Opera Lectures and Classes – August 2015

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

Who’s Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’s Grandest Art – San Francisco Opera’s dramaturg Dr. Kip Cranna offers an insider’s look at the world of opera and a whirlwind tour through opera’s 400-year long history, using video examples (with subtitles) to illustrate the evolution of this multi-faceted and fascinating art form. Tickets: $8 Commonwealth Club members, $20 Non-members, $7 Students.
Wed Aug 5 at 6pm (networking reception begins at 5:30pm)
Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St, San Francisco

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!
The Magic Flute (Mozart) – Sun Aug 9 at 2pm
San Francisco Public Library, Noe Valley Branch, 451 Jersey St (near 24th and Castro)

San Francisco Opera Fall 2015 Season Preview Course – Join instructor Pamela Kamatani, PhD, for a lively course on the history of opera and an introduction to all the operas in the upcoming season. Enroll in Music 27B, 3 units; $158 for 16 classes, Continuing Education enrollment available. For more information call 415-239-3641.
Mon Aug 17-Dec 14 from 6-9pm, Arts Building, Room A214, CCSF, 50 Phelan Ave

Viva Verdi! His Operas and Their Role in the Birth of Modern Italy – Verdi’s operatic masterworks brought to the stage the values and issues of the “Risorgimento” movement, giving vivid creative expression to the ideals of his time. SFO Dramaturg Dr. Kip Cranna leads this series of classes exploring the composer’s life and art in their historical context and use video examples to examine in detail his magnificent music dramas, whose creative genius continues to thrill audiences everywhere. No previous opera background required. Just watch, listen, and enjoy. Class begin Thurs Sept 17 – Nov 5, 10 – 11:40am
Registration going on now.  Please click the link above for registration and fee info


Opera Broadcasts – August 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens! Here are your radio, TV, and movie opera-tunities for August:

La Bohème (Puccini) – Alexia Voulgaridou (Mimì), Michael Fabiano (Rodolfo), Nadine Sierra (Adler 2011-12, Musetta), Alexey Markov (Marcello), Christian Van Horn (Colline), Hadleigh Adams (Adler 2013-14, Schaunard), Dale Travis (Adler 1988-89, Benoit & Alcindoro); conducted by Giuseppe Finzi. Recorded Fall 2014, War Memorial Opera House.
Sun Aug 2 at 8pm on KDFC (also on-demand at KDFC.com for 4 weeks after airing)
Rigoletto (Verdi) – Željko Lucic (Rigoletto), Aleksandra Kurzak (Gilda), Francesco Demuro (The Duke of Mantua), Kendall Gladen (Adler 2006-07, Maddalena); conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Recorded Fall 2012, War Memorial Opera House.
Sat Aug 29 at 10am on WFMT.com

Encores! Great Performances at the Met – This special program features 19 unforgettable arias and duets selected from the past 8 seasons of Great Performances at The Met broadcasts. Hosted by soprano Deborah Voigt (Adler 1986-87), the program covers a wide range of operatic ground, from heartbreak to hilarity, delivered by some of opera’s biggest stars.
Sun Aug 2 at 3pm on KQED Plus
Tue Aug 4 at 7pm on KQED Plus
Wed Aug 5 at 1am on KQED Plus

Manon (Massenet) – Anna Netrebko‘s (Merola 1996) dazzling portrayal of the tragic title character in Laurent Pelly’s production. Piotr Beczala (Des Grieux) and Paulo Szot (Lescaut) star as the men in her life; Fabio Luisi conducts.
Sun Aug 2 at 8pm on KQED Life
Mon Aug 3 at 2am on KQED Life
La Traviata (Verdi) – Natalie Dessay puts on Violetta’s infamous red dress in this provocative Willy Decker production, Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Germont; Fabio Luisi conducts.
Sun Aug 23 at 9:30pm on KQED Life
Mon Aug 24 at 3:30am on KQED Life
Iolanta (Tchaikovsky) / Bluebeard’s Castle (Bartok) – Intriguing double bill consisting of an enchanting fairy tale followed by an erotic psychological thriller. Anna Netrebko stars as the beautiful blind girl who experiences love for the first time in Iolanta, while Nadja Michael is the unwitting victim of Bluebeard, played by Mikhail Petrenko; Valery Gergiev conducts.
Sun Aug 30 at 8pm on KQED Life
Mon Aug 31 at 2am on KQED Life

La Fille du Regiment (Donizetti) – Director Laurent Pelly updates this Vienna State Opera production to the early 20th century and sends up the comic-opera genre with a frantic stream of visual delights. Natalie Dessay leads the charge as Marie with Juan Diego Florez as Tonio and opera legend Montserrat Caballé as the Duchess of Krackenthorp; Yves Abel conducts.
Sun Aug 23 at 12 noon and Tues Aug 25 at 7:15pm
Camera 3 Entertainment, 288 S. Second St, San Jose

L’Elisir d’Amore (Donizetti) – In this 2012 Festspielhaus Baden-Baden production, the bel canto classic has been set in the Wild West where mysterious potions and dubious medicine men offer the solutions to all of life’s problems. Cast includes Rolando Villazon (Merola 1998) as both stage director and Nemorino, Miah Persson as Adina, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Dulcamara, and Roman Trekel as Belcore; Pablo Heras-Casado conducting.
Sat Aug 29 at 7pm, Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main St, Napa


Special Events – August 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Just a few items not on our usual menu this month…

OPERA GUILD  http://sfopera.com/Opera-Guild/Events.aspx
Bay Chapter Summer Potluck Garden Party – Join us for a delightful afternoon and evening with your fellow opera lovers! We’ll start the afternoon by informing you about East Bay Chapter’s past fiscal year as well as about plans for the coming year. After installing the new Board of Directors we will enjoy a potluck supper enhanced by wine served by the beverage stewards. Please bring a salad, cold meat, or shrimp dish to share; the board members will provide desserts. This event is open to all; we particularly welcome those who are not familiar with SFOG and would like to learn more about it. Space is limited, reservations required; for information contact Silvia Lin (925-838-9255 or slininalamo@gmail.com).
Sat Aug 1 at 4:30pm, 921 Kirkcrest Rd, Alamo

Marin Chapter Champagne Gala – A grand operatic afternoon in the lovely Music Pavilion featuring the Adler Fellows in concert; enjoy a reception with the artists along with hors d’oeuvres, soft beverages, and champagne. Tickets $50 per person; benefit chapter’s 33rd year of taking opera to the schools of Marin. For information contact Anne Zucchi (415-924-9352 or azucchiz@gmail.com).
Sat Aug 8 at 2pm, San Domenico Conservatory, 1500 Butterfield Rd, San Anselmo

AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS www.americanbach.org or 415-621-7900
Semele (Marais) – Drawn from the same mythological source that inspired Handel over three decades later, Marin Marais’s 1709 opera is an amorous tale of desire and ambition. Jeffrey Thomas conducts musicians from the ABS Festival Orchestra and American Bach Choir, with soloists from the ABS Academy, in the first complete concert performances outside of Europe of this gem from the golden era of Paris.
Thu Aug 13 & Fri Aug 14 at 8pm, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St, SF


End of an Era

Ciao, Opera Mavens. We are saddened that one of our Bay Area’s greatest opera cognoscenti passed away this past Monday at age 97. Verna Parino was loved by so many of us and we will miss her.

Verna was perhaps best know for her dedication to the music of Richard Wagner. (She was affectionately known as a “Ringhead” as you will see in the tribute below from the President of the Wagner Society of Northern California, Terri Stuart.) She was much more than a Wagner fan though. She was a published author and the steward of the San Francisco Opera Guild Preview Lectures for many years.

Here is Terri’s tribute:

Dear Wagner Society Members,

It is with profound sadness that I must inform the Society that our greatly beloved member, Verna Parino, died peacefully on Monday July 20th. It is hard to think about the Wagner Society without many wonderful memories of Verna, who was one of the founding members of the Wagner Society of Northern California and served as its President for many years. Verna had also been a member of the predecessor organization Wagner International Institute.

Verna’s interest in opera had beginnings similar to that of many people who were first exposed to opera with Met Opera radio broadcasts. For Verna that happened in Minneapolis where she grew up and went to college. Interestingly enough, Verna went to Minneapolis to see two Minnesota Concert Opera productions of “Legend of the Ring” a revised 4 hour version of Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2013. Verna sat in the front of the orchestra seat and when the artists bowed at the end of the performance, her dear friend tenor Jay Hunter Morris blew her a kiss.

Verna Parino was not just a Wagnerian, she was also a hard-working member of the Marin Chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild for many years. She also served as the Director of Preview Lectures for the San Francisco Opera Guild Chapters. Verna scoured the globe and invited scholars to visit the many Guild Chapters to lecture about the San Francisco Opera’s performances each year. Along the way she befriended many scholars, authors, artists and singers. Nothing invigorated Verna more than sharing her love of music, opera and Wagner with others. Verna was especially fond of the late Monte Pederson a terrific bass-baritone and the winner of the very first Wagner Society Grant recipient. Verna saw Pederson give a many Wagner performances and especially his riveting Wotan at La Scala and Seattle and other Opera Houses.

In her lifetime Verna had seen 76 Ring Performances – the last of which was in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2015. Verna witnessed Rings on 4 continents – the most unusual of which was in a Ring in Shanghai. I know many members have wonderful Ring stories about Verna. The most striking characteristic of Verna, for me, was that she always had interesting and positive comments about productions, conducting, singing and Wagner scholarship. No matter how unusual a particular regie theater production may have been, Verna could always manage to find something positive to say.

Her family will soon provide us with information about a memorial service for Verna and the Society will keep you posted about information as it becomes available.

With great sadness,

Terri Stuart, President

The Wagner Society of Northern California


Here is an article which appeared in the San Francisco Classical Voice