Historical Performances: Mario del Monaco’s Overpowering Otello – San Francisco Opera’s San Diego Tour – November 5, 1959

This is the tenth of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California In 1950, the American debut of 35 year old operatic tenor Mario del Monaco  took place at the San Francisco Opera. His American debut role was Rhadames in Verdi’s … Read more

Historical Performances: Leyla Gencer’s Stunning “Lucia” at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium – November 10, 1957

This is the ninth of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California An important milestone in soprano Leyla Gencer’s distinguished career occurred at age 28, when in 1956 she debuted at the San Francisco Opera, substituting for Renata Tebaldi in the … Read more

Historical Performances: Callas Fired, An Opera Changed – San Francisco Opera’s “Aida” at San Diego’s Fox Theater, November 7, 1957

This is the eighth of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California When purchasing a ticket for an opera, the opera company’s often includes the statement that “casts and operas are subject to change”. Over time, opera goers inevitably will experience … Read more

Historical Performances: Young Rysanek Promotes Strauss – “Ariadne auf Naxos” at L. A.’s Shrine Auditorium, San Francisco Opera, November 1, 1957

This is the seventh of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California Leonie Rysanek, in the second of four seasons that she performed with the San Francisco Opera in the last half-decade of the 1950s, introduced Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” … Read more

Historical Performances: San Francisco Opera’s “La Traviata” in San Diego Stars Leyla Gencer, Robert Merrill – October 31, 1957

This is the sixth of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California San Diego’s Fox Theatre has been an imposing landmark since it was launched in 1929 as a great movie palace, in ceremonies attended by visiting delegations of Hollywood stars. … Read more