While the big announcement for me this week will take place in the pre-dawn hours of tomorrow morning, San Francisco Opera’s announcement of their 2014-2015 season on Monday was like an early Christmas present. Let’s unwrap it and see what we find, shall we?
As a self-proclaimed bel canto whore, obviously I’m thrilled by the inclusion of both Bellini’s masterpiece Norma and my long-awaited, favorite-opera-I’ve-never-seen La Cenerentola. And, even if they are insisting on calling it Cinderella, at least I didn’t have to sleep with anyone at the San Francisco Opera to get it here! [Side note: When did the San Francisco Opera decide to use only translated titles throughout their materials? What is up with that? I’m all for using the translation up front for promotional purposes if you so choose, but the subscriber catalog should, at the very least, use both.]
The rest of the fall schedule is almost as exciting. After so enjoying Serse in 2011, I am especially looking forward to Handel’s cross-dressing comedy Partenope, in its company premiere. The opera has been re-set to 1920s Paris, with a production design that looks straight out of a Lubitsch film, so what’s not to like?
Susannah, an American opera set in Appalachia, also intrigues me, particularly because it will feature that all-too-rare sight, a female conductor (Karen Kamensek). Verdi seems to be hit or miss for me, so I’ll reserve judgment on Un Ballo in Maschera for now, but I’ll make sure to listen to a recording soon.
Last on the fall program is Puccini’s La Bohème, which will coincidentally be the last of the Big Ten** to come to San Francisco during my time as a subscriber. La Bohème is actually one of the first operas I ever saw, though for the life of me I can’t remember where. Puccini’s Tosca is also returning by “popular demand” for a special short run. That seems odd, but since it is not officially part of the season, I can’t really complain. And I did in fact pick Tosca as the “production I would most readily see again” in my 2012 Figaro awards. I’m starting to wonder just how often the San Francisco Opera reads this blog.
The summer of 2015 will feature two productions sure to interest opera connoisseurs: the world premiere of La Ciociara (Two Women) by Marco Tutino, based on the 1960 De Sica film with Sophia Loren, and the blockbuster production of the 5½-hour epic Les Troyens, the Berlioz masterwork based on Virgil’s Aeneid. I have a special interest in the latter: Besides being the only French production of the season, it also features the return of Sasha Cooke, who I adored in The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (garnering my 2013 Figaro for “outstanding female performance”), and Susan Graham, who earned an “outstanding trouser performance” for Serse in the very first edition of the Figaros back in 2011. Rounding out the summer schedule is Le nozze di Figaro, which was the first San Francisco Opera production La Maratonista and I saw back in the early days of this blog in 2010.
So, while La Maratonista and I both have reasons to be watching our pennies these days, I’m hoping we can scrape enough together to undertake our fifth season as a subscribers. Because this one looks very exciting. And very Italian, which is always a good thing.
On a separate and final note, one of the best pieces of news regarding the coming season was the moving of the start time for all evening performances (except Les Troyens) to 7:30pm. A welcome change, and one I requested not too long ago. Seriously, whoever my fan is over at San Francisco Opera, leave a comment!
*My titles bring all the boys to the yard. Sorry if you came here looking for something else besides opera.
**The ten most performed operas of the last five years according to Operabase are La traviata, Carmen, La bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, and Don Giovanni.