Opera season at the San Francisco Opera, concerts and performances – Kstati Russian American News and Views

Composer Mason Bates

As before, the season is divided into two halves: the main autumn-winter of five operas (from September to December) and the short summer one (three operas will be held in May and June 2024). The season includes three premieres of three contemporary operas. These are Stephen Jobs’ (R)evolution, Michael Abels’s Lobster, and Innocence by the recently deceased Kaya Saariho, a Finnish composer living in Paris. This is a bold and interesting step on the part of the company in search of a new repertoire and an audience capable of appreciating it.

Opera Ball opens the second century in the history of the San Francisco Opera with a concert, a gala dinner and a cocktail with an indispensable parade of evening gowns and diamonds.

The event will be decorated with a baton in the hands of Yun Sun Kim, a star couple not only on stage, but also in life – tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Alexandra Kurzak, other artists, arias from “Tosca”, “Clowns”, “The Merry Widow”, “Manon Lesko”, “Samson and Delilah” performed by them.

8 September,


Two days after the opening of the season, the annual free concert will take place San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park. Musical numbers and arias from the classic opera, including Italian, repertoire will be performed.

10 September,

Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park

Ekaterina Semenchuk

San Francisco Opera conductor and music director Yoon Kim Sun is continuing an initiative launched in 2022 to include one opera by Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner each season.

Along with La Traviata, with which the appeal to Verdi’s heritage began, and Rigoletto, Il trovatore (1852) belongs to his main works of the 1850s.

The plot is based on a love triangle between the troubadour Manrico (Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz), Duchess Leonora (American soprano Angel Blue) and Count di Luna (Romanian baritone Gheorghe Petian).

The international composition of the participants is noteworthy – Chacon Cruz, Blue, who sings in San Francisco for the first time Petyan.

In the role of the gypsy Azucena, who stole Manrico at an early age and raised him like a son, the brilliant mezzo-soprano Yekaterina Semenchuk, who performs on major world stages and previously sang at the San Francisco Opera in 2015-2016 in Louise Miller and Aida . Her Santuzza in Pagliacci on the San Francisco stage in 2018 earned her new fans and critical acclaim. On account of the artist – performances at La Scala, Arena di Verona, Metropolitan Opera.

In San Francisco, Il trovatore was first staged in 1924, and acclaimed opera singers sang in numerous productions over the following decades, including Italian soprano Renata Scotto in 1975. The performance on September 12, which opens the season, is dedicated to her memory.

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Scottish opera and theater director David McVicar refers to the painting of Francisco Goya and his gloomy palette in solving the visual images of the performance. The libretto based on the romantic drama by the Spanish playwright Antonio Garcia Gutierrez gives every reason for this.

The Troubadour ,

September 12 – October 1

About Steve Jobs and how he changed and revolutionized the modern world, an opera by Mason Bates, a bright and talented composer and a recognized experimenter in traditional and electronic music.

Bates is forty-six years old, he has many and successful collaborations with SF Symphony since 2009. Commissioned by the San Francisco Philharmonic, he wrote Liquid Interface, The B–Sides, Alternative Energythat became hits. Film scores solidified his success.

Bates collaborates with Daniil Trifonov, who has performed a piano concerto with the San Francisco Philharmonic.

At an early stage in his career, Bates worked as a DJ and boldly harnessed and recited classical music in club sets. Later, when writing music, he began to use the sounds of the atom splitting collider and cosmic noises and sounds from the NASA archive when writing music. Since the early 2000s, Mason Bates has been closely associated with the University of Berkeley and its music programs, where he received his PhD in composition, and lives in Burlingame. So Bates can safely be called a Californian composer.

His interest in the life and legacy of Steve Jobs and the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley led to a commission from the Santa Fe Opera with the participation of other co-customer companies, including ours. SF Opera. The premiere was successfully held in Santa Fe in 2017.

The libretto by Mark Campbell attempts to portray Jobs (1955–2011), a business tycoon, inventor and investor, in light of his fascination with Buddhism based on the concept of enso (“circle”), a symbol of Zen Buddhism. The round shape symbolizes the innermost spiritual truths and helps to comprehend the present moment in time. “A symbol of simplicity and fullness, balance and harmony, beginning and end and the true nature of reality” is used to reveal the character of the hero through a series of flashback scenes – highlights of the life and career of Jobs (baritone Edward Parks). Here and difficult relationship with his wife Lauren Powell (mezzo-soprano Sasha Cook), and many years of friendship-rivalry with partner Steve Wozniak (tenor Garrett Sorrenson), and the break and end of the affair with Chrisan Brennan (soprano Jessica Jones), and a long rejection of their common daughter Lisa.

In the name (R)evolution of Steve Jobs there is also a game with the word “evolution”. Bates and Campbell bring Jobs to life through their artistic techniques in an hour and a half of stage action with no intermission.

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The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,

September 22 – October 3,


(415) 864-3330

It is worth noting the peculiar echo of the San Francisco Opera with the Los Angeles Opera. The opera premiered in Los Angeles last year. Omar, Lobster is released in San Francisco in November. The hit of the San Francisco summer season The Last Dream of Frida and Diego in the playbill of the LA Opera in November and December.

Year of foundation LA Opera 1986 is considered, and the countdown goes from Verdi’s Otello with Placido Domingo in the title role, who headed the company from 2003 to 2019. Performances and concerts are held in Dorothy Chandler Pavillon.

In the late forties there was a company Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera, the performances were staged at a church in Beverly Hills under the financial patronage of Francesco Pace, a furniture manufacturer and great opera lover.

Performances by the San Francisco Opera were shown regularly in Los Angeles from 1937 to 1969. The current season in LA opens with Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with a total of nine operas on the playbill for this and next year.

It is noteworthy that the last dream after San Francisco will appear on the Los Angeles stage, and to us in the North comes Omar, and a number of soloists and conductors participate in the performances of both opera companies.

Don Giovanni,

September 23 – October 15,



Leonidas Kavakos
Leonidas Kavakos

The season will open with a gala concert of musical numbers from Richard Strauss’s Don Giovanni, Gustav Mahler’s romantic Songs of an Itinerant Apprentice, Andres Hillborg’s Rap Notes and Ravel’s Bolero in the finale. Salonen’s baton and first-class baritone Simon Keenleyside, soprano Hila Plitmann and other star performers promise a worthy opening of the season.

Opening Night Gala,

September 22nd

Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonic Orchestra and virtuoso violinist Leonidas Kavakos will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, a new composition by Vinton Marsalis and Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony.

Salonen Conducts An Alpine Symphony,

September 29–30, October 1,


(415) 864-6000

Jazz Center

Kamane performs fado

One of the best fado performers, the Portuguese singer and musician Kamane began his artistic career on the stages of musical theaters and cabarets. Success came to him with the release of his solo album Fado Night in 1995.

This genre, like the tango, appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century in port brothels and taverns, when sailors sang ballads about a broken heart and a bitter fate. Outside of Portugal, fado gained fame primarily thanks to Amalia Rodriguez, and from the current concert performers – Marize and Ana Mora.

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come on,

6 September

Ladysi, the rhythm and blues star, prepared a program of Nina Simone’s hits. Ladycy is a native of New Orleans, but her jazz career began in Oakland.

Accompanied by a jazz orchestra, she will sing the famous songs of the Queen of Soul Nina Simone.

Ledisi Sings Nina,

8 September,

SF Symphony,


Musical on stage ACT

Premiere musical Hippest Trip-The Soul Train Musical – a story in the language of musical theater about the popular TV show Soul Train, whose participants, black Americans, carried afro-rhythms and a special catchy type of variety dance, style of dress and behavior on the television screen to a large television audience.

So, Chicago, 1971. Don Cornelius, a black entrepreneur and radio DJ, actively promotes African-American performers on television. A year after appearing on the regional airwaves, his dance show is picked up by a major channel, and the show is now watched across the country. It breaks popularity records and becomes one of the longest-lived in the program network.

For 40 years, elegant and knowing what he wants, Cornelius set trends and discovered stars, including Rosie Perez and Jody Whatley. A musical about his career, passions and how the musical show “Music Soul Train” conquered America.

Hippest Trip The Soul Train Musical,

ACT The Toni Rembe Theater,

to 8 October,


Cal Performances

artist Ai Weiwei
Peter Sellars

Because the Cal Performances – division of the University of Berkeley, this year’s season will begin with a roundtable with three eminent participants: the famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the equally famous theater director Peter Sellars and director of the Center for US-China Relations Orville Schell.

Weiwei installation @Large on Alcatraz in 2014–2015 received great notoriety. The artist used the space of the former prison to talk about freedom and an attempt to suppress the human spirit with power, raising the topic of exile, imprisonment and repression.

Peter Sellars, whose productions have been staged at the Zellerbach Hall, in San Francisco, and around the world, will express his views and continue the dialogue with Weiwei. Sellars spent many years studying Chinese history and philosophy in addition to purely staged work in musical theater. Their roundtable discussion will be moderated by Orville Schell, a sinologist and former head of the journalism department at the University of Berkeley. The meeting of two masters of contemporary art and a representative of the intellectual and academic world promises to be intense and interesting.

Ai Weiwei with Peter Sellars & Orville Shell,

September 24,

Zellerbach Hall,



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