San Francisco Opera announces Casting and Season

Ten Productions Including Cyrano de Bergerac with Plácido Domingo

San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley today announced repertory and casting for the Company’s 88th season to begin Friday, September 10 with Music Director Nicola Luisotti leading a gala opening performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s grand Egyptian opera, Aida. Highlights of the 2010–11 Season include the return of legendary tenor Plácido Domingo in the title role of Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac and Karita Mattila’s role debut as Emilia Marty in Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case. The season will culminate with three complete cycles of Richard Wagner’s magnum opus for the lyric stage, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), as conceived by director Francesca Zambello and conducted by Donald Runnicles.

Sixty-six performances of ten opera productions—seven of which are new to San Francisco audiences—are planned for the 2010–11 Season, bringing internationally renowned opera singers, conductors and directors together with the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the latter directed by Ian Robertson. The operas are Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida; a new production of Jules Massenet’s Werther; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro); Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; the Company premiere of Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac; a new production of Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case; and Richard Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), comprised of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. The season runs September 10 through December 5, 2010 and May 29 through July 3, 2011. Subscriptions go on sale to renewing subscribers on January 19, 2010.

Music Director Nicola Luisotti, the Company’s “ideal new maestro” (The New York Times), will conduct Aida, Le Nozze di Figaro and Madama Butterfly. Former Company music director and acknowledged Wagner authority Donald Runnicles will return for the complete Ring cycle in the summer of 2011. Making their San Francisco Opera debuts will be conductors Jiří Bĕlohlávek, a renowned Janáček specialist, for The Makropulos Case; French conductor Patrick Fournillier for Cyrano de Bergerac; and Julian Kovatchev conducting the November performances of Madama Butterfly. San Francisco Opera welcomes back Emmanuel Villaume to lead Werther and the Company’s Assistant Music Director Giuseppe Finzi to conduct encore performances of Aida in November and December.

San Francisco Opera Artistic Adviser Francesca Zambello continues her relationship with the Company by directing the first complete performances of her new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle in 2011. Acclaimed directors Jo Davies (Aida), Petrika Ionesco (Cyrano de Bergerac) and Francisco Negrin (Werther) make their San Francisco Opera debuts, and the Company welcomes back John Copley (Le Nozze di Figaro), Jose Maria Condemi (Madama Butterfly) and Olivier Tambosi (The Makropulos Case).

“Despite the challenging economy, I believe the timing is right to move ahead with our plans to present the complete Ring next year directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Donald Runnicles,” said David Gockley. “With the Ring requiring so many of our resources, I’m excited that we could offer such quality and quantity in the balance of the fall season. In fact, I’m proud to say that five of our six fall season productions will be new to San Francisco audiences. We also look forward to the return of Plácido Domingo, who returns to the War Memorial Opera House to perform on the stage that he identifies with so many of his earlier successes.”

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