Dmitiri Hvorostovsky to appear as “Count di Luna”
Nicola Luisotti debuts as new Music Director
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
David Gockley, San Francisco Opera’s General Director, launches the Company’s 87th season with Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore at the War Memorial Opera House. Opening on Friday, September 11th with seven additional performances running through October 6th, Verdi’s classic melodrama is filled with many of opera’s most recognizable melodies . Il Trovatore has been a staple of San Francisco Opera’s repertory for more than 80 years.
Maestro Nicola Luisotti begins his inaugural season as the Company’s music director with Il Trovatore, featuring the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. An international cast of world renowned opera stars has been assembled for this season opening production, led by Italian tenor Marco Berti as “Manrico”, the troubador. Sondra Radvanovsky makes her San Francisco Opera debut as “Leonora”, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe 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. Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky returns to the Company as “Count di Luna”, a role he shares with Quinn Kelsey in this visually striking production by David McVicar directed by Walter Sutcliffe.
THE ANVIL CHORUS. Photo, Ken Howard
CHORUS: Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?
(Who cheers the gypsy’s days and raises up his spirits?)
Marco Berti (Manrico) made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2006 as “Don José” in Carmen Mr. Berti will sing Il Trovatore this season at the Metropolitan Opera. Returning to San Francisco Opera after recent critically acclaimed performances in the title role of 2008’s Simon Boccanegra, Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings the role of Manrico’s rival, the deceptive “Count di Luna”. Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey will take over the role in the final two performances, October 4th and 6th. Mr. Kelsey, a Merola Opera Program alumnus, made his San Francisco Opera debut as “Marcello” in last season’s production of La Boheme.
DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY and MARCO BERTI
American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky appears as “Leonora”, lady-in-waiting to the Princess and object of desire for both Manrico and the Count. Radvanovsky has previously performed this role at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. “Azucena”, a Gypsy who has posed as Manrico’s mother, is sung by internationally acclaimed artist Stephanie Blythe. Voted Musical America’s 2009 Vocalist of the Year, Ms. Blythe has previously sung Azucena at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and recently made her San Francisco Opera debut in the Verdi Requiem. Polish mezzo-soprano Malgorzata Walewska appears as Azucena in two performances, a role she has performed with Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
SONDRA RADVANOVSKY and STEPHANIE BLYTHE
NICOLA LUISOTTI and MALGORZATA WALEWSKA
Burak Bilgili makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Luna’s officer, “Ferrando”, a popular bass role he recently performed at the Metropolitan Opera and in Geneva. Appearing as Azucena’s friend “Inez” and Manrico’s accomplice “Ruiz” are San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Renée Tatum and Andrew Bidlack.
Among the most exciting recent directorial appointments in classical music is Maestro Nicola Luisotti. He begins his highly anticipated tenure as San Francisco Opera’s music director with Il Trovatore. Luisotti is the Company’s third music director and succeeds Sir John Pritchard and Donald Runnicles. Following in the footsteps of San Francisco Opera’s founder and first general director, Italian-born Gaetano Merola, Luisotti brings to the Company an innate command of the classic Italian operatic repertoire. In his inaugural season as San Francisco Opera’s music director, Maestro Luisotti conducts Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Otello, Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West), and Richard Strauss’s Salome.
IL TROVATORE. Photo, Robert Kusel
This production is large-scale and traditional. It is a San Francisco Opera co-production previously presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera. It is inspired by the haunting imagery of 18th-century Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. Originally directed by David McVicar, who made his San Francisco Opera debut with 2007’s Don Giovanni, this two-act revival is directed by British opera and theater director Walter Sutcliffe. The San Francisco Opera Chorus is directed by Ian Robertson.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the eight performances of Il Trovatore are scheduled for September 11 (7 p.m.), September 16 (7:30 p.m.), September 19 (8 p.m.), September 22 (8 p.m.), September 25 (8 p.m.), October 1 (7:30 p.m.), October 4 (2 p.m.), and October 6 (7:30 p.m.) 2009. For more information: SF OPERA
DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY and SONDRA RADVANOVSKY
Images, Ken Howard
See related articles and interviews:
FILM NOIR – 22 Newly Restored Classics Coming To The Roxie
CD – ZUILL BAILEY and SIMONE DINNERSTEIN, Beethoven’sComplete Works for Piano and Cello
STERN GROVE FINALE – Featuring Tenor Marco Berti
MAURICE SENDAK – At the Contemporary Jewish Museum
NICOLA LUISOTTI – Begins Inaugural Season As Music Director of SF Opera
THE EGYPTIAN (1954) – A Swords & Sandals Cultural Encounter at the de Young Museum
JULIE & JULIA – Pleasing To The Palate
JAMES JUDD – Whoop Click! Now At The Dark Room
NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER – ANNOUNCING 2009/10 PRIDE SEASON
FESTIVAL OPERA – Presents Charles Gounod’s FAUST
VERDI REQUIEM – AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL, AUGUST 14TH AND 15TH
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA WELCOMES NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR – NICOLA LUISOTTI
DANCING WITH THE DRAG QUEEN STARS – Who will be crowned Champion?!?
SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday and Sunday At The Castro Theatre
JOHN BALDESSARI: A Print Retrospective – Now at the Legion of Honor
L’AMICO FRITZ – This Week At Fort Mason
JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL – 29th Anniversary Opens July 23rd at the Castro Theatre
PATTY DUKE – Gala Appearance and Tribute at the Castro Theatre
VIVALDI and BUGS BUNNY – This Week At The San Francisco Symphony
ANTHONY MEIER FINE ARTS – Presenting Work by Rosana Castrillo Diaz
MONT ALTO MOTION PICURE ORCHESTRA – Accompanies Opening Night of the 14th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival
BEETHOVEN, MOZART, AND BOTTI – THIS WEEK AT SF SYMPHONY
ANNE BLUETHENTHAL – A DANCER DANCES, A CONVERSATION WITH SEÁN MARTINFIELD
THE CARMICHAEL SALON – Presents Photographer Clifford Baker
14th ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
TUTANKHAMUN – And The Golden Age Of Pharaohs
SALLY KELLERMAN – Hot Lips for Hot Hits at The Rrazz Room
MAKING THE BOYS – Frameline 33 Presents Documentary On the Making of THE BOYS IN THE BAND (1970)
DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
SF INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL – OPENS AT THE CASTRO THEATRE
TOSCA – TONIGHT AT SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
SF BALLET TO TOUR CHINA – Programs Include Tommason’s SWAN LAKE
LINDA BLAIR – With Peaches Christ, A Debut At Midnight Mass
LORDS OF THE SAMURAI – Now At The Asian Art Museum
AMANDA KING – At The Rrazz Room
RENT: THE BROADWAY TOUR – Returns To The Curran Theatre
WESLA WHITFIELD – At The Rrazz Room
SPAMALOT – THE “MONTY PYTHON” MUSICAL THAT GOES LIKE THIS
UP – IS UP UP UP AND AWAY!
CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
DANCING WITH THE DRAG QUEEN STARS – June 6th At CHERYL BURKE DANCE
DONALD RUNNICLES and CHRISTINE BREWER – CD, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”
CELEBRATE THE 1906 EARTHQUAKE –”SAN FRANCISCO”– At The Castro Theatre
THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM PRESENTS – Chagall And The Artists Of The Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949
RUBEN MARTIN – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
KING TUT – Returns to the de Young Museum
SCOTT NEVINS – At the Rrazz Room, San Francisco
KEELY SMITH – Making Magic at the Rrazz Room Through April 5th
HÉLÈNE RENAUT – Local Recording Artist Tonight At The Adobe Book Shop
CD – BRUCKNER’S 5TH SYMPHONY – NEW RELEASE FROM TELARC
CD Release – ANCIENT FUTURE Recordings Observes 30th Anniversary
WICKED – Now at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre
SAN FRANCISCO BOYS CHORUS – WILL SING AT THE INAUGURATION OF BARACK OBAMA
BRIAN PATTERSON – Local Hunk In Bay Area Premiere of ZANNA, DON’T
MILK – A Magnificent Film
CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
CD – BRAHMS: Ein Deutsches Requiem
CD – DAS LIED VON DER ERDE: Superb Live Recording by Stuart Skelton and Thomas Hampson
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
A CONVERSATION WITH MAESTRO HELMUTH RILLING
ANITA COCKTAIL and LEANNE BORGHESI – A 3-Way Dialogue
NORMA SHEARER in “MARIE ANTOINETTE” – At the Legion of Honor
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.
ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY