should have been on our stage right now," said Shilvock. "While it has been heartbreaking to cancel, we wanted to share some of the extraordinary artistry that we were so looking forward to seeing on our stage and have a chance to delve deep into the operas themselves. This event will be a preview of other virtual programs we are planning for the fall that will incorporate performances, conversations, behind-the-scenes features and special surprises."
The virtual celebration will open with a tribute to Ernani, Verdi's 1844 work which was enormously popular in San Francisco during the Gold Rush years. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra, conducted by Eun Sun Kim, will perform the opera's prelude in a pre-recorded performance where the orchestral musicians play their instruments from their homes. Soprano Michelle Bradley, a fast-rising artist known for her portrayals of Verdi heroines who was scheduled to make her Company debut as Elvira, will sing her character's popular aria, "Ernani, involami."
Tenor Russell Thomas, who was to make his role debut as Ernani this summer, will sing the rarely performed Act II aria, "Odi il voto." Commissioned by elder Italian composer Gioachino Rossini for his talented protégé, Nicola Ivanoff, Verdi composed a challenging tenor showpiece to close the opera's second act before intermission. Luciano Pavarotti prepared to sing "Odi il voto" in San Francisco Opera's 1984 production of Ernani, but illness led to his cancellation and the aria was cut. Thomas, who was to be the first to sing "Odi il voto" on the War Memorial Opera House stage, will sing the aria.
Part two of the virtual event will spotlight Handel's Partenope, which was to be revived in Christopher Alden's Olivier Award-winning production with an all-star cast. Shilvock will speak with members of the cast, including soprano Louise Alder and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, who were scheduled to make highly anticipated American opera debuts in Partenope. Both Alder and Orliński will be introduced to San Francisco Opera audiences and perform remotely.
The virtual celebration concludes with a closer look at The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Bay Area composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell. Co-commissioned by San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera and with support from Cal Performances and co-produced with Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the 2017 work was set to be unveiled in its Bay Area premiere this summer. Scenes from the innovative stage work will be shown, followed by a conversation and an exclusive performance by Sasha Cooke, who created the role of Laurene Powell Jobs, a pivotal figure in the opera and wife of the iconoclastic Silicon Valley pioneer.
Celebrating the Summer Season is pre-recorded and highlights fresh content produced through San Francisco Opera's Koret/Taube Media Suite. All activity conducted at the War Memorial Opera House is done in accordance with current safety guidelines and artists will record themselves from their homes.
San Francisco Opera's Celebrating the Summer Season is streamed free as part of Opera is ON, the Company's digital initiative to share great artistry worldwide. Current San Francisco Opera subscribers and members (donors of $75 and up) retain access to Celebrating the Summer Season and other streamed titles after the period of public access. For more information and program updates for this event, visit sfopera.com/celebration. Follow San Francisco Opera on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify.