San Francisco Opera Announces Plans for 2006-07 and Beyond

Classic Arts News   San Francisco Opera Announces Plans for 2006-07 and Beyond
San Francisco Opera's 2006-07 season will include the company production of Gluck's Iphig_nie en Tauride and performances by soprano Deborah Voigt, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, and soprano Karita Mattila, general director David Gockley announced.

But the season lineup, which consists mostly of revivals and standard repertoire, may have the least dramatic news included in the announcement. Gockley, who replaced Pamela Rosenberg on January 1, also announced that Francesca Zambello, the star director whose career he helped to launch, would join his team as artistic advisor; that SFO would present the world premiere of a new opera by Philip Glass in 2007; and that the company would present Zambello's American-themed production of Wagner's Ring cycle, which it is producing with Washington National Opera, starting with Das Rheingold in 2008.

The new director also unveiled a new "visual identity" for the company, including a new logo—a gold starburst on a red background—and web site.

Zambello, who made her American debut at Gockley's Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio in 1984, has become the first-choice director for high-profile productions at major American companies. Her recent productions include the world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera; the Met's Cyrano de Bergerac with Plšcido Domingo; and Washington National Opera's Porgy and Bess. At SFO, she will "assist in identifying new talent, help to ensure the highest quality of stage production, and work to broaden audiences for opera," according to a press release.

Glass's new opera, a collaboration with playwright Christopher Hampton, is about Appomattox, the site of the surrender by Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant that ended the Civil War. Its debut in the fall of 2007 will mark the first world premiere in San Francisco for Gockley, who oversaw more than 30 world premieres in his three decades at Houston Grand Opera.

The 2006-07 season will begin on September 8 with a production of Un ballo in maschera starring Voigt; Marco Armiliato will conduct. The opening weekend also includes a gala benefit and a free concert in Golden Gate Park on September 10.

Iphig_nie en Tauride, a co-production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, will end the season in June 2007. Robert Carsen is the director; Patrick Summers, Houston Grand Opera's music director, will conduct. The cast includes Graham, Bo Skovhus, and Paul Groves.

Other highlights include Zambello's production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, which originated at Seattle Opera, with Thomas Moser and Christine Brewer in the title roles; the Lyric Opera's production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut starring Mattila; and a revival of former SFO general director Lofti Mansouri's production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, with Soile Isokoski as the Marschallin and Joyce DiDonato as Octavian.

Also on the schedule are Johann Strauss's Der Fledermaus, Verdi's Rigoletto, Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (with Nathan Gunn as Figaro), Bizet's Carmen, and Mozart's Don Giovanni.

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