Opera News and Cruises

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Here is a potpourri of operatic items for your consideration:

Opera for Laughs:
Great Comic Moments in the World of Opera – SFO Dramaturg Kip Cranna explores how the musical element adds sparkle and wit – and sometimes a whole new dimension – to comic moments in opera, including productions in the current season. *FREE*
Tue Sep 23 at 1pm, Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St, San Francisco

MTT Conducts Also Sprach Zarathustra
– Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of R.Strauss with this symphonic spectacular made famous in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Other works from the film and American masterpieces by Foss and Ives featuring the SFS Chorus directed by Ragnar Bohlin complete the program.
Thu Sep 25 at 8pm, Fri Sep 26 at 6:30pm, Sun Sep 28 at 2pm
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Sacramento Classical Music Groups Receive $1.1 Million Windfall
Former U.S. Forest Service worker’s bequest will benefit the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera organization that recently announced cancellation of their fall seasons.

Christian Van Horn – A Busy Season at SFO
Barihunk CVH, who performed the four villains in SFO’s Les contes d’Hoffmann last summer, returns to grace the stage in four productions this fall (Norma, Masked Ball, Cinderella, and Boheme).

Donald Runnicles Speaks (Very) Frankly on the Atlanta Symphony Lockout
Maestro Runnicles served as SFO’s Music Director and Principal Conductor from 1992 to 2009 and returns this summer to conduct Berlioz’s monumental work Les Troyens.

Plácido Domingo Staying with LA Opera Through 2019
LAO’s “evergreen” relationship with Plácido continues. He’s also very popular here in the Bay Area: before the Insight Panel Discussion for Cyrano de Bergerac in 2010, he got a standing ovation just for walking into the room.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes Talks about The King & I, Don Giovanni, and Missing NZ
Rhodes sang the role of Joseph de Rocher in SFO’s Dead Man Walking in 2000.

This May’s opera group river cruise filled quickly and sold out the ship, so we are offering this itinerary again on the brand new Viking Beyla; the May 13-27 sailing offers an optional two day pre-cruise extension in Prague (including performances of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead and Verdi’s La Traviata) and two extra days in Berlin at the end of the cruise. We have a special group rate, but the ship is filling very quickly (four veranda staterooms still available). For more information go to http://tomsgroupcruises.com/Elbe2105.html, email Tom@TomTaffel.com, or call 415-566-7673.

New York Metropolitan Opera: April 19-25, 2015 – Tour cost of $4,750 includes RT nonstop flights SFO-NYC plus transfers, six nights at the Empire Hotel, three operas with Grand Tier Prime seating (Aida, Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci, Don Carlo; optional offering of Ballo in Maschera extra), Carnegie Hall concert featuring pianist Richard Goode, lecture by Cori Ellison, museum visit, sightseeing, one brunch, private Greenwich Village luncheon tour, three dinners (one at Met’s Grand Tier Restaurant), and a reception.
Santa Fe Opera: August 9-14, 2015 – Tour cost of $3,450 includes air transportation from San Francisco to Albuquerque plus transfers to and from Santa Fe, five nights at the Inn of the Governors, four operas with orchestra seating (Rigoletto, Salome, Daughter of the Regiment, La Finta Giardiniera), Santa Fe Chamber music concert, lectures by Desiree Mays, backstage tour of Santa Fe opera house, Georgia O’Keeffe museum, Santa Fe museum pass and sightseeing, daily American breakfasts, three dinners, and a reception.
For more information go to www.creativetravelarrangers.com, email carolrabin@gmail.com, or call 650-854-4412.


September Added Attractions

Ciao, Opera Mavens. We labored all weekend to find more good stuff for you!

An Overture to the 2014-15 Opera Season – The musicians of the SFO Orchestra are pleased to announce a FREE concert conducted by our own fabulous Dawn Harms, featuring operatic favorites as well as some special surprises!
Thu Sep 4 at 8pm, SFCM Concert Hall, 50 Oak St, San Francisco

SAN DIEGO OPERA  www.sdopera.com
Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello in Recital – Even if you can’t attend the concert, you can read about this lovely young “Operatic Power Couple” with connections to the Bay Area (Ailyn was Merola 2005 and sang Violetta to Stephen’s Alfredo in SFO’s Traviata this summer) and their thoughts on expanding the art form’s audience base:
Fri Sep 5 at 7:30pm, Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park – Barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien will be featured in LOC’s annual preview concert singing the title character in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (which he performed at SFO in 2006); he will join sopranos Marina Rebeka, Ana María Martínez, and bass Andrea Silvestrelli in the final scene from the opera. The program also includes Wagner’s overture to Tannhäuser, the Act I finale of Puccini’s Tosca featuring baritone Mark Delavan (Adler 1986-87) as Scarpia (a role he will reprise at SFO later this fall), and the entire third act of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Sat Sep 6 at 5:30pm PST, available live online at wfmt.com

WEST BAY OPERA  www.wbopera.org
Season Preview – General Director José Luis Moscovich and WBO’s singers present a preview of their upcoming season. FREE for San Jose Opera Guild and JCC Silicon Valley members, $10 non-members.
Fri Sep 19 at 10am, Addison-Penzak JCC Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos

OPERA SAN JOSE  www.operasj.org
Season Preview – Two-hour program of vocal highlights and arias performed by members of OSJ’s resident ensemble followed by Q&A session. *FREE*
Wed Sep 24 at 7pm, Sunnyvale Public Library, 456 W. Olive Ave, Sunnyvale
Irene Dalis: Diva, Impresaria, Legend – Here’s another way to learn more about and support OSJ! Linda Riebel’s book (with foreword by Seattle Opera’s former General Director Speight Jenkins) is filled with backstage anecdotes, stories of luck and perseverance, and sketches of the great impresarios Rudolf Bing, Wieland Wagner, Kurt Herbert Adler, and Lotfi Mansouri. Now available in paperback for just $20 through amazon.com; all proceeds benefit OSJ:  http://bit.ly/1qryCYu

STANFORD CONTINUING STUDIES  http://continuingstudies.stanford.edu/
Virgil’s Aeneid: The Romans’ National Epic – Want to get a head start on SFO’s Les Troyens this summer? Go straight to the source! Associate Professor of Classics Christopher Krebs leads a six-week course of study on the story of Aeneas: his flight from Troy, adventures, sacrifices, and long-anticipated but delayed arrival in Italy. Cost $255; register online for course code CLA 49.
Tue Sep 23-Oct 28, 7-9pm, Stanford University

BAY SHORE LYRIC OPERA  www.bslopera.com
Let’s Make an Opera Unique opportunity for children (ages 5-16) to perform in one of the world’s most popular fairy tale operas, Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck! Principal roles will be taken by professional opera singers with a children’s chorus comprised of dancing and singing angels, animals, gingerbread children, and others; every child receives a part, no audition required. Cost $90, register on website: www.svjcc.org/culturalarts/cultural-arts-classes-and-lectures/
Classes: Sun Sep 28 through Nov 16, 2-5pm; Dress Rehearsal: Fri Nov 21, 3-5pm
Performances: Sat Nov 22 at 7pm and Sun 23 at 11:30am and 4pm
Addison-Penzak JCC of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos

Blu-Ray Film Presentation
– Livermore Valley Opera’s production of Cenerentola from last season, plus a brief discussion of the production elements involved in staging the opera. FREE for members, $5 for non-members; open to all, includes light refreshments.
Tue Sep 30 at 12:30pm, Peacock Theatre, Golden Rain Rd, Walnut Creek

BONUS ITEM: Philippe Sly in Tolkien inspired video
The following is by Mathieu Sly, brother of current Adler Fellow Philippe Sly:
“Since 2001 when The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in theatres, my brother and I have been relentless fans of both films and books…
Here we offer our voices again. We want to thank everyone who made those first films and inspired two young boys to imagine.”


Hot News for Opera Fans

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Last evening a packed house at the SF Conservatory of Music Concert Hall listened intently to the Susannah Insight Panel. Sponsored by the SF Opera Guild, the panel members included the composer Carlisle Floyd, Patricia Racette (Merola 1988) (Susannah), director Michael Cavanagh, conductor Karen Kamensek, and SF Opera General Director David Gockley. It was an exciting discussion with lots of questions from the audience. Susannah runs Sep 6 thru Sep 21 at the SF Opera.

Carlisle Floyd

Carlisle Floyd

Patricia Racette

Patricia Racette

Michael Cavanagh and OperaBobb share a chuckle

Michael Cavanagh and OperaBobb share a chuckle




At the reception afterward, I was lucky enough to be given a copy of Linda Riebel’s new book on Irene Dalis. It’s subtitled Diva, Impresaria, Legend: How a Metropolitan Opera Star Created America’s Unique Opera Company (i.e., Opera San Jose). I’m looking forward to starting the book as soon as next week’s intensive opera schedule trails off.

Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo

Tomorrow Night, August 30 at 7pm PDT!
Thirteen singers will compete in a live webcast from Placido Domingo’s 2014 Operalia Competition in Los Angeles. The stream is at http://tinyurl.com/q88f88y and will be available for the following two or three months on demand FREE of charge.


Wagner Fans Alert.
This summer’s Bayreuth Festival production of Tannhauser in now available on YouTube. I’ll be honest with you I don’t understand this production. It’s beyond my ken, but it didn’t get in the way of the wonderful singing. The chorus was sublime. Torsten Kerl (who sang here in the 2008 production of Die Tote Stadt) is Tannhauser.  http://tinyurl.com/n43psqt

For Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996) Fans

Tchaikovsky’s one act opera Iolanta from Baden-Baden 2009 is available on YouTube. Valery Gergiev conducts. Next February the Met will simulcast this opera along with Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castlehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0OBhzoJUrc


Special Events – September 2014

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Plenty of opera-tunities to party hearty in your fanciest formalwear or get down and dirty in T-shirt and jeans!

http://sfopera.com/Events/Opera-Guild/Opera-Ball-2014.aspx or 415-565-3204
Opera Ball 2014: Passione – A magical evening awaits! SF City Hall will be transformed into Caesar’s Palace for an elegant cocktail reception and banquet before the Opening Night performance of Norma followed by desserts and dancing afterwards. Tickets start at $1500 (a portion is tax-deductible); all proceeds help SFOG provide the benefits of arts education that only opera can deliver to more than 60,000 students in over 230 schools throughout Northern California every year.
Fri Sep 5 at 5pm, San Francisco City Hall

http://sfopera.com/Bravo-Club/BRAVO!-Gala-Tickets.aspx or 415-621-4403
Opening Night Gala – Celebrate SFO’s 92nd Season with other young opera lovers (ages 21-40)! Begin the evening with champagne on the outdoor loggia of the Opera House before the performance; festivities continue afterwards at nearby Jardinière restaurant featuring their signature cuisine and sophisticated cocktails, plus two floors of dancing. Tickets start at $195; last year’s Gala sold out so purchase your tickets soon to be included in this new tradition.
Fri Sep 5 at 6:30pm, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

OPERA SAN JOSE  www.operasj.org or 408-437-4450
Opening Night Party – Reception for OSJ’s new General Director Larry Hancock, new Music Director Joseph Marcheso, and opening night cast of Rigoletto; includes prosecco and wine, savories and dessert, coffee and tea. Tickets $50 per person; available by advance purchase only, no sales at the door.
Sat Sep 6 at 11pm, Palm Room, Sainte Claire Hotel, 302 So Market St, San Jose

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA  http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/Opera-in-the-Park.aspx Opera in the Park – Annual al fresco concert featuring stars from the upcoming fall season and SFO Orchestra conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti. *FREE*; bring a picnic to enjoy or purchase food and beverages at the event.
Sun Sep 7 at 1:30pm, Sharon Meadow, Bowling Green Drive, Golden Gate Park, SF

WEST EDGE OPERA  www.westedgeopera.org or 510-841-1903
Opera Off the Deep End – WEO’s 4th Annual Comedy Night; enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres followed by a delicious buffet dinner and rollicking evening of hilarious musical entertainment including Music Director Jonathan Khuner’s Operatic Nightmares I Have Known: Tales from the Prompter’s Box, soprano Marie Plette’s version of Anna Russell’s hilarious lecture on Wagner’s Ring Cycle, tenor Pedro Rodelas singing selections from Cabaret, and a special appearance by the delightful Kathleen Moss. Tickets $125 VIP Preferred Seating, $75 Regular; all proceeds support WEO (a portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible).
Sat Sep 13 at 6:30pm, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave, Albany

50th Anniversary Concert – Soprano Nicolle Foland (Adler 1995-96) and bass-baritone Bojan Knecevic (Adler 1995) present a program of opera arias and duets accompanied by pianist Ron Valentino (Merola 1990); also on the program is chamber music by the Delphi Piano Trio and the Rossmoor Chorus performing favorite songs from the 1960s. *FREE* and open to the public, no tickets required; light refreshments served at intermission.
Mon Sep 15 at 6:30pm, Rossmoor Event Center, 1021 Stanley Dollar Dr, Walnut Creek

BAY SHORE LYRIC OPERA  www.bslopera.com
Opera in the Park – Come enjoy a FREE family-friendly concert including beloved arias and ensembles from favorite composers plus a preview of music from our upcoming season (Hansel and Gretel, Madama Butterfly, The Child and The Spells).
Sun Sep 14 at 3pm, Town Square (across from Fox Theater), Redwood City
Sat Sep 27 at 11am, Santana Row Valencia Stage, San Jose

LIVERMORE VALLEY OPERA  www.livermorevalleyopera.com or 925-373-6800 Opening Night Gala – Welcome reception followed by three-course dinner with wine timed to accommodate pre-opera lecture and new earlier curtain time; specialty desserts served at the Bankhead Theater. Tickets $85 per person (separate ticket required for opera performance), available online or at the Bankhead Ticket Office.
Sat Sep 27 at 4pm, Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard, 39 So Livermore Ave, Livermore