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San Francisco Opera

Despicable You

George Heymont | Posted 12.19.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

There's something about religious hypocrisy that is jaw-droppingly timeless in its newsworthiness. Among the news items to hit the fan in recent month...

Different Strokes for Different Folks

George Heymont | Posted 12.15.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Every now and then when I'm searching for a theme to write about, I find inspiration in a most unusual source: serendipitous calendaring.

Tears and Laughs: 'La Bohème' in SF, History of Comedy (Abridged) in Marin

Pamela Feinsilber | Posted 12.16.2014 | Arts
Pamela Feinsilber

I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've seen from SF Opera this season, and La Bohème, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi, was no exception.

Shaping a Show One Pixel at a Time

George Heymont | Posted 11.24.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

As a musical sampling of the sounds that emerged from Motown, one can't do better than starting with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Bye Bye Baby," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," and moving on through the catalog to "I'll Be There," "What's Going On," and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life."

Cinderella: San Francisco Opera's Whipped Cream Atop a Delightful Season

Pamela Feinsilber | Posted 11.21.2014 | Arts
Pamela Feinsilber

Because I love bel canto, I was overjoyed to see Bellini's Norma, especially since the season-opening opera starred the dazzling Sondra Radvanovsky, a dynamic "once in a generation" soprano.

Tenor Michael Fabiano: On La Bohème, Now at San Francisco Opera

Sean Martinfield | Posted 11.19.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

During our recent conversation, we talked about the discipline involved for the tenor who has Rodolfo on his performance calendar. Rodolfo is a physically climactic role. A succession of performances requires much more than muscle memory.

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo -- A Stunning Debut in 'Partenope' at San Francisco Opera

Sean Martinfield | Posted 12.24.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

San Francisco Opera's current production of Handel's 1730 comedy, Partenope -- now transported to a high-toned Parisian salon in the 1920s -- is an intoxicating whirlwind of fresh air.

A Conversation With Bass-Baritone Philippe Sly

Sean Martinfield | Posted 12.16.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

San Francisco Opera's fourth presentation in the 2014/15 season is Handel's hit from 1730, Partenope. Directed by Christopher Alden, the production debuted in 2008 and is a joint effort with the English National Opera and Opera Australia.

Norma at San Francisco Opera

Renate Stendhal, Ph.D. | Posted 12.10.2014 | Entertainment
Renate Stendhal, Ph.D.

Call me Norma. I am a Druidic priestess and I have a tool shed. My toolshed is in the Druidic barn (did we have barns back in ancient Gaul? never mind) and that's where I keep the kids I bore Pollione, our Roman enemy.

Mephistopheles in Your Living Room

Pamela Feinsilber | Posted 12.05.2014 | Arts
Pamela Feinsilber

If you've never seen an opera, this is an excellent way to begin: stretched out in a comfy chair instead of sitting upright with a hard-back seat in front of you; table with popcorn and beer at hand. Plus, you can stand up when it's not intermission.

Bass Baritone Christian Van Horn -- A Busy Season at San Francisco Opera

Sean Martinfield | Posted 11.16.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

Christian Van Horn is Oroveso in San Francisco Opera's new production of Bellini's Norma. The bel canto gem opened the 2014/15 Season on September 5, making Christian's resounding bass-baritone the first voice to be heard in the Company's 92nd Season.

Sondra Radvanovsky and Jamie Barton Shine in New Production of Norma at San Francisco Opera

Sean Martinfield | Posted 11.10.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

The production elements are not heaven sent. The set designs of David Korins are clever, but confusing and cluttered. The Kong-size doors, the ready abundance of knives, spears and scythes, keep the eyes very busy and the questions coming.

There's Lots of Good Fish in the Sea

George Heymont | Posted 10.24.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

The lyrics to many choral refrains in Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas are often ignored or forgotten by audiences who favor the musical solos and pat...

An Art Form That Just Keeps Evolving

George Heymont | Posted 10.15.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

I'm often amused by the random juxtaposition of shows I attend from one night to the next. One could hardly position two American musicals that differ quite as much in their performance history, style, and appeal than the two I saw in back-to-back performances a few months ago.

Attention Must Be Paid

George Heymont | Posted 09.27.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

The San Francisco Opera recently revived John Copley's 1987 production of Verdi's masterpiece (commissioned by Terry McEwen) as part of its 2014 summer season. Not having seen this particular production since it came online nearly 25 years ago, I had looked forward to getting reacquainted with its charms.

Afloat on the Joys of San Francisco Opera's Showboat

Pamela Feinsilber | Posted 08.24.2014 | Arts
Pamela Feinsilber

I'm surprised at the opera snobbishness of the people who've wondered why San Francisco Opera is presenting a musical this summer -- that is to say, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Show Boat.

"Show Boat" - Jerome Kern's Masterpiece at San Francisco Opera

Sean Martinfield | Posted 08.05.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

It's an opera - where the ideal performer with the optimal voice is a capital match for the intentions of the composer and his lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein II.

The Magic of Mark Morris' Acis and Galatea

Carla Escoda | Posted 06.28.2014 | Arts
Carla Escoda

Mark Morris gets Handel like no one else gets him: He crafted a towering piece of dance architecture in L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and now Acis and Galatea (the jazzed-up Mozart arrangement) gets the witty and lightly absurdist Morris treatment.

A Conversation with Mario Frangoulis: International Tenor Debuts in San Francisco, April 4th

Sean Martinfield | Posted 06.01.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

This year tenor Mario Frangoulis observes his twenty-fifth anniversary as a concert and recording artist and performer in musical theatre.

A Conversation With New Zealander Baritone, Hadleigh Adams

Sean Martinfield | Posted 05.26.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

The featured work is Gabriel Kahane's The Memory Palace which will be sung by baritone Hadleigh Adams. I recently met with Hadleigh to talk about this unusual work which deals with emotional connections to physical space.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Introduces 'Rita' by Donizetti, February 12-16

Sean Martinfield | Posted 04.09.2014 | Arts
Sean Martinfield

The best way to describe Verdi's String Quartet in E minor is that it's just so very-very Verdi. Including it on a program such as this reveals similar dramatic flavors found in any of his operas.

Romantic Conspiracies

George Heymont | Posted 03.20.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Last fall, the San Francisco Opera presented new productions of two of the operatic art form's greatest works. Each is a rollicking comedy in which young love triumphs over extremely vain and selfish elders who claim to have the ingenue's best interest at heart.

Curses! Foiled Again!

George Heymont | Posted 03.13.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

From The Mummy's Curse to The Curse of the Werewolf, from the tale of King Midas to the legend of Sleeping Beauty, literature is filled with curses.

New on CD: As Long As There Are Songs by Stephanie Blythe

Sean Martinfield | Posted 02.10.2014 | Arts
Sean Martinfield

As a fan of non-amplified solo recitals, the sound environment of this recording is like sitting in down-center Orchestra in a world class concert hall and having eye-to-eye contact with an artist whose big guns vocals penetrate clear to the soul.

A Conversation with Lucas Meachem -- San Francisco Opera's Barber of Seville

Sean Martinfield | Posted 01.25.2014 | San Francisco
Sean Martinfield

Conducted by Giuseppe Finzi and directed by Emilio Sagi, the production is a fine blend of Commedia dell'Arte Lite and drawing room humor played outside.