According to the Chronicle, the SFO's search committee, headed by board member George Hume, did not initially consider Gockley, but has approached him in the last few weeks.
Gockley confirmed that he had talked with the committee. "At this point, we're both doing what you'd call due diligence," he told the Chronicle. "I'm trying to figure out and learn as much as I can about the company so I know what I'd be getting into as far as financial circumstances, the union circumstances, the staff circumstances."
Neither Hume nor Karl O. Mills, the president of the San Francisco Opera Association, would comment on Gockley's candidacy.
"We've been pretty clear about the kind of person we're looking for," Mills said. "We need somebody who can continue to put exciting art on the stage, art that this audience can relate to. And we need someone with a proven ability to move opera forward both artistically and institutionally."
Gockley, who has run the HGO for the last 32 years, would seem to fit that description nicely. Under Gockley's leadership, the HGO has presented 30 world premieres, including the debuts of John Adams' Nixon in China, Mark Adamo's Little Women, Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair, and Carlisle Floyd's Willie Stark and Cold Sassy Tree.
Rosenberg announced last year that she would leave in 2006. According to previous Chronicle reports, other leading candidates to replace her are Matthew Epstein, the soon-to-depart artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Adrian Collette, general manager of Opera Australia; and Anthony Freud, general director of the Welsh National Opera.