Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Season Announcement Season: San Francisco Opera

Just the facts, and not all of them:
  • Rigoletto; double-cast with 12 performances; Luisotti/Finzi; Lucic/Vratogna, Kurzak/Shagimuratova, Demuro/Lomeli
  • I Capuleti e I Montecchi; Frizza; DiDonato, Cabell, Pirgu, Owens; co-production with Bavarian State Opera
  • Moby-Dick (SF Opera co-commission); Summers; Costello, Heppner/Jay Hunter Morris, Smith, Lemalu, Trevigne, O'Neill, Orth
  • Lohengrin; Luisotti; Jovanovich, Nylund, Lang, Grochowski, Sigmundsson, Mulligan
  • Tosca; double-cast with 12 performances; Luisotti/Finzi, Georghiu/Racette, Massimo Giordano/Jagde, Frontali/Delavan
  • The Secret Garden; SFO commission; cast & production team to be announced at a later time
  • Tales of Hoffman; Fournillier; Dessay, Polenzani, Coote, Van Horn
  • Cosi Fan Tutte; Luisotti/Dehn, Lotzsch, Stober, Demuro, Sly, Vinco
  • The Gospel of Mary Magdalen; SFO Commission; Christie/Cooke, Kanyova, Burden, Gunn

Also announced: SFO commission to Tobias Picker for Dolores Claibourne, set for the fall of 2013; reliably rumored to star Dolora Zajick.

The season announcement and full details are on the SFO web site, which was updated earlier today to include the 2012-13 season.


I will skip Rigoletto (unless I think one of those sopranos can make me forget Swenson) and stand through Tosca (with Racette, of course  - why do you ask?). Those operas will be the season's cash cows, plus Rigoletto is a nod to the Verdi centenary even though it's early. The rest of the season looks good, and there's an attractive array of singers new and returning.

I'm particularly happy about Sasha Cooke's debut, based on having heard her live at SFS and on the Met HD Doctor Atomic. I might have considered skipping I Capuleti, which I saw 20 years ago when it last appeared here, but it would take wild horses to keep me away from JDD in pants. Moby-Dick has been well received; do I see it with Heppner or JHM?

Hoffman, sure; wouldn't miss Polenzani. Cosi, sure, because it does not come around every ten minutes. The surprise commission, sure; and of course I'm very much looking forward to Mary Magdalen, based on having loved Mark Adamo's Lysistrata.


Henry Holland said...

*sigh* No Schreker. No Das Wunder der Heliane. No Zemlinsky. No Reimann. No Birtwistle. *sigh*


No Britten, but his centennial isn't until 2013, so maybe next season. Please please please NOT Peter Grimes.

A good season for SFO, a good mix of old and new. I dread the Los Angeles Opera announcement.

Sibyl said...

For the most part, a season worth the drive in from Santa Cruz (even on a work night). I was not hopeful about what would be on offer, but I will actually buy a series (Hooray for Mary Magdalen, Hoffman, Capuleti). I do not ever need to see Rigoletto again, nor Tosca neither. They did Cosi just a few years ago, and with a much more interesting cast. I'm glad you're in for the Hoffman, if only for Polenzani, as, though it is a mess of a libretto (which act goes when?), it is really meaty stuff, if over-familiar in places. When you posted your thoughts on 19thC French opera, I pondered long and hard about responding; I decided not to, but part of my argument was going to be Hoffman. Give me the entire Antonia act any day of the week, or even every day. Lucky me, Hoffman was the first opera I ever saw live (5th grade, Beverly Sills as the heroines, Norman Treigle the villains).

Lisa Hirsch said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on French opera! (Anyway, Offenbach was born in Germany. ;-)

Joshua Kosman said...

Your comment re: Rigoletto intrigues me. I shall go to both, of course, if only for professional reasons; but I'm excited about both, because Lucic and Vratogna are two of the most exciting performers to have come through SFO in recent seasons. And they're singing, y'know, the title role.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good Gilda, and she's important. But surely the soprano is not as preeminently important here as in some other comparable operas, e.g., Trav 'n' Trov. I guess what I'm trying to say is that given a superb baritone and an unknown soprano and/or tenor, I might skip one of those other operas. But not Rigoletto.

Course, we may disagree about one or both of those boys. But you didn't even acknowledge them.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Joshua, they are bugaboo operas for me. Here's the problem: Rigoletto and Tosca are the two operas in which I most want to kick the sopranos on account of their characters' stupidity.

I cannot bear the character of Tosca at all, for reasons I spelled out in some detail after the last go-round. I am sure that it's partly because I've never seen a Tosca who convinced me. Dramatically, Vaness might have been the best, not that I remember so well, but her threadbare voice....I have hope that Racette will bring something dramatically interesting to the part, even though she is light for it. Gheorghiu, well, I couldn't hear her in Boheme, so what is Luisotti going to do here? Have the orchestra take everything down two dynamic levels?

As to Rigoletto - okay, okay, you're right, the title character needs to be taken into consideration, although I have to admit that the character I like best int he opera is Sparafucile. At least he is an honest assassin. And a Burgundian.

I missed Lucic's Germont (saw the first cast that year) but he was tremendous in Forza and is surely worth seeing as Rigoletto.

Vratogna, though - not for me. He shouted his way through Iago, without enough top or bottom for the role. The Amonasro was okay. FWIW, I saw the very last Otello and it was pretty bad; people who thought earlier performances in the run were decent held their noses.

Lisa Hirsch said...

And (ahem) now I realize I was responding, about Tosca, to a comment you did not make. Argh, and sorry.

Brian said...

The only thing that gives me pause about this SFO season is entrusting Lohengrin to Jovanovich who I've got little faith in after his workman like Siegmund and that he seems to sing anything and everything offered to him.

I too will not likely see either of the warhorses except MAYBE Tosca, but only with Gheorghiu. (Sorry, Lisa) As for Moby-Dick in Dallas and San Francisco, I think I've done my Heggie time, thank you very much.

You should definitely see DiDonato in Capuleti. I saw her sing this in Paris a few years back and it was out of this world. I wish the rest of the cast (Owens excepted) were a wee bit stronger. (In Paris, Netrebko called in sick and I got the superb Patrizia Ciofi).

I think the Cosi casting is fairly anemic as well.

And which one of those boys is singing Jesus anyway?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yeah, I can think of several tenors off the top of my head that I'd rather hear as Lohengrin: Vogt, Margita, Kaufmann. Oh, well.

Why Gheorghiu? See my comment above about inaudibility.

Agree about Cosi's casting. Couldn't we get Peter Mattei back??

Jesus = Gunn

LinGin said...

Mattei dropped Guglielmo from his rep several years ago. His last run in the role was streamed by Sweden's Royal Opera.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Too bad, that!