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San Francisco Opera to present a Trio of Masterworks as Part of Summer Season

San Francisco Opera to present a Trio of Masterworks as Part of Summer Season

San Francisco Opera presents a trio of masterworks spanning the 18th century to the present for its 2020 Summer Season at the War Memorial Opera House June 7-July 3. In an update announced today, Caroline H. Hume Music Director Designate Eun Sun Kim will conduct Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani replacing James Gaffigan who has withdrawn from the production due to family reasons. The summer season will also include George Frideric Handel's Partenope in Christopher Alden's popular production and the Bay Area premiere of composer Mason Bates' kaleidoscopic exploration of life, love and creativity, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.

Eun Sun Kim, who was appointed San Francisco Opera's Caroline H. Hume Music Director Designate last December, returns to the Company podium ahead of schedule to conduct Verdi's early masterwork Ernani. An acclaimed interpreter of Verdi's stage works including Rigoletto and Il Trovatore for the Berlin State Opera and a triumphant La Traviata for Houston Grand Opera, Kim will lead Ernani for the first time in her career. In 2019, Kim made "a company debut of astonishing vibrancy and assurance" (San Francisco Chronicle) with Dvořák's Rusalka. Following Ernani, she returns to the podium in September for the opening weekend of San Francisco Opera's 2020-21 Season with a gala concert and a new production of Beethoven's Fidelio.

Verdi: Ernani (June 7-July 2)

Verdi's 1844 Ernani is a swashbuckling tale of love and honor in 16th-century Spain that follows a fugitive prince (Ernani) whose love for the noblewoman Elvira is challenged by two powerful rivals, Don Ruy de Silva and the soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor, Don Carlo. San Francisco's first operatic "hit" during the Gold Rush, Ernani is a thrilling exhibition of what the trained human voice can do through a series of masterful arias, ensembles and tense, dramatic situations.

Tenor Russell Thomas stars as the titular bandit Ernani. Rising American soprano Michelle Bradley and Italian baritone Simone Piazzola make their Company debuts as Elvira and Don Carlo. Bass-baritone and 2018 Richard Tucker Award winner Christian Van Horn returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage in the role of Silva. Jose Maria Condemi directs the "sumptuous" (Chicago Tribune) production designed by Scott Marr with lighting design by Duane Schuler.

Handel: Partenope ((June 12-27)

Handel's 1730 comedy Partenope returns in the Olivier Award-winning production by American director Christopher Alden. Presented by San Francisco Opera in 2014, Alden's staging updates the action from Handel's ancient Neapolitan setting to a 1920s Parisian salon and, according to the Mercury News, "turns the opera's genderbending plot into a nonstop parade of visual and vocal delights."

In her American debut, soprano Louise Alder adds Partenope to her gallery of acclaimed Handel heroines. Two internationally renowned countertenors-Deutsche Grammophon recording artist Franco Fagioli and "the much buzzed about Polish break-dancing countertenor" (Parterre Box) Jakub Józef Orliński-will also make American staged opera debuts as Arsace and Armindo respectively. Mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack reprises the role of Rosmira, tenor Alek Shrader returns as Emilio and baritone Hadleigh Adams is Ormonte.

English conductor and harpsichordist Christopher Moulds, who made his Company debut last summer with Handel's Orlando, returns to lead Partenope. Roy Rallo directs the revival of Alden's staging, which features sets designed by Andrew Lieberman, costumes by Jon Morrell, revival lighting design by Gary Marder and choreography by Lawrence Pech.

Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (June 20-July 3)

The summer season concludes with the highly anticipated Bay Area premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (June 20-July 3) by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell. Proclaimed "a winning opera" by the Los Angeles Times at its 2017 world premiere in Santa Fe, this electro-acoustic one-act work explores the intersection of technology and humanity in modern life.

Kevin Newbury directs the fast-moving work which follows tech mogul Steve Jobs through a series of flashback episodes where the product innovation he champions aid and complicate his relationships. Conductor Michael Christie, who made his San Francisco Opera debut leading the 2013 world premiere of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, will be on the podium.

At the 2019 Seattle Opera premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the Seattle Times commented: "And we have to talk about the ridiculously gorgeous production design, which uses projection and lighting cues to transform a spare set of white-screened rectangular boxes into all of the locations and moods the story needs." The set designs are by Victoria Tzykun, lighting is by Japhy Weideman and projection designs are by London-based 59 Productions, whose credits include Philip Glass' Satyagraha, a triumph at the Metropolitan Opera and LA Opera in recent seasons. The opera's costumes are designed by Paul Carey and sound designer is Rick Jacobsohn.

Edward Parks makes his Company debut in the title role. Gramophone praised Parks for his "central performance as Jobs capturing both his charisma and his cruelty in singing that swerves between persuasive elegance and caustic irony." The cast features three additional role creators. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is Laurene Powell Jobs, a character she "radiantly personified," said the Dallas Morning News Tenor Garrett Sorenson portrays Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and bass Wei Wu sings Kōbun Chino Otogawa, Jobs' spiritual advisor whose guidance steers him through doubts and personal travails.

Single (non-subscription) tickets for San Francisco Opera's 2020 Summer Season are now available and priced from $26 to $398. A $2 per-ticket facility fee is included in Balcony 1, 2 and 3 zone prices; all other zones include a $3 per-ticket facility fee.

Tickets may be purchased online at sfopera.com, at the San Francisco Opera Box Office (301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco) and by calling (415) 864-3330. The San Francisco Opera Box Office hours are Monday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Saturdays phone only).

The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART/Muni Station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and F Market Street. For further public transportation, direction and parking information, visit sfopera.com/directions.

All casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about San Francisco Opera's 2019-20 Season, visit sfopera.com.

Photo credit: Ken Howard


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