In Quest of San Francisco Opera Centennial Year Performances, June through December, 2023

The following are four of the operas I am scheduled to review taking place at the San Francisco Opera during 2023, celebrating the centennial of the company’s founding.

Die Frau ohne Schatten (Richard Strauss), San Francisco Opera, June 4 (m), 10, 20, 23 and 28, 2023

San Francisco Opera, the company that mounted the United States premiere of “Die Frau ohne Schatten” in 1959 and revived it in several subsequent seasons, has chosen the opera to represent the German repertory for the company’s 2022-23 season. The colorful David Hockney production has been secured for the occasion.

[Below: a scene from Los Angeles Opera’s 1993 mouinting of David Hockney’s production of “Die Frau ohne Schatten”; edited image, based on a Robert Millard photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund performs the role of the Empress. The Dyers’ wife is performed by Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, the Nurse by California soprano Linda Watson. British tenor David Butt Philip is the Emperor and Danish baritone John Reuter is Barak. Scotttish Maestro Sir Donald Runnicles, former San Francisco Opera Music Director, will conduct.

[For my “historical reviews” of 1960 and 1964 San Francisco Opera performances of the opera, see: Historical Performances: The Woman Without an Equal: Leonie Rysanek in “Frau ohne Schatten”: San Francisco Opera, September 24, 1960 and Historical Performances: Ella Lee, Dalis, Kuchta, Waechter, Martell in “Frau ohne Schatten” – San Francisco Opera, September 26, 1964.]

[For my performance review, see: A Colorful, Brilliantly Performed “Frau ohne Schatten” – San Francisco Opera, June 4, 2023.]

Il Trovatore (Verdi), San Francisco Opera, September 12, 17(m), 20, 23, 29 and October 1, 2023

Sir David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s middle period opera, last seen at San Francisco Opera in 2009, moves the action and costuming to Spain’s early 19th century Guerra de la Independencia.

[Below: Manrico (Russell Thomas, center, right, in blue overcoat) confronts the Count di Luna (Artur Rucinski, center, left) in a Lyric Opera of Chicago performance of the David McVicar production of “Il Trovatore”; edited image, based on a Todd Rosenberg photograph, courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.]

Mexican tenor Arturo Chacon-Cruz is Manrico. California soprano Angel Blue is Leonora. Romanian baritone George Petean is the Count di Luna, Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili is Azucena and Canadian bass Robert Pomakov is Ferrando. South Korean Maestra Eun Sun Kim, San Francisco Opera’s Music Director, conducts.

[For my previous reviews of Sir David McVicar’s production of “Il Trovatore” at the San Francisco Opera and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, see: Review: Lyrical Luisotti Leads Triumphant “Trovatore” – San Francisco Opera, September 11, 2009 and Review: Verdi’s New Champion – Nicola Luisotti’s Transformative “Trovatore” – San Francisco Opera, October 4, 2009 and Review: Golden Age Verdi Singing for Lyric Opera’s “Il Trovatore” – Chicago, October 27, 2014.]

Lohengrin (Wagner), San Francisco Opera, October 15(m), 18, 21, 24, 27 and November 1, 2023

Director David Alden, whose production of Handel’s “Rodelinda” was performed at the San Francisco Opera 18 seasons ago, returns for his production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin”, originally created for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

[Below: the wedding scene from David Alden’s production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin”; edited image, based on a Clive Barda photograph for the Royal Opera House.]

New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill is Lohengrin. California soprano Julie Adams is Elsa, Romanian-Hungarian mezzo-soprano Judit Kutasi is Ortrud and New York baritone Brian Mulligan is Telramund. Icelandic bass Kristinn Sigmundsson is King Heinrich. Maestra Eun Sun Kim conducts.

[For my review of Simon O’Neill as Lohengrin in a Houston Grand Opera performance, see: Review: Summers Leads Sumptiously Sung “Lohengrin” – Houston Grand Opera, November 13, 2009.]

L’Elisir d’Amore (Donizetti), San Francisco Opera, November 19(m), 24, 26(m), 29, December 5 and 9, 2023

Director Daniel Slater sets Donizetti’s operatic romantic comedy on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Samoan-born New Zealand tenor Pene Pati performs five of the performances, with Utah tenor Jonah Hoskins scheduled for anthat of November 29th.

[Below: Unaware he has inherited a fortune, Nemorino (here, Dimitri Pittas) believes the sudden attraction of women to him is the result of his drinking a love elixir; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.]

Slovakian soprano Slavka Zamencnikova is Adina. Serbian tenor David Bizic is Sergeant Belcore.

Italian Baritone Renato Girolami is Doctor Dulcamara. (Girolami studied with Sesto Bruscantini, who in San Francisco Opera performances in the 1960s was the Dulcamara for the Nemorinos of Alfredo Kraus and Luciano Pavarotti.) Spanish Maestro Ramón Tebar conducts.

[For my review of a Houston Grand Opera performance of the Daniel Slater production of “L’Elisir d’Amore, see: Review: Engaging “Elixir of Love” at Houston Grand Opera, October 29, 2016.]

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through July, 2023:

Frank’s and Cruz’ “El Ultimo Sueno de Frida y Diego” [See In Quest of 21st Century Operas.]

Puccini’s and Illica/Giacosa’s “Madama Butterfly” [See In Quest of San Francisco Opera Centennial Season Operatic Performances, October 2022 through July, 2023.]