Ginsburg and Scalia in an Opera?

Romeo et JulietteYes, Opera Mavens, it’s true. A new comic opera called Scalia/Ginsburg is coming our way from the Castleton Festival in Virginia. They have some promising streams starting on Friday July 3 at 5pm PDT with Romeo et Juliette (Gounod) starring tenor Daniel Montenegro (Adler 2011).

Then on July 11 there will be two more streams from Castleton:

Law in Opera with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg” at 11am PDT Sat July 11.

L’heure espagnol and Scalia/Ginsburg (comedy double bill of Ravel’s The Spanish Hour and Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg) at 5pm PDT Sat July 11.

From the Royal Opera Fri July 3 at 11am PDT Don Giovanni with Christopher Maltman.

In other news, this Saturday’s stream of Claude Debussy’s five act opera Pelléas et Mellisande from Munich is cancelled for “technical reasons.” I guess really, really hostile reviews are now called technical reasons.

Instead it will show Arabella with Anja Harteros in the title role on July 11 at 10am PDT.

From Munich Fri Jul 31 at 11:30 am PDT Manon Lescaut with Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann.

An Operabobb Side-bar: run, do not walk, to purchase SF Opera’s latest01_Show_Boat_grande DVD/Blu-Ray release: Show Boat. We watched the Blu-Ray on Tuesday with some of our grandchildren (who, incidentally, had seen the dress rehearsal). It renewed almost all the excitement of the marvelous original production.


Opera Broadcasts – July 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens! Here are your broadcast opera-tunities for July:

The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart) – FREE live simulcast from the War Memorial Opera House stage to the 120′ HD Jumbotron at AT&T Park. This warm, witty opera is one of the composer’s most graceful creations—a tender comedy in which a countess and her servant join forces to punish her aristocrat husband for his philandering; in the process, two very different couples learn humbling lessons about life and love. The cast is led by Philippe Sly (Adler 2014) as Figaro, Luca Pisaroni, as the lecherous Count, the charismatic Nadine Sierra (Adler 2012) as his Countess, and Lisette Oropesa as Figaro’s saucy love Susanna; all are led by SFO Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers (Merola 1986, 1987).
Fri July 3 at 7:30pm, AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco
For best seating, register for early entry! Beginning at 6pm, registered fans can enter the park; you must bring your barcoded confirmation printout for early entry; gates open at 6:30pm for general entry. See OperaBobb’s Special Invitation for more details.

The Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc) – Archival performance with Leontyne Price (Mme. Lidoine), Régine Crespin (Mme de Croissy), Betsy Norden (Sister Constance), Carol Vaness (Merola 1976, Blanche), Eric Halfvarson (Marquis), Virginia Zeani (Mother Marie), Jonathan Green (Chaplain); conducted by Henry Lewis. Recorded Fall 1982, War Memorial Opera House.
Sun July 5 at 8pm on KDFC (also available on-demand at for 4 weeks after airing)

The Capulets and the Montagues (Bellini) – The tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet inspired some of Bellini’s most beautiful melodies. This bel canto gem from Fall 2012 stars Joyce DiDonato (Merola 1997) as Romeo, Nicole Cabell as Juliet, Saimir Pirgu as the rival for Juliet’s affections, and Eric Owens as her overbearing father; costumes by fashion designer Christian Lacroix, Riccardo Frizza conducts.
Sun July 5 at 8pm and Mon July 6 at 2am – KQED Life

Attila (Verdi) – The ruler of the Huns fully intends to invade fifth-century Italy until a fierce female captive enchants him with her valiant defiance. This production from Summer 2012 stars Ferruccio Furlanetto as Attila, Quinn Kelsey and Samuel Ramey as the Roman soldier and bishop who oppose him, plus Ana Lucrecia Garcia as the proud Odabella and Diego Torre as her lover Foresto in their SFO debuts; SFO Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.
Sun July 12 at 8pm and Mon July 13 at 2am – KQED Life

Mefistofele (Boito) – This resplendent retelling of Goethe’s Faust is one of the most impressive productions ever seen on the SFO stage. This production from Fall 2013 stars Ildar Abdrazakov as the devil incarnate, Ramón Vargas as Faust, and soprano Patricia Racette (Adler 1990) as Margherita; Nicola Luisotti conducts.
Sun July 19 at 8pm and Mon July 20 at 2am – KQED Life

Rigoletto (Verdi) – This time-honored masterpiece brings to life the vivid and compelling story of a vengeful court jester desperately attempting to protect his daughter from disaster. The world-class cast features Zeljko Lucic in the title role, the SFO debut of Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda, and Francesco Demuro as the Duke of Mantua; Nicola Luisotti conducts.
Sun July 26 at 8pm and Mon July 27 at 2am – KQED Life

La Traviata (Verdi) – Willy Decker’s stunning production of the timeless tragedy stars riveting singing actress Natalie Dessay as Violetta. Matthew Polenzani is Alfredo Germont, the young man from a good family who risks everything for Violetta. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, who disapproves of Violetta’s lifestyle but is moved by her plight. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts.
Wed July 8 at 7pm

La Fille du Regiment (Donizetti) – Madcap physical comedy and impeccable coloratura come together in Natalie Dessay’s tour de force portrayal of the feisty tomboy raised by a regiment of French soldiers. Laurent Pelly’s hilarious production also stars Juan Diego Flórez as the young Swiss villager who conquers her heart—along with a slew of high Cs. The production also boasts stage legend and Tony Award winner Marian Seldes as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, as well as opera greats Felicity Palmer and Alessandro Corbelli; Marco Armiliato conducts.
Wed July 15 at 7pm

The Merry Widow (Lehar) – The great Renee Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all of Paris in this enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo, Alek Shrader (Adler 2009) as Camille de Rosillon, and Broadway’s Kelli O’Hara as Valencienne; Sir Andrew Davis conducts.
Wed July 22 at 7pm

Aida (Verdi) – The Met’s spectacular production of the Egyptian epic captures both the grandeur and the intimacy of this powerful tale of love and politics. Liudmyla Monastyrska is Aida, the enslaved Ethiopian princess in love with the Egyptian warrior Radamès, sung by Roberto Alagna. Olga Borodina is her rival Amneris, daughter of the Pharaoh, and George Gagnidze sings Aida’s father Amonasro, King of Ethiopia; Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts.
Wed July 29 at 7pm

La Bohème (Puccini) – A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. Director John Copley‘s production brings 19th-century Paris to the stage in vivid detail. Cast includes Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996), Joseph Calleja, Lucas Meachem (Adler 2005), Jennifer Rowley, and Marco Vinco; conducted by Dan Ettinger.
Sat July 11 at 10am, Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College Ave (at Ashby), Berkeley

Guillaume Tell (Rossini) – Swiss hero William Tell longs to liberate his people from the cruel Austrian occupation. Director Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera debut with this new production of the composer’s final masterpiece starring Gerald Finley, John Osborn, and Malin Bystrom; conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Sat July 25 at 10am, Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College Ave (at Ashby), Berkeley

Show Boat (Kern) – A true classic of American musical theater, this tale of life on the Mississippi from the 1880s to the 1920s is a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of the bitter legacy of racism. This SFO production from Summer 2014 stars Heidi Stober (Magnolia Hawkes), Michael Todd Simpson (Gaylord Ravenal), Bill Irwin (Cap’n Andy), Patricia Racette (Adler 1990, Julie La Verne), Angela Renee Simpson (Queenie), and Morris Robinson (Joe); directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by John DeMain.
Sun July 12 at 12noon and Tues July 14 at 7:15pm
Camera 3 Entertainment, 288 S. Second St, San Jose

Arabella (Strauss) – A highlight of the 2014 Salzburg Easter Festival, this production marks the first time Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson (Merola 1980) have performed the opera together in its entirety. As Arabella finds the man of her dreams in Mandryka, their marriage is complicated by a case of mistaken identity and confused lovers. Directed by Florentine Klepper and conducted by Christian Thielemann.
Sat July 25 at 7pm, Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main St, Napa

The Merry Widow (Lehar) – The great Renee Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all of Paris in this enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo, Alek Shrader (Adler 2009) as Camille de Rosillon, and Broadway’s Kelli O’Hara as Valencienne; Sir Andrew Davis conducts.
Sun July 26 at 11am – KQED Plus


Opera Lectures, Classes, and Workshops – July 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens! Here are your educational opera-tunities for July:

Before each performance, listen to a 25-minute overview of the opera with insights on the music, composer and historical background. Talks are FREE to ticketholders and take place in the Orchestra section of the theater beginning 55 minutes prior to curtain.
The Trojans:  Peter Susskind, Midsummer Mozart Festival Executive Director, July 1
The Marriage of Figaro:  Bruce Lamott, Philharmonia Chorale Director, July 3 & 5

A Story Map of the Land of the Ring – Guest speaker Marty Kirschen will take us on a two-part journey along the many pathways of the Ring. Part One is a quiz, The Ring of Fortune, where the audience will cover categories such as Distances and Directions, Birds and Beasts, Nature, and Human Nature to name a few; the audience will also be invited to raise their own questions and everyone gets prizes! In Part Two, Kirschen invites everyone to join him on this epic journey of the Ring using maps he has designed using opera stage directions, the libretto, and a topographical map of the Rhine River and environs. Free for WSNC members, $10 for non-members
Sat July 11 at 1pm, JCC-SF, 3200 California St, San Francisco

FREE lecture series run by Larry Oppenheim, president of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (East Bay) where he also plays oboe, English horn, and writes the program notes. Larry’s goal is to make opera more enjoyable and accessible to “all the people”; attend the lecture and then go see the opera with your newfound knowledge!
Agrippina (Handel) – Sun July 19 at 2pm
SF Public Library, Noe Valley Branch, 451 Jersey St (near 24th and Castro)

Mozart’s Three – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, music’s greatest prodigy, excelled at both instrumental and vocal compositions. This five-week Wednesday morning course led by Diane Mauch, former professor of voice at the University of Miami and current president of the Rossmoor Opera Club, explores Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte using CDs and DVD performances that capture the master’s genius. Discover or get reacquainted with these memorable works from this joyful and prolific composer! $60 for OLLI members, $84 for non-members; for more information go to
Wed Jul 15 thru Aug 12 at 10:30am, CSU East Bay, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Rd, Concord

Russian Composers I – In this series of five Wednesday afternoon classes led by John Kendall Bailey, Music Director of the Trinity Lyric Opera, you will explore 19th century Russia to experience the unique blend of fire, passion, and Russian nationalism the Romantic composers of that era created. Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky are his targets, and he’ll offer us glimpses of their musical genius expressed in piano concertos, symphonic suites, operas, ballets, and chamber works. $60 for OLLI members, $84 for non-members; for more information go to
Wed July 22 thru Aug 26 at 1:30pm, CSU East Bay, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Rd, Concord


Can’t Get Enough of Dido and Aeneas?

Ciao, Opera Mavens. We just became aware of this opera-tunity to get your Aeneid fix without having to brave the traffic and parking situation in San Francisco this weekend:

Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) – English opera performed by Marin Baroque Chamber Choir and period instrument Orchestra with San Francisco Renaissance Dancers in an outdoor courtyard theater. Tickets $35 General, $25 Seniors & Students, $10 Children; available through Brown Paper Tickets
Fri Jun 26 and Sat Jun 27 at 8pm
First Presbyterian Church, 72 Kensington Rd, San Anselmo