By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
Nicola Luisotti begins his inaugural year as music director on Friday, September 11 at the historic War Memorial Opera House with Giuseppe Verdi’s IL TROVATORE, featuring an all-star cast that includes Sondra Radvanovsky, Stephanie Blythe, Marco Berti, and Dmitri Hvorostovky. Highlights of the City’s fall cultural season, San Francisco Opera’s opening-night festivities include San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera Ball 2009: A Gala Benefit in Support of Opera Education and BRAVO! CLUB’S Opening Night Gala.
NICOLA LUISOTTI. Photo, Terrence McCarthy
The opening week celebration continues on Sunday, September 13 with a beloved Bay Area tradition: the annual San Francisco Opera in the Park at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park. This free concert features singers from the 2009–10 fall opera season with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
The festivities culminate on Saturday, September 19 as San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants partner with Webcor Builders to bring grand opera to the ballpark for the fourth time in two years. One of the Bay Area’s most anticipated community events, Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark brought over 27,000 opera and baseball fans to AT&T Park in June 2009. This unique free evening of entertainment features the evening’s performance of Il Trovatore, conducted by Maestro Luisotti and broadcast live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to the enormous scoreboard over the outfield of AT&T Park.
THE ANVIL CHORUS – from Il Trovatore. Photo, Ken Howard
CHORUS: Who cheers the gypsy’s days and raises up his spirits?
Opera At The Ballpark. Photo, Edgar Lee
Maestro Nicola Luisotti begins his tenure as San Francisco Opera’s third music director at the start of the 2009–10 Season, succeeding Sir John Pritchard and Donald Runnicles. In his inaugural season as the Company’s music director, Maestro Luisotti conducts Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Otello, Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West and Richard Strauss’s Salome. Among many special celebrations marking the start of his tenure, the Italian American community in San Francisco has honored Maestro Luisotti by naming him Grand Civic Marshal of the 141st Italian Heritage Columbus Day Parade on October 11th, the largest celebration of its kind in the United States.
DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (as “Count di Luna”). Photo, Ken Howard
NICOLA LUISOTTI. Photo, Terrence McCarthy
Opera Ball 2009: A Gala Benefit in Support of Opera Education
Now celebrating their 70th anniversary year, San Francisco Opera Guild presents Opera Ball 2009: A Gala Benefit in Support of Opera Education on Friday September 11. Hailed as one of the City’s premier philanthropic social events, Opera Ball raises funds for San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s education programs while treating guests to a glamorous evening of food, beverages and world-class entertainment. The event begins at 5 pm with an elegant cocktail reception in the atrium of the War Memorial Veterans Building and continues with the opening night performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore in the War Memorial Opera House at 7 p.m. At the conclusion of the opera, guests enter the Beaux-Arts style rotunda of San Francisco City Hall for a sumptuous dinner created by renowned Chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCall Associates and presented in the North and South Light Court rooms. The evening culminates with dancing under the rotunda to live musical entertainment. Opera Ball 2009 co-chairs are Teresa Medearis and Adrianna Pope Sullivan.
JOHAN BOTHA – as Otello. Photo, Ken Howard
BRAVO! CLUB’S 18th Annual Opening Night Gala
BRAVO! CLUB, San Francisco Opera’s group of young professionals dedicated to building a new audience for opera, presents its 18th annual opening night gala, co-chaired by Alexandra Siliezar and Marie Carr. BRAVO! CLUB hosts a pre-performance champagne and cocktail reception featuring live flamenco dancing at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 11 and a delicious post-performance dinner following Verdi’s Il Trovatore, both in San Francisco’s City Hall. To conclude the evening, guests join Opera Ball patrons for dancing under the rotunda to live musical entertainment. BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala co-chairs are Alexandra Siliezar and Marie Carr.
NADJA MICHAEL – as Salome. Photo, Clive Barda
Italian tenor Marco Berti stars in the title role of this suspenseful story of a corrupt count, a dashing warrior and a Gypsy who plots to avenge her mother’s wrongful death. Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky returns to the Company as Count di Luna and Sondra Radvanovsky, whose exquisite soprano voice has thrilled audiences from Vienna to New York, makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Leonora. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, Musical America’s 2009 “Vocalist of the Year,” makes her first appearance in a fully staged San Francisco Opera production in these performances as Azucena. Blythe shares the role with Malgorzata Walewska, also making her San Francisco Opera debut, in this critically acclaimed production by David McVicar directed by Walter Sutcliffe.
For more information: OPENING NIGHT – Il Tovatore
DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY and SONDRA RADVANOVSKY
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: FRIDAY, AUGUST 21st @ 6:15 pm
THE EGYPTIAN (1954) — Starring Edmund Purdom as “Sinuhe”
A Swords & Sandals Cultural Encounter at the de Young Museum
Seán Martinfield will introduce the 1954 CinemaScope classic, The Egyptian, starring Edmund Purdom, Gene Tierney, Victor Mature, Jean Simmons, and Bella Darvi as a “Woman of Babylon”. The 20th Century Fox epic is a tale of Pharaoh Ahkenaton, father of Tutankhamun. This special event is one of many during the current exhibit: TUTANKHAMUN: And the Golden Age of the Pharaohs.
Click here for more information: THE EGYPTIAN, August 21st, 6:15 pm
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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”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. 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: email@example.com.
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