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San Francisco Opera's 2022-23 Centennial Season Announced

The season opens on September 9 with an Opening Night Concert in conjunction with the return of Opera Ball.

San Francisco Opera's 2022-23 Centennial Season Announced

San Francisco Opera has announced plans for the Company's 100th season. As only the third American Opera Company in history to reach this centennial milestone, the Company's 2022-23 Season will honor San Francisco Opera's glorious past while inviting the public into an exciting new era of musical excellence under Kim's music directorship and a renewed commitment to innovation. The season opens on September 9 with an Opening Night Concert in conjunction with the return of Opera Ball followed by eight mainstage operas, additional concerts and community events through July 1, 2023.

San Francisco Opera's 100th season is anchored by the premieres of new works from two important Bay Area composers: the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by John Adams, which was commissioned for the Company's centenary, and the local premiere of El último sueño de Frida y Diego by Gabriela Lena Frank, a San Francisco Opera co-commission that will receive its first performances at San Diego Opera in October 2022 before coming to the War Memorial Opera House in June 2023.

The 2022-23 Season marks a return to full strength with eight mainstage productions and several concerts. Opening weekend kicks off Friday, September 9, with a special centennial Opera Ball celebration and concert featuring soprano Nadine Sierra, tenors Michael Fabiano and Pene Pati and baritone Lucas Meachem with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra under the baton of Eun Sun Kim. On Saturday, September 10, the world premiere of John Adams' Antony and Cleopatra takes center stage with Kim leading a cast headed by Julia Bullock and Gerald Finley as the titular lovers. Sunday, September 11 marks the return of another Company tradition, the free Opera in the Park concert at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park.

New San Francisco Opera productions include Verdi's La Traviata in a staging by director Shawna Lucey starring soprano Pretty Yende in her Company debut; the return of Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, staged only once before by the Company in 1959, featuring countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński in a new production by Matthew Ozawa; and a new interpretation of Puccini's Madame Butterfly by director Amon Miyamoto starring Karah Son and Michael Fabiano.

In a celebration of the pioneering aesthetic that has defined the Company's first century, two towering operatic masterpieces of the twentieth century return to San Francisco Opera where each had its American premiere during the 1950s: Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites featuring a cast headed by Heidi Stober as Blanche de la Force, and Richard Strauss' momentous Die Frau ohne Schatten featuring the returns of Nina Stemme, Camilla Nylund and former music director Sir Donald Runnicles in David Hockney's production. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin will be presented in the Bay Area premiere of Robert Carsen's acclaimed production with Evgenia Muraveva in her American debut as Tatyana and Gordon Bintner making his Company debut as Onegin. Centennial celebrations reach another pinnacle on June 16, 2023 with the 100th Anniversary Concert, a gala event 100 years in the making that looks back at the Company's first century and on toward the future.

General Director Matthew Shilvock said: "From the moment Gaetano Merola raised the first curtain on San Francisco Opera, this has been a company of possibility, of excellence, of innovative spirit. Our centennial will honor the extraordinary people who shaped our first hundred years, and also be a stepping-off point into the incredible creative possibilities that lie ahead. As we begin our second century, we want to be a place where our community feels that their stories are being told, where we are energizing new conceptions of the art form, and where we continue to create experiences so profound that they reverberate for a lifetime."

San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin said: "100 years ago, San Francisco answered the call of our founder, Gaetano Merola, to create an opera company the city could call its own. Merola would be proud of the longevity and vitality of San Francisco Opera. Our extraordinary community of subscribers and donors have sustained this Company as a vibrant and creative force and a leader in the international opera world for a century. We look forward to inviting you to this celebration of your opera company."

Now in her first season as San Francisco Opera's Caroline H. Hume Music Director, Eun Sun Kim has launched a new era for the Company beginning with the return to live performances in the War Memorial Opera House last August with Puccini's Tosca. The San Francisco Chronicle observed she "seized control of the score and led a performance of heaving intensity, subtle mood shifts and piquant details." She also led the Company's new production of Beethoven's Fidelio, two concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and will return to the podium this summer for a Verdi celebration (June 30, 2022). Last November, the South Korean conductor made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera leading La Bohème and was hailed by the New York Times as "the star of the evening ... she did the job with musicianly care, assured technical command, subtlety and imagination." Kim was also recently named a New York Times 2021 Breakout Star.

Music Director Eun Sun Kim said: "Music's powerful language inspires us to better understand our world-and each other. I'm deeply honored to be a part of the legacy built over the first 100 years of San Francisco Opera, and I look forward to engaging with our community in so many ways during this celebratory year. San Francisco has supported, nurtured and energized this company. We musicians in turn will continue to strive for the highest levels of artistic excellence, to ensure this rich legacy can be handed down to future generations."

In 2022-23, Kim leads all performances of Antony and Cleopatra, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly, the Opening Night Concert, Opera in the Park, the resident artist Adler Fellows concert and will be among the maestros in the pit for the 100th Anniversary Concert.

On September 26, 1923, Gaetano Merola inaugurated his new resident company for the opera-loving metropolis of San Francisco with a performance of Puccini's La Bohème at the Civic Auditorium. Despite a century of forbidding challenges, from the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of competing entertainment media (film, radio, television, internet), the dot-com bust, earthquakes, recessions and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco Opera remains a vital and dynamic artistic institution. Its culture of innovation has led to commissions by leading composers; its audience has witnessed the American debuts of operatic legends; and its training programs have equipped generations of new artists for stages around the world.

As one of only three American opera companies to celebrate 100 years (the Metropolitan Opera is in the midst of its 136th season and Cincinnati Opera marked its centenary in 2020), San Francisco Opera honors its storied past throughout 2022-23 with a host of events and activities. Additional details about centennial events will be released in the coming months.

Bohème Out of the Box

In early 2023, San Francisco Opera will take opera out of the Opera House and bring it into a number of communities around the Bay Area. Audiences will be able to enjoy a shortened version of Puccini's La Bohème performed live on a shipping-container-turned-stage.

The Traviata Encounter

On November 19, 2022, audiences are invited to experience the romance, drama and passion of one of opera's greatest works in a new way at The Traviata Encounter. Enjoy the first act of Verdi's opera, followed by an immersive evening of food, drinks and mingling with artists from the production in a transformed Opera House.

Historic Recordings Project

Explore San Francisco Opera's first century through the artists and performances that built Merola's upstart company, over an expansive artistic arc, into one of the world's leading operatic institutions. Interact with the preserved audio and visual legacy of San Francisco Opera through historic radio broadcasts and other preserved media in periodic web releases.

Centennial Exhibitions

Witness firsthand the costumes worn on stage by San Francisco Opera stars including Leontyne Price, Kirsten Flagstad and Dorothy Kirsten along with rare photographs and artifacts from the San Francisco Opera Archives. In partnership with the SFO Museum at the San Francisco International Airport, the San Francisco Public Library, Museo Italo Americano and other community partners, rarely seen treasures from 100 years of theatrical history will be on view around the city and greater Bay Area in public exhibitions.

Open House

In addition to the Opera's 100th season, this year also marks the 90th anniversary of the War Memorial Opera House. In celebration of both anniversaries, San Francisco Opera opens the doors of its historic home on October 23, 2022. Experience one of the city's architectural gems and a world-renowned venue for live opera in this special Open House event. The day's family-friendly activities include tours, sing-alongs and demonstrations.

Community Stories

While epic stories unfold on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House this season, San Francisco Opera will also explore the stories of its community. Audiences will have the opportunity to develop and share their own narratives in this collaborative storytelling initiative.

Centennial Artwork

New illustrations were created for San Francisco Opera's Centennial by Bay Area artist Brian Stauffer. Visit sfopera.com to view Stauffer's work.

Bookmark sfopera.com/100 for the latest news and updates.



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