Monday, September 14, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Place Your Bets!

Who will be the next General Director of San Francisco Opera?

Why, we are going to find out next week. The announcement is coming on Tuesday, September 22.

My personal desires are limited:
  • David Gockley's business skills
  • Pamela Rosenberg's programming interests
It's 2015; can't we graft their brains together?


Henry Holland said...

Francesca Zambello. It seems she's the "Artistic Advisor" while someone else deals with the day-to-day things in Washington but she's General Director at Glimmerglass, that summer activity might rule her out since SFO does summer seasons, of course.

Matthew Travisano said...

My fear is Francesca Zambello. They just gave her the opera medal. After their chance taken on Rosenberg the Opera Board will stay way conservative and dull when we need just the opposite. Zambello has created some worthy productions but mostly they're muddles. She won't bring anything new or aimed at generating audiences. It'll be Zambello and soon after Nicola Luisotti will announce his departure.

JSC said...

Keith Cerny or Matthew Shilvock...or Zambello. Or some combination thereof? Heheheh

Lisa Hirsch said...

I hope not Zambello, owing to her outrageous comments about atonal music. (And Gockley's, and Luisotti's; they should all be ashamed of themselves.)

Luisotti's contract was extended through 2017-18 last year. He won't leave before then.

Lisa Hirsch said...

And yeah, the muddled productions.

CruzSF said...

Since Zambello recently extended her contract with WNO, I'd think that means she's unavailable for the SFO GD. I'm looking around at the other US companies and no one is jumping out at me. Perryn Leech is at HGO now, though I don't know his career at all (other than he brought the Fura dels Baus Ring to the US). There's also William Florescu (Florentine Opera) and Dale Johnson (AD at Minnesota Opera). Johnson, at least, likes 20th and 21st century works.

Lisa Hirsch said...

And looking at that renewal a bit differently, she might have extended the WNO contract after being ruled out of the SFO job or ruling herself out.

There was discussion here long ago about the general manager of Santa Fe, Charles MacKay, who has done a good job there and at his previous job.

Darrick Chen said...

Not sure what happened to my earlier post. It just disappeared. Trying again.

My Bet:

1) Charles MacKay, Santa Fe Opera.
I think he is a blend of Gockley and Rosenberg. He has done great stuff in Santa Fe. I was thinking he hasn't been in his job very long. But he took over in 2008, so plenty of time has passed. I like his choice of repertoire in New Mexico. Before that he did great work in building up St Louis Festival Opera. I think SFO would be the next logical choice for him. It has a larger budget, longer season and better resources. That said, I'd rather live in Santa Fe. But that's me.

2) David Devan, Opera Philadelphia
He is youngish and I like what he has presented in Philadelphia. Like MacKay has been there since 2008 - so ready for a move. I don't think he's as tested as MacKay, but could do wonderful work for SFO with a larger budget. My #2 choie.

GDs from the usual suspects.
I think the heads from Seattle, Houston, Chicago Lyric and LA are set. Most are rather new to their positions or I can't imagine them leaving.

Favorite: Zambello
I think she has the inside track to the GD at SFO. She has worked with SFO for a long time and probably knows a lot of peeps. That said, I am not thrilled by what she did at WNO or Glimmerglass. I think she would be competent, but not brilliant or exciting.

Long Shot: Christopher Hahn, Opera Pittsburgh
As I said a few months ago. He has ties to SFO - Artistic Administrator during the Sarah Billinghurst years at SFO. I met him and really liked him - he was very funny and charming. He probably won't be as expensive to entice to come to SFO, so he would be my hail mary candidate....real dark-horse.

Speaking of Billinghurst....what's she up to these days? Didn't she retire from the Met a few years ago?? Hope she's not on the short list.

Celebrity GDs:
Before the Board signed David Gockley, I heard rumors that Carol Vaness was on somebody's list. Not sure if it was just gossip or what. But she's rather old news now. I would think if the Board is interested in a singer in the twilight of their singing career, surely Debbie Voigt, Thom Hampson and Flicka must be on a list somewhere. All these singers have ties to SFO.

Well find out next week.
Enjoy the fall season!!

Lisa Hirsch said...

No celebrities, I hope!

Billinghurst retired from the Met maybe a year or 18 months ago....saying her one unfulfilled dream was to run an opera company.

That's a fascinating list!

John Marcher said...

Matias Tarnopolsky. I know it's wishful thinking, but that's who I'd like to see get the job.

Having said that, I'll be happy as long as it isn't Zambello.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Matias would be a great choice.

E C said...

Patrick Summers. I know the reasons why not. But he's the only name where I'd kick myself tomorrow if I didn't throw it out now, and I ended up hearing it tomorrow.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Haha. I understand, but I think the reasons why not will win.