SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – “The Magic Flute” opens Cinema Series at the Sundance Kabuki

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera partners with Sundance Cinemas to present HD screenings of the Company’s acclaimed productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Verdi’s Otello, Richard Strauss’ Salome and Puccini’s Il Trittico at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco. Each production will be screened twice – Tuesdays at 7:00 pm and Saturdays at 10:30 am. The series begins with The Magic Flute on January 24th and 28th, followed by Otello on February 28th and March 3rd. Salome plays March 27th and 31st and concludes with Il Trittico May 15th and 19th.  These screenings mark the third San Francisco Opera’s popular cinema presentations to be shown at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beloved opera, The Magic Flute, is filled with ritual and symbolism. Mozart’s masterpiece is a playful and profound look at the human quest for love, wisdom, and virtue.  Donald Runnicles conducts a cast headed by acclaimed lyric tenor Piotr Beczala as “Tamino” and soprano Dina Kuznetsova as “Pamina”.  The cast also features Erika Miklósa as the “Queen of the Night”, baritone Christopher Maltman as “Papageno”, and bass Georg Zeppenfeld as “Sarastro”.  Directed by Stanley Garner, the production is designed by renowned artist Gerald Scarfe, whose captivating vision of The Magic Flute features a menagerie of fantastical creatures and a 30-foot-tall pyramid that morphs as the opera’s plot unfolds.  A long-time political cartoonist for London’s Sunday Times, Scarfe’s extensive work in opera, theater, and film includes designing and directing the animation for Pink Floyd’s The Wall concerts and film.

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MAGIC FLUTE – Christopher Maltman (Papageno).
Photo, Terrence McCarthy

Giuseppe Verdi’s masterwork Otello is conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti. Considered by many to be one of Verdi’s greatest operas, Shakespeare’s flawed warrior “Otello” is sung by tenor Johan Botha, one of today’s preeminent interpreters of the role.  Soprano Zvetelina Vassileva sings the role of Otello’s faithful and falsely accused wife “Desdemona”, and Italian baritone Marco Vratogna is the manipulative soldier “Iago”.  Rounding out the cast is tenor Beau Gibson (“Cassio”), mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum (“Emilia”), and bass Eric Halfvarson (“Lodovico”). Conceived by Sir Peter Hall, this Lyric Opera of Chicago production is directed by Stephen Barlow.

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JOHAN BOTHA as “Otello”. Photo, Terrence McCarthy

Richard Strauss’ biblical drama Salome is inspired by the Oscar Wilde play.The story of “Salome” and her lecherous stepfather “Herod” has shocked opera audiences since its first performance. Starring in the title role is soprano Nadja Michael, who has sung the role to great acclaim at Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Milan’s La Scala. Tenor Kim Begley sings the role of “King Herod”, with bass-baritone Greer Grimsley as the doomed “Jokanaan”, mezzo-soprano Irina Mishura as “Herodias”, and tenor Garrett Sorenson as “Narraboth”.  This San Francisco Opera co-production with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and L’Opéra de Montréal is directed by Seán Curran.  San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.

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NADJA MICHAEL – As “Salome”. Photo, Terrence McCarthy

Giacomo Puccini’s triptych Il Trittico is a trio of one-act operas that runs the gamut from heart-wrenching tragedy to madcap comedy. Soprano Patricia Racette, heralded as one of the premiere American dramatic sopranos of our time, portrays the heroine in each of the one-act operas – Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. The cast also features baritone Paolo Gavanelli, tenor Brandon Jovanovich, celebrated contralto Ewa Podleś and bass Andrea Silvestrelli.  San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers leads these performances, and James Robinson directs this inventively updated production from New York City Opera.

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IL TABARRO – Brandon Jovanovich and Patricia Racette
Photo, Cory Weaver

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SUOR ANGELICA – Patricia Racette
Photo, Cory Weaver

Recorded live in high definition at San Francisco’s historic War Memorial Opera House, all shows include English subtitles and a brief intermission with behind the scenes interviews. All performances feature the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and San Francisco Opera Chorus (Ian Robertson, Chorus Director). San Francisco Opera’s education department presents free, informative 25 minute pre-screening lectures prior to each Saturday morning performance: The Magic Flute, January 28th; Otello, March 3rd; Salome, March 31st; and Il Trittico, May 19th. Lectures begin at 10:00 am.

Click here for ticket information: Grand Opera Cinema Series

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