Saturday, December 26, 2009

San Francisco Opera Broadcasts, Early 2010

Here's what KDFC is playing, one Sunday evening a month, mostly from San Francisco Opera's Fall 2009 season:

Sunday, January 3 at 8 p.m. – Verdi’s Il Trovatore

Nicola Luisotti makes his debut as San Francisco Opera’s music director with Verdi’s suspenseful tale of a corrupt count, a dashing warrior and a Gypsy who plots to avenge her mother's wrongful death. The illustrious cast features soprano Sondra Radvanovsky (Leonora), mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (Azucena), tenor Marco Berti (Manrico) and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Count di Luna), with bass Burak Bilgili (Ferrando) and mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum (Inez). Walter Sutcliffe, director. [Fall 2009; I was less thrilled with this than most people were, but S. Rad. is worth the price of admission.]

Sunday, February 7 at 8 p.m. – Puccini’s Il Trittico

A triptych that runs the gamut from heart-wrenching tragedy to sparkling comedy, audiences have the rare opportunity to enjoy Il Trittico in its entirety, the way its creator intended. Soprano Patricia Racette portrays the heroine in each of Il Trittico’s three one-act operas—Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Sister Angelica (Suor Angelica) and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi)—joined by baritone Paolo Gavanelli (Michele/Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi), tenor Brandon Jovanovich (Luigi/Il Tabarro) and contralto Ewa Podleś (The Princess/Suor Angelica). The cast also features mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and bass Andrea Silvestrelli. San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, conductor; James Robinson, director. [Fall 2009. Racette, Gavanelli, and Podleś were all spectacular, with great performances also from Andrea Silvestrelli, Meredith Arwady, Brandon Jovanovich, and David Lomeli.]

Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. – Listener’s Choice

Listeners vote on their favorite opera from the preceding year. The opera receiving the most votes will be rebroadcast on March 7. For more information, visit www.kdfc.com.

Sunday, April 4 at 8 p.m. – Verdi’s Requiem

KDFC broadcasts this special gala performance of Verdi’s choral masterwork celebrating former San Francisco Opera Music Director Donald Runnicles, who concluded his remarkable 17-year tenure at the close of the 2008-09 Season. Maestro Runnicles leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, with soprano Heidi Melton, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Stefano Secco and bass Andrea Silvestrelli. [Spring 2009. This started out as a train wreck, improved a lot!]

Sunday, May 2 at 8 p.m. – Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio

A Spanish nobleman sets out to rescue his beloved from the clutches of a tenacious Turk in this witty tale set to Mozart’s exuberant score. Soprano Mary Dunleavy (Constanze) and tenor Matthew Polenzani (Belmonte) head an exceptional cast featuring soprano Anna Christy (Blonde), bass Peter Rose (Osmin) and tenor Andrew Bidlack (Pedrillo). The performances feature the United States operatic debut of German conductor Cornelius Meister. Chas-Rader Sheiber, director. [Fall 2009; Fantastic conducting from Meister, great performances from Polenzani, Christy, Rose, and Bidlack. Dunleavy, why??]

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