RENÉE FLEMING IS “LUCREZIA BORGIA” – Friday, 9/23, at San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera presents the Company premiere of Gaetano Donizetti’s LUCREZIA BORGIA at the War Memorial Opera House. Opening on Friday, September 23rd with six subsequent performances through October 11th, Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece features legendary soprano Renée Fleming in the title role. Production designer and director John Pascoe makes his San Francisco Opera directorial debut with this production, and conductor Riccardo Frizza makes his Company debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

7 Performances: September 23rd through October 11th
RENÉE FLEMING — As “Lucrezia Borgia”
Renée Fleming, one of the most acclaimed sopranos and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, returns to San Francisco Opera to appear as the femme fatale known for her ruthless pursuit of power and facile agility with poison rings. It is composer Donizetti who gives her poignant vulnerability in the moment she faces her long-lost son. Ms Fleming last appeared with the Company in 2004 when she presented a season-opening gala concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. She made her San Francisco Opera debut in 1991 as “Countess Almaviva” in Le Nozze di Figaro and has since appeared with the Company in the title roles of Rusalka and Louise, as the “Marschallin” in Der Rosenkavalier and as “Salomé” in Hérodiade. She created the roles of “Madame de Tourvel” in Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons and “Blanche DuBois” in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire—two of San Francisco Opera’s many world premiere commissions. A three-time Grammy Award winner, Fleming will perform this season with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Berlin Philharmonic, and more.


A grand prize winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Michael Fabiano makes his San Francisco Opera debut as “Gennaro”, a role he recently performed at English National Opera. Known to many through his role on the Metropolitan Opera’s 2009 documentary The Audition, Fabiano’s recent engagements include the “Duke of Mantua” in Rigoletto at the Dresden Semperoper and English National Opera; “Edgardo” in Lucia di Lammermoor with Vancouver Opera and at the ABAO in Bilbao; “Rodolfo” (La Bohème) with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Limoges Opera; and “Rinuccio” in Gianni Schicchi at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and Greek National Opera.
Elizabeth DeShong, Mezzo-soprano, appears as “Maffio Orsini”, a role she recently debuted at English National Opera with Michael Fabiano. DeShong made her San Francisco Opera debut as “the Page” in Salome and her other recent credits include “Hänsel” in Hänsel und Gretel and “Kitchen Girl” in Rusalka at the Glyndebourne Festival; the title role of La Cenerentola with Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company; and “Hermia” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company.

Vitalij Kowaljow — Elizabeth DeShong — Michael Fabiano

Vitalij Kowaljow, Bass, returns to San Francisco Opera as “Alfonso d’Este”, following past performances with the Company as “Sparafucile” in Rigoletto,”Jacopo Fiesco” in Simon Boccanegra and “Pimen” in Boris Godunov. Kowaljow’s impressive repertoire spans more than forty-five roles including “Philip II” in Don Carlos, “Banquo” in Macbeth, “Ramfis” in Aïda, “Padre Guardiano” in La Forza del Destino and the title role of Attila. Recent engagements include “Wotan” and the “Wanderer” in Der Ring des Nibelungen with Los Angeles Opera; “Wotan” in Die Walküre at Milan’s La Scala and “Gremin” in Eugene Onegin with Lyric Opera of Chicago.
This Washington National Opera production, created for Renée Fleming in 2008, was designed and is directed by John Pascoe, in his Company directorial debut. A native of England, Pascoe made his U.S. debut with San Francisco Opera as the set designer for Giulio Cesare in 1982 and returned to the Company as the set designer for Anna Bolena (1984, 1995) and Orlando (1985, 2000). Pascoe has previously directed and designed productions that have been seen at most of the world’s major opera houses, including San Francisco Opera; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Metropolitan Opera; English National Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Houston Grand Opera; Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera.
Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza makes his San Francisco Opera debut with this production. He has previously led productions of many of Donizetti’s best-known works, including La Fille du Régiment in Houston, Washington and Geneva; L’Elisir d’Amore in Amsterdam and Piacenza; Anna Bolena in Dresden; and Maria Stuarda in Rome and Macerata. Upcoming engagements include L’Elisir d’Amore in Dresden.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the seven performances of Lucrezia Borgia are scheduled for September 23 (8 p.m.), September 26 (7:30 p.m.), September 29 (7:30 p.m.), October 2 (2 p.m.), October 5 (7:30 p.m.), October 8 (8 p.m.), and October 11 (8 p.m.), 2011.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: LUCREZIA BORGIA


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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

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