Monday, February 02, 2009


Every opera company directory has repertory preferences, and so does every opera company music director. Some clear patterns emerge from looking at the last few San Francisco Opera general directors:
  • Lotfi Mansouri: Donizetti, Russian opera (Ruslan and the Prokofiev operas); quite a bit of Britten; several weak and mostly forgettable commissions (Harvey Milk, Dangerous Liaisons, Streetcar, Dead Man Walking)
  • Pamela Rosenberg: Handel and Janacek; Donizetti limited to a Lucia revival (I think....); only one commission, but it was a doozy, John Adams's Doctor Atomic
  • David Gockley, to the extent that one can tell so far: lots and lots of Italian opera, mostly mainstream, from what he said at the press conference last week; a range of commissions of varying degrees of potential.
Over the last 17 years, we also got a lot of German opera, owing to the presence of Donald Runnicles. Italian opera hasn't been all that well served, with weakish voices in most of the Verdi that's been presented. I hope Gockley will do some early Verdi - you know, the stuff before Rigoletto? There are a few stageworthy pieces there, including Il Corsaro and Ernani. Oh, and Nabucco, but that was done recently.

I would love to hear some Respighi and late Mascagni, but I asked and at the moment they're not looking at those composers. I just hope we will continue to have a varied repertory, including Handel, Janacek, and Britten.

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