GOUNOD’S “FAUST” – To Open SF Opera’s Summer Season, June 5th

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera opens the Summer 2010 season with Charles Gounod’s FAUST, beginning June 5th with seven subsequent performances through July 1st at the War Memorial Opera House. Tenor Stefano Secco stars in the title role alongside soprano Patricia Racette as Marguerite and bass-baritone John Relyea as Méphistophélès. This Lyric Opera of Chicago production presented in San Francisco for the first time is directed by Jose Maria Condemi. Italian maestro Maurizio Benini conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and Assistant Music Director Giuseppe Finzi leads the final two performances.

Faust is Gounod’s masterpiece, an ultimate jewel in classic French Romantic opera. It’s story concerns Goethe’s forlorn philosopher and the regaining of his youth by forfeiting his soul to the Devil. This ever-popular opera has been performed in 18 previous San Francisco Opera seasons and has featured such legends as Jussi Björling, Ezio Pinza, Licia Albanese, and Samuel Ramey. Stefano Secco, making his role debut as Faust, headlines the trio of leading characters. The Italian tenor made his San Francisco Opera concert debut last season in Verdi’s Requiem and will return next fall as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Toronto native John Relyea returns to San Francisco Opera to sing Méphistophélès, a role he has recently sung at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. A former Adler Fellow who has established himself as one of the leading bass-baritones of his generation, Relyea was most recently seen at San Francisco Opera in the title role of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

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JOHN RELYEA

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STEFAN SECCO and PATRICIA RACETTE

Renowned American dramatic soprano Patricia Racette continues her more than 20-year relationship with San Francisco Opera as she returns to sing Marguerite, a role she has previously performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Opera Australia. Most recently, Racette appeared with San Francisco Opera as each of the three heroines in Puccini’s triptych Il Trittico.  Garnering great acclaim for her performances, Racette went on to thrill audiences in New York by reprising the roles at the Metropolitan Opera. In recent weeks, the soprano has generated even more headlines after stepping in on late notice to make her Met role debut as Puccini’s Tosca. A Merola Opera Program alumna and former Adler Fellow, Patricia Racette has appeared in 28 mainstage productions with San Francisco Opera.
                                            
Baritone Brian Mulligan recently made his role debuts as Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) with English National Opera and returns to San Francisco Opera to appear as Marguerite’s brother Valentin for the first time. Mulligan will also return this fall to appear in the Company’s productions of Werther, Madama Butterfly and Cyrano de Bergerac. Soprano Daniela Mack makes her role debut as Faust’s student Siebel in her first return to San Francisco Opera since her time as an Adler Fellow. Mack debuted another trouser role with San Francisco Opera in 2008 when she stepped in for an ailing Alice Coote as Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and she has recently appeared as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) at Opera Omaha and the title role of La Cenerentola at Opera Colorado.

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DANIELA MACK and BRIAN MULLIGAN

Italian maestro Maurizio Benini makes his San Francisco Opera debut conducting Gounod’s vivid score. An active conducter in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, Benini’s recent engagements include La Bohème and Il turco in Italia at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Met; and L’elisir d’amore at the Glyndebourne Festival. Recently appointed artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara, Jose Maria Condemi directs this passion-filled production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which was designed by Robert Perdziola.
 
Sung in French with English supertitles, the eight performances of Faust are scheduled for June 5 (7:30 p.m.), June 8 (7:30 p.m.), June 11 (7:30 p.m.), June 16 (7 p.m.), June 20 (1:30 p.m.), June 23 (7 p.m.), June 26 (1:30 p.m.) and July 1 (7 p.m.), 2010.

All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by San Francisco Opera Director of Music Administration Dr. Clifford Cranna. Talks begin fifty-five minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.

Click on the photo for more information:

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JOHN RELYEA – as Méphistophélès

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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”, 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: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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