Young Leontyne’s 1957 San Francisco Opera Debut Season: A Supernova is Born

The San Francisco Opera season of 50 years ago was especially memorable. The long-awaited debut of Maria Callas was aborted when she did not show up for her dress rehearsals of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and was fired by San Francisco Opera General Director Kurt Herbert Adler. Her scheduled performances in two roles were taken … Read more

Review: The Remaking of San Francisco Opera, Part IV -“The Rake’s Progress”, December 9, 2007

In this four-part series I have identified several major changes in the direction of the San Francisco Opera, under the new leadership of David Gockley. The series has sought to put four operas, each of which I felt was presented in exemplary performances in Fall of 2007, into a wider perspective. The three previous parts … Read more

Review: The Remaking of San Francisco Opera Part III – “Madama Butterfly’, December 8, 2007

Previously, I have cited the San Francisco Opera production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, conceived by Ron Daniels with sets by Michael Yeargan, as an extraordinary experience.  The production, utilizing modern techniques of stagecraft, set design and lighting technique, sets out to recreate the emotional impact that a performance of the David Belasco’s English language play had on Puccini. … Read more

Gockley’s San Francisco Opera in 2007 – Improving Already High Grades

San Francisco Opera’s General Director David Gockley became the sixth person in history to hold that position at the beginning of Calendar Year 2006, technically midway in the 2005-06 season. For the San Francisco Opera’s administrative purposes (including the important function of selling season tickets), the opera “season” is considered to run from September to … Read more