Friday, January 14, 2022

Guessing Game

War Memorial Opera House
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

San Francisco Opera is announcing its centennial season next week, on Wednesday, January 19 at 1 p.m. The embargoed press release should be going out about now. I do not have a copy of it. Matthew Shilvock dropped a few hints about the season in early December at a donor event, as follows, about the season, which will have eight operas only. (Yes, I'm surprised that the company didn't get support for ten operas.) It will be something like this:

  • Two new operas by Bay Area composers
  • Two new productions from the core repertory
  • Two operas that had their US premieres here
  • Two operas in styles not heard in a number of years (I might have gotten this a bit wrong.)

I've got some theories, although one thought I had is definitely not true: Kaija Saariaho's Innocence, for which SFO is a co-commissioner, won't be next season.

Use the comments to float your wildest fantasies about what might be coming up!


Paul McKaskle said...

How about Falstaff, Eugene Onegin and Die Frau Ohne Schatten for starters. And maybe Butterfly?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Duly noted!

Geo. said...

Here's a guess for the "Two operas that had their US premieres here" category, one fairly conventional & the other off-the-wall:
(a) Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmelites
(b) Ligeti: Le grand macabre

Other possibilities, whose US premieres San Francisco Opera staged, are these, listed in decreasing order of probability, IMHO:
* Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream
* Walton: Troilus and Cressida
* Tippett: The Midsummer Marriage
* Henze: Das Verratene Meer

For Bay Area composers, granted my lack of knowledge of the Bay Area composer scene, my next guess is extremely shaky at best. One guess that may be the less shaky guess is Jake Heggie. For the 2nd composer, John Adams might be too obvious, but after the roasting over Girls of the Golden West, he might want to lay low on any new opera for now. Or maybe the company will stage Nixon in China for his 75th birthday.

Alternatively, for Bay Area composer # 2: perhaps Gabriela Lena Frank?

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'd love to see Le grand macabre again - what a wild piece!

Another longshot US premiere work would be Reiman's Lear, I believe.

John Adams is known to be working on an Anthony & Cleopatra opera, so that could easily be one of the new works by a Bay Area composer. They also have to eventually perform Mason Bates' Steve Jobs opera, which was canceled by the pandemic and of which they are a co-commissioner. Frank is also a possibility; I know nothing about whether she is working on an opera.

I would also love to see Frau again; it hasn't been done here since 1989, Dialogues since 1982. Too long for both. said...

Just saw that SFOpera mention Julia Bullock as the "star of Anthony and Cleopatra" on Facebook.

Lisa Hirsch said...

(Looks at press release) And also Gerald Finley. said...

... and right after I sent that I saw the entire season. Which you would have seen before me. What can I say? I am slow. VERY slow!