Ferry riders alert: It’s not too late to catch one of the major cultural events of the season.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the final performance of Così fan tutte is scheduled for December 3 at 7:30 pm.
Hailed for her “richly expressive soprano” (New York Times) as Bess in Gershwin’s Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, soprano Nicole Cabell sings the role of Mozart’s Fiordiligi for the first time in this production. A former winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, Cabell has appeared with San Francisco Opera as Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts, currently a resident artist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage as Fiordiligi’s sister, Dorabella. Roberts’ previous appearances with San Francisco Opera have included Bao Chai in Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, the title role of Bizet’s Carmen and Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
Tenor Ben Bliss makes his Company debut as Ferrando, a role he has performed to great acclaim with the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company and other theaters. At the Met, the Kansas City native has also distinguished himself in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and a family version of The Magic Flute, for which the New York Times praised his “tender yet ample lyric tenor voice and earnestness.” Baritone John Brancy, who portrays Guglielmo, first appeared with the Company as Donald in Britten’s Billy Budd in the fall of 2019. A few months earlier, he was acknowledged for bringing “frothing intensity” (New Yorker) to Meredith Monk’s Atlas in the 2019 staging by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto first appeared with San Francisco Opera in 1979 in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda and has returned on numerous occasions, including commanding performances in the title role of Verdi’s Attila (2012) and Philip II in the same composer’s Don Carlo (2016). The Italian bass takes on Don Alfonso, the gentleman philosopher who instigates the opera’s drama with his wager. SopranoNicole Heaston made her 2019 Company debut as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. The acclaimed interpreter of the works of Mozart returns this season for the second chapter of the trilogy as the maid, Despina.
Henrik Nánási conducted San Francisco Opera’s presentation of The Marriage of Figaro in 2019, demonstrating, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, that his “buoyant, skillful leadership in the Company’s 2017 Elektra [Nánási’s local debut] turns out to have been no fluke.” The Hungarian maestro returns to lead the San Francisco Opera, Chorus and cast in Mozart’s masterpiece, which is often considered the quintessential ensemble opera.
Ian Robertson prepares the Chorus in the last stage production of his 35-season career as the Company’s chorus director before retiring at the end of the year.
See recent profile of Ian in past edition of Bay Crossings.