LE NOZZE DI FIGARO – Opens 9/21 at San Francisco Opera

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s eternally popular comedy LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (The Marriage of Figaro) in nine performances running September 21st –October 22nd at the War Memorial Opera House. A cast of vivid characters is headlined by soprano Danielle de Niese in her highly-anticipated Company debut as “Susanna” and young Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as “Figaro”. American soprano Ellie Dehn debuts as the “Countess Almaviva” and Lucas Meachem is her philandering husband. Making her Company debut as “Cherubino” is Canadian mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier. Performing in the final three performances of this production are Kostas Smoriginas as “Figaro”, Heidi Stober as “Susanna” and Trevor Scheunemann as “Count Almaviva”. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the Company’s beloved production directed by John Copley.

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DANIELLE DE NIESE – “Susanna”. Photo, Marty Sohl
LUCA PISARONI – “Figaro”. Photo, Marco Borggreve

Vocally and visually stunning lyric soprano Danielle de Niese brings one of her signature roles to San Francisco Opera for her Company debut as the beautiful maid “Susanna”, a role for which she has received acclaim in both New York and Chicago. Her credits include the title role of L’Incoronazione di Poppea in Paris, Madrid, London, Amsterdam and Glyndebourne; and “Cleopatra” in Giulio Cesare in Egitto in Chicago, Brussels and Glyndebourne.

Captivating young bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni returns to San Francisco Opera in the title role of this production after first appearing with the Company as “Masetto” in 2007’s Don Giovanni. Pisaroni has previously appeared as Figaro at the Salzburg Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Netherlands Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.  Following his performances in San Francisco, Pisaroni will bring the role to Paris Opera and Vienna State Opera. Since his impressive 2007 debut as Figaro at the age of 26, Pisaroni’s other credits have included “Leporello” in Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne; “Aeneas” in Dido and Aeneas in London, Amsterdam and Vienna; “Guglielmo” in Così fan tutte in Paris; and “Achilla” in Giulio Cesare in Egitto in Amsterdam and Brussels.

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ELLIE DEHN (the Countess) and MICHÈLE LOSIER (Cherubino)

American soprano Ellie Dehn makes her San Francisco Opera debut as “Countess Almaviva”, a role she will also perform this season at Houston Grand Opera. Dehn’s other recent roles include “Donna Anna” in Don Giovanni at the Ravinia Festival, “Mimi” in La Bohème at the San Diego Opera and Minnesota Opera, and “Freia” in Das Rheingold at Los Angeles Opera.  Former Adler Fellow Lucas Meachem returns to San Francisco Opera as “Count Almaviva”, a role he recently performed at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. Meachem has recently performed “Figaro” in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Colorado and Los Angeles Opera and the title role in Don Giovanni at New Orleans Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Canadian mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier brings her portrayal of the humorous young page “Cherubino” to San Francisco Opera following her recent appearances in the role at Washington National Opera. Her repertoire includes “Suzuki” in Madama Butterfly, “Dorabella” in Così fan tutte, “Wellgunde” in Der Ring des Nibelungen and “Charlotte” in Werther.

The final three performances of this production (October 10, 16 and 22) feature Heidi Stober, Kostas Smoriginas and Trevor Scheunemann. Soprano Heidi Stober makes her San Francisco Opera debut this season as “Sophie” in Werther and returns in this production as “Susanna”, a role she recently performed at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Winner of the 2009 Operalia Competition, Kostas Smoriginas appears at San Francisco Opera for the first time as “Figaro”, which he has previously performed at Washington National Opera and the Lithuanian National Opera. Baritone Trevor Scheunemann appeared last season at San Francisco Opera as “Jake Wallace” in La Fanciulla del West and returns as “Count Almaviva”, a role he has performed at Washington National Opera.

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LUCAS MEACHAM and TREVOR SCHEUNEMANN

British opera director and producer John Copley made his San Francisco Opera debut directing Handel’s Giulio Cesare in 1982 and this year celebrates his 30th engagement with the Company. His impressive list of San Francisco Opera credits include six seasons of La Traviata, the U.S. premiere of Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage, Handel’s Orlando and Semele, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Queen of Spades, Il Trovatore, Idomeneo, Anna Bolena, Peter Grimes, Manon and Ariodante.
                                                                               
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the nine performances of Le Nozze di Figaro are scheduled for September 21st (8 pm), September 23rd (7:30 pm), September 25th (8 pm), September 30th (7:30 pm), October 3rd (2 pm), October 5th (7:30 pm), October 10th (2 pm), October 16th (8 pm), and October 22nd (8 pm).
Click here to order tickets on-line: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

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SARA GARTLAND (Barbarina), GREG FEDDERLY (Don Basilio),
and CATHERINE COOK (Marcellina)

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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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