Opera Broadcasts – June 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens! Here are your broadcast opera-tunities for June, as well as a couple of extra treats for late May:

Boston Symphony Orchestra: Andris Nelsons’ Inaugural Concert – Featuring acclaimed Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais and the internationally renowned German tenor Jonas Kaufmann singing selections from the Wagnerian and Italian verismo repertoires, then joining forces for a powerful duet from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. The concert opens with the overture to Wagner’s Tannhauser – the work that first inspired a five-year-old Nelsons to a life in music – and closes with Respighi’s spectacular orchestral showcase, Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome).
Fri May 29 at 9pm and Sat May 30 at 3am on KQED 9
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, performed by today’s greatest opera stars and talents. Hosted by soprano Deborah Voigt (Adler 1986), the special covers a wide range of operatic ground from heartbreak to hilarity, delivered by such artists as Natalie Dessay, Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, Juan Diego Florez, Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996), and Voigt herself. These extraordinary moments, selected from more than 75 productions, were initially seen as part of the Met’s global Live in HD movie-theater transmissions, later shared with PBS audiences.
Sat May 30 at 8pm and Sun May 31 at 2am on KQED Plus
Sun May 31 at 6pm and Mon June 1 at 12am on KQED Life and KQED 9

La Ciociara (Two Women) – On the occasion of the world premiere of Marco Tutino and Fabio Ceresa‘s opera Two Women, the Italian Cultural Institute of SF will present a special screening of the 1960 film of the same title by Vittorio De Sica, starring Sophia Loren. Tickets: $20 ($18 for Institute members); for more information contact the Italian Cultural Institute at 415-788-7142.
Sun May 31 at 6:30pm, New People Cinema, 1746 Post St, San Francisco

Tosca (Puccini) – This sexually explosive thriller depicts a corrupt police chief who sets his sights on a glamorous singer as he plots to destroy her lover, a politically rebellious painter. Featuring Lianna Haroutounian (SFO debut, Floria Tosca), Brian Jagde (Adler 2012, Mario Cavaradossi), Mark Delavan (Adler 1987, Baron Scarpia), Scott Conner (Cesare Angelotti), Dale Travis (Adler 1989, Sacristan), Joel Sorensen (Spoletta), Efraín Solís (Adler 2015, Sciarrone), and Hadleigh Adams (Adler 2014, Jailer); conducted by Riccardo Frizza. Recorded Fall 2014, War Memorial Opera House.
Sun June 7 at 8pm (also available on-demand at KDFC.com for 4 weeks after airing)

The Barber of Seville for Families – Prepare to be charmed by Figaro, Seville’s favorite barber, as he helps two young lovers find their happily-ever-after in a series of comic twists and turns. The Barber of Seville for Families is a great way for audiences young and old to discover the magic of opera. The production is sung in English with English subtitles and is preceded by a 15-minute introduction. Advanced registration is encouraged and can be done at the link HERE. Families who register in advance can enter the theater via an express line during the event. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the show. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration does not guarantee you a seat.
Sat June 6 at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm
Sun June 7 at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm
The Creativity Theater, Children’s Creativity Museum, 221 4th St, San Francisco
The Magic Flute for Families – Bring the whole family on a magical journey with this one hour version of Mozart’s famous opera. The Magic Flute is the charming story of Prince Tamino and bird-catcher Papageno’s journey to rescue Pamina, a beautiful princess who has been kidnapped by the magician Sarastro. Along the way they find their true loves and discover the virtues of wisdom and forgiveness. This production was presented for families at San Francisco Opera in 2007 and is in English with English subtitles. Admission is FREE and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open 30 minutes prior and a 15 minute live introduction will precede each screening.
Fri June 19 at 11am, San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Ave, San Leandro
Sun June 21 at 3pm, Belmont Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont
Sat June 27 at 2pm, Corte Madera Public Library, 707 Meadowsweet Dr, Corte Madera

The Tales of Hoffmann – New digital 4K HD restoration of the classic 1951 film version of Offenbach’s opera in which a young poet named Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville) broods over his failed romances. First, his affair with the beautiful Olympia (Moira Shearer) is shattered when he realizes that she is really a mechanical woman designed by a scientist. Next, he believes that a striking prostitute loves him, only to find out she was hired to fake her affections by the dastardly Dapertutto (Robert Helpmann). Lastly, a magic spell claims the life of his final lover.
Beginning June 5, Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Aida (Verdi) – Franco Zeffirelli’s 2001 production was filmed in the composer’s hometown of Busseto, Italy and in the opera house named after him, the Teatro di Giuseppe Verdi. Starring Adina Aaron as Aida, Scott Piper as Radames, and Kate Aldrich as Amneris.  Massimiliano Stefanelli conducts.
Sat June 13, potluck at 12 noon followed by DVD presentation at 2pm
10350 Cabrillo Hwy, 3 miles south of Pescadero Road (look for the American flag)

The Merry Widow (Lehar) – Broadway director and choreographer Susan Stroman makes her Met debut with a lavish new staging of this effervescent operetta. Renee Fleming adds a new character to her Met repertory as Hanna, the widowed millionairess. Sir Andrew Davis conducts a stellar cast that includes Nathan Gunn as Danilo, Alek Shrader (Adler 2009) as Camille de Rosillon, and Sir Thomas Allen as Baron Zeta; Broadway star Kelli O’Hara makes her Met debut as Zeta’s wife Valencienne.
Sun June 21 at 8pm and Mon June 22 at 2am on KQED Life

Don Giovanni (Mozart) – Meet the most legendary seducer in history, who with the help of his valet Leporello, seduced, conquered and abandoned thousands of young women. Punished for having killed the Commendatore, Don Giovanni manages to escape and keeps on seducing women, while sowing anger in Seville. Soon, he has no choice but repent or die. Cast includes Ildebrando D’Arcangelo in the title role with Luca Pisaroni (Leporello), Lenneke Ruiten (Donna Anna), Anett Fritsch (Donna Elvira), and Tomasz Konieczny (Il Commendatore). This production from the 2014 Salzburg Festival is directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.
Sun June 21 at 12noon and Tues June 23 at 7:15pm
Camera 3 Entertainment, 288 S Second St, San Jose

Il Trovatore (Verdi) – This musical feast from Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden stars Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996) and Plácido Domingo in debut roles at the head of an impressive ensemble conducted by Daniel Barenboim with stage direction by Philipp Stölzl.
Sat June 27 at 7pm Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main Street, Napa

La Bohème (Puccini) – Director John Copley‘s timeless production returns to the Covent Garden stage for the very last time. This tender and ultimately tragic love story is given moving expression through Puccini’s beautiful and memorable score. The captivating story unfolds against the colourful spectacle of the Café Momus and brings the noise and vibrancy of bohemian 19th century Paris to life in stunning detail. Cinema audiences will be treated to a world-class cast including Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996) as Mimi, Joseph Calleja as Rodolfo, Lucas Meachem (Adler 2005) as Marcello, and Jennifer Rowley as Musetta, with Dan Ettinger conducting.
Sun June 28 at 11am, Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St at Sacramento, San Francisco


The Joy of Streaming Opera Just Got Better

Ciao, Opera Mavens. First a brief note about the Two Women press conference I attended a few days ago at the Opera House with Composer Marco Tutino, Conductor Nicola Luisotti, Director Francesca Zambello, Soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, and SF Opera General Director David Gockley. Moderator was Dramaturg Kip Cranna. The hour-long conference is available on-line at:


All Opera Mavens will enjoy it. It was very interesting and quite entertaining. Francesca Zambello was very funny and David Gockley revealed his “clunker” operas. And, never in a million years would you guess that the gorgeous Anna Caterina Antonacci was born in 1961.

THE BIG NEWS FOR OPERA STREAMERS! It’s an opera bonanza!

A brand new site just came on-line in the past couple of weeks. It’s called “The Opera Platform.” It’s FREE and is available at www.theoperaplatform.eu. Fifteen major European opera companies have joined together to stream live operas once a month and maintain each on-line for six months. And, the BIG NEWS is that subtitles in several languages, including English, are available.

The first production was La Traviata from the Teatro Real in Madrid on May 8. Subtitles were not available for the first week or so, but are available in English now. The second was Szymanoski’s Krol Roger from the Royal Opera in London. Like Traviata, Krol Roger is now available with English subtitles. Sibelius’s Kullervo was broadcast yesterday from the Finish National Opera. Wagner’s Gotterdammerung will be streamed on June 7 from the Weiner Staatsoper in Austria.

Streaming opera is the wave of the future, just like the movies nowadays withNetflix or Amazon Prime, etc. If you, like me, don’t like watching opera on your laptop (picture small, sound limited), get a Chromecast thumb-sized media device ($29 at Target, slightly less at Amazon) and plug it into the HDMI slot on the back of your flat screen. You will be SO happy! With Chromecast you can even use your smart phone to communicate with your flat screen TV. Some smart TVs and Blue Ray players have internet capablities built in and may not need this media device. Here are more opera streaming sources.

Culture Box is a French web site with lots of FREE opera availability. Not many productions have English subtitles. Go to: http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/live/musique/opera/. It’s not practical to list all their operas here, but below are few of the ones I’ve seen. Not all of these productions are brilliant, but there are no clunkers here either.

Ariane et Barbe Bleu (Paul Dukas) May 6, 2015 from Strasbuourg

Don Giovanni (Mozart) Mar 22, 2015 from Monte Carlo

Aleko (Rachmaninoff) Feb 15, 2015 from Opera National Lorraine

The Barber of Seville (Rossini) Sep 25, 2014 from l’Opera Bastille

The Damnation of Faust (Berlioz) Oct 8, 2013 from Roue

Medici is a gold mine of opera, with a humongous catalog of productions ranging from the 1950’s forward. Go to www.medici.tv. Medici usually offers their live transmissions for free, but to use their giant catalog, they charge.

Arte, another French site, offers lots of operas, but many are not viewable in the US. Arte is a partner of The Opera Platform and pretty much the same operas will appear on this site. Go to http://medici.tv.

Italy’s RAI5 often has great streams, but navigating the site is tricky. Here is a May 1, 2015 Turandot from La Scala with Nina Stemme..


In the US, Indiana University offers several of their recent productions for streaming. Go to http://music.indiana.edu/iumusiclive/streaming/.

Also in the US, the Met offers a very large catalog for streaming. They charge. You can sign up for a free 7day trial at http://ondemand.metopera.org/.

In Europe, Stream Opera has a large catalog with a charge of 3.99 Euros per view. Go to: https://streamopera.com/

Finally, www.operacat.com and YouTube both offer a gigantic listing of operas available. Don’t fail to explore.


Opera Performances – June 2015

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Memorial Day is fast approaching, which can only mean one thing: summer opera season has begun!

STOCKTON OPERA  www.stocktonopera.org or 209-951-0196
Die Fledermaus (J.Strauss) – Champagne and song interweave at a masked ball where romantic entanglements run wild: Gabriel von Eisenstein (tenor Daniel Ebbers) is in disguise and hot pursuit of a Hungarian Countess who turns out to be his wife Rosalinde (soprano Jessica Siena). Fully staged operetta with spoken dialogue in English; Peter Jaffe conducting.
Fri May 29 at 7:30pm and Sun May 31 at 2pm
Faye Spanos Concert Hall, University of the Pacific, Stockton

VERISMO OPERA  www.verismoopera.org or 707-864-5508
Il Tabarro (Puccini) – Gritty tale of a love triangle and its tragic conclusion on the Seine River; the evocative music includes fluid river images, light-hearted drinking themes, and passionate duets. Tickets: $25 General, $18 Seniors/Students, $12 Children
Sat May 30, Jun 6, Jun 13, Jun 20, and Jun 27 at 8pm
Sun May 31, Jun 7, Jun 14, Jun 21, and Jun 28 at 2pm
Thu Jun 4 and Jun 11 at 7:30pm – Special Family Nights staged with piano; all tickets sold at door, $10 (children under 12 FREE)
Bay Terrace Theater (with Mira Theatre Guild), 51 Daniels Ave, Vallejo

POCKET OPERA  www.pocketopera.org or 415-972-8934
I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo) and My Fair Galatea (von Suppe) – Double bill featuring new Pippin translations. In Pagliacci, real life intrudes upon the stage play, overtaking and bringing it to a searing end while the audience looks on. My Fair Galatea (by the composer reputed to be the “Father of Viennese Operetta”) is the story of Pygmalion’s ravishingly beautiful statue which, when brought to life, turns out to be a handful when she falls in love with the other man. Tickets: $45 General, $42 Senior, $15 Youth
Sun May 31 and Jun 14 at 2pm, Florence Gould Theatre, SF Legion of Honor
Sun Jun 7 at 2pm, Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St, Berkeley

Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) – Compact, narrated concert adaptation of one of the world’s most popular operas; featuring sopranos Amy Stevens (Susanna), Meghan Kelly (Countess) and Ellen Leslie (Marcellina), mezzo Erin O’Meally (Cherubino), and baritones Igor Viera (Figaro) and Ryan Bradford (Count) accompanied by pianist Efrat Levy. A perfect introduction for young people or those looking for their first opera experience! Tickets $15 Adults, $10 Seniors, $5 Children; limited seating, call number above for reservations.
Wed Jun 3 and Thu Jun 4 at 7:30pm, Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, SF Presidio

HANDEL OPERA PROJECT  http://thehandeloperaproject.webs.com/events
La Clemenza di Tito
(Mozart) – Co-production with Berkeley Chamber Opera featuring tenor Michael Desnoyers as Tito, soprano Eliza O’Malley as Vitellia, and mezzo Elizabeth Baker as Sesto; William Ludtke conducting.
Tickets: $30 General, $10 Students
Sun Jun 7 at 8pm, Christian Science Organization Building, 2601 Durant Ave, Berkeley

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA  www.sfopera.com  or 415-864-3330
The Trojans (Berlioz) – This visionary masterpiece (French grand opera’s answer to Wagner’s Ring) takes audiences from the tragic fall of Troy to the dawn of a new empire and is presented here for the first time in 47 years! Donald Runnicles conducts a world-class cast starring mezzo Susan Graham (Merola 1987) and tenor
Bryan Hymel (Merola 2001) as the ill-fated lovers Dido and Aeneas.
Sun Jun 7* at 1pm; Fri Jun 12, Tue Jun 16, Sat Jun 20, Thu Jun 25*, Wed Jul 1* at 6pm
Check out The Trojans are Coming! Are You Ready for Them?

Two Women (Tutino) – WORLD PREMIERE of a moving drama with lushly expressive score, based on a novel that was adapted into an award-winning movie starring Sophia Loren. A mother (soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci) and her daughter (soprano Sarah Shafer) attempt to survive the chaos in Italy at the end of World War II; Nicola Luisotti conducting.
Sat Jun 13, Thu Jun 19*, Mon Jun 23, and Mon Jun 30* at 7:30pm; Sun Jun 28* at 2pm

Marriage of Figaro (Mozart) – The servant Susanna (soprano Lisette Oropesa) and her fiancée Figaro (bass-baritone Philippe Sly, Adler 2013-14) thwart the lecherous plans of their aristocratic employer Count Almaviva (baritone Luca Pisaroni) with the aid of his forgiving wife the Countess (soprano Nadine Sierra, Adler 2011-12); Patrick Summers (Merola 1986-87) conducting.
Sun Jun 14*, Jun 21*, and Jul 5 at 2pm; Thu Jun 18*, Wed Jun 24, Sat Jun 27, Mon Jun 29, and Fri Jul 3 at 7:30pm

* OperaVision HD video projection screens featured in Balcony level this performance
All performances at War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco
Pre-Opera Talks begin one hour prior to curtain time in the Orchestra section of the main theater before every performance; FREE to ticket holders.

www.cinnabartheater.org or 707-763-8920
Falstaff (Verdi) – Performed entirely in English, this irreverent opera combines a glorious score with uproarious comedy. Falstaff (baritone Jo Vincent Parks) schemes to get rich by bedding his neighbors’ wives, but the ladies turn the tables with a mischievous series of tricks and disguises; featuring a 10-piece orchestra led by Music Director Mary Chun. Tickets $40 Adults, $25 Youth (21 and under), $9 Middle- and High-School Students (Jun 12 only)
Fri Jun 12, Jun 19, Jun 26, Sat Jun 13, Jun 20, Jun 27 at 8pm; Sun Jun 14, Jun 21, Jun 28 at 2pm, Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd No, Petaluma

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY  www.sfsymphony.org or 415-864-6000
Fidelio (Beethoven) – Concert version of an inspiring tale of courage and the power of love, starring soprano Nina Stemme as the heroic Leonore and tenor Brandon Jovanovich as the husband she struggles to rescue from unjust imprisonment; Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.
Thu Jun 25 and Fri Jun 26 at 8pm, Sun Jun 28 at 7:30pm
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

LYRIC THEATRE www.lyrictheatre.org or 408-986-1455
Iolanthe (Gilbert and Sullivan) – Fairy curses, an incompetent politician, and a clever Royal Guardsman provide a preposterous plot, pleasing patter, and memorable music; performed in English with supertitles and pure panache! Tickets: $37 Adults, $34 Seniors, $34 Students ($20 on Thu 6/25), $11 Youth (17 and under)
Sat Jun 20, Thu Jun 25, Fri Jun 26, Sat Jun 27 at 8pm; Sun Jun 21 and Jun 28 at 2pm
Montgomery Theater, 271 So Market St, San Jose


The Trojans Are Coming! Are You Ready For Them?

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Excitement builds now that the production is in War Memorial Opera House! Here are some items to whet your appetite & enhance your enjoyment:

REMINDER: SFOG Preview Lectures by Dr. Timothy Flynn start next week
Tues May 26 at 10am, JCC Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Rd, Los Gatos
Tues May 26 at 7:30pm, First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto
Wed May 27 at 12 noon, Koret Auditorium, New Main Library, 100 Larkin St, SF
Wed May 27 at 8pm, Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette
Thu May 28 at 8pm, Villa Marin, 100 Thorndale Dr, San Rafael

FROM SFO’s FACEBOOK PAGE  www.facebook.com/SFOpera
“Company General Director David Gockley, pictured here, tests out one of the tugs used to transport the 32 ton set. The largest piece is 9 tons!”

Gockley on Trojans tug

The Women of The Trojans, Part I:  Cassandra
The Women of The Trojans, Part II:  Dido

10 Characters You Need to Know!
Behind the Scenes Tour of Set (in three parts)
Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak at Costumes

An excellent collection of exclusive articles about Les Troyens, plus the libretto translated into English (so you don’t have to read supertitles for five hours)!

The entire plot told in comic book form (art by William Elliott with music by the Mariinsky company of St. Petersburg conducted by Valery Gergiev at the Edinburgh Festival)

One front row orchestra ticket (Seat A 117) for the nearly sold-out performance on Sunday June 7 at 1pm (note early start time); paid subscription price is $365 (full value $384), will sell for $350 to first solid buyer. Please contact seller directly as soon as possible: Christine Kradjian at 650-703-1851 or bkradjian@aol.com.