As was revealed this past winter when the company announced its 2007-08 season, baritone Dwayne Croft will play Gen. Robert E. Lee and bass-baritone Andrew Shore will play Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the new work, a San Francisco Opera commission. Longtime Glass champion Dennis Russell Davies will conduct; Robert Woodruff, in his house debut, will direct, stepping in for the originally scheduled George C. Wolfe, who withdrew from the project in March. The libretto is by British playwright Christopher Hampton.
Last week the company announced that most of the the rest of the cast will be drawn from the current ranks of Adler Fellows, members of San Francisco Opera's young artists program. Soprano Elza van den Heever, who scored a major success last month as a late-replacement Donna Anna in San Francisco Opera's Don Giovanni, will play Gen. Lee's wife, Mary Custis Lee. Ji Young Yang takes the role of Julia Agnes Lee, with Rhoslyn Jones as Julia Grant, Jeremy Galyon and Heidi Melton as Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Kendall Gladen as Elizabeth Keckley, Noah Stewart as T. Morris Chester and Chad Shelton (a Houston Grand Opera Studio alumnus and the one non-Adler Fellow on this list) as E. Porter Alexander. (The name of the singer taking the role of Edgar Ray Killen will be announced later.)
In addition, San Francisco Opera has added one extra performance of Appomattox, on October 24, to the six previously scheduled October 5-20. At that final performance, Brian Leerhuber, who created the role of Tom Joad in Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath this past season, will take the role of Gen. Lee, and on the podium will be Sara Jobin, who is 2004 became the first woman to conduct in San Francisco Opera's main subscription season.
Information on and tickets for the world premiere run of Philip Glass's Appomattox at San Francisco Opera are available at www.sfopera.com.