THE MAKROPULOS CASE – A Premiere At San Francisco Opera

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera presents Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case in six performances running Wednesday, November 10th through Sunday afternoon, November 28th at the War Memorial Opera House. Following her triumphs in the title roles of Jenůfa and Káťa Kabanová, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila makes her role debut in one of Janáček’s most intriguing operas as the mysterious “Emilia Marty”. Tenor Miro Dvorsky returns to the Company as “Albert Gregor” and bass-baritone Gerd Grochowski makes his San Francisco Opera debut as “Baron Jaroslav Prus”.

These performances, which mark the premiere of this new co-production with Finnish National Opera, reunite Mattila with Olivier Tambosi, director of her triumphant Manon Lescaut at San Francisco Opera in 2006.  Czech conductor and Janáček expert Jiří Bĕlohlávek, who currently serves as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, makes his Company debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. This production marks the fourth time San Francisco Opera has performed The Makropulos Case including its 1966 United States premiere with Marie Collier in the title role.

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KARITA MATTILA

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JIŘI BĚLOHÁVEK, Conductor

Internationally known for the beauty and versatility of her lyric voice as well as her intense dramatic portrayals, soprano Karita Mattila returns to San Francisco Opera for her third role debut with the Company as “Emilia Marty”. Mattila made her San Francisco Opera debut in 1989 as “Ilia” in Idomeneo and returned in 1993 as “Eva” in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; in 1996 as “Elsa” in Lohengrin (role debut); in 2002 as “Katerina” in Kát’a Kabanová (role debut) and in 2006 in the title role of Manon Lescaut. In addition to her many roles by Puccini, Strauss, Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Wagner, Mattila displays a unique mastery of Janáček’s music. Recent credits include the title role of Kát’a Kabanová at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and Helsinki Opera; and the title role of Jenůfa at Los Angeles Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
 

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MIRO DVORSKY

Tenor Miro Dvorsky returns to San Francisco Opera as “Albert Gregor”, a role he recently performed at Milan’s La Scala.  Dvorsky previously appeared at San Francisco Opera in 2004 as “Alfredo Germont” in La Traviata and “Mario Cavaradossi” in Tosca. Other recent performances include “Laca Klemeň” in Jenůfa at La Scala and Hamburg State Opera, “Macduff” in Macbeth at Florence’s Maggio Musicale Festival and Hamburg State Opera, and “B.F. Pinkerton” in Madama Butterfly at Teatro Verdi Trieste.

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GERD GROCHOWSKI — LEOŠ JANÁČEK

Bass-baritone Gerd Grochowski makes his San Francisco Opera debut as “Baron Jaroslav Prus”, a role he has previously performed in Madrid and Stuttgart. Grochowski frequently appears in leading roles in Wagner’s Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Götterdämmerung and Der Fliegende Hollander, and has previously performed Janáček’s final opera, The House of the Dead, in Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam and Vienna. Former Adler Fellow Dale Travis, who has performed in more than thirty productions with the Company, returns as “Dr. Kolenatý”.
 
These performances are dedicated to the memory of former San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, who passed away in July 2010. Renowned for masterful interpretations of the works of Janáček and Dvořák, Mackerras led the Company’s most recent production of The Makropulos Case in 1993.

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SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS

Click here to purchase tickets on-line: The Makropulos Case
Wednesday, 11/10 (7:30 pm); Saturday, 11/13 (8 pm); Tuesday, 11/16 (8 pm); Saturday, 11/20 (8 pm); Wednesday, 11/24 (7:30 pm); Sunday, 11/28 (2 pm)
Sung in Czech with English supertitles.

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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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