Handel's "Partenope" Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Handelians Alert: SF Opera Stages “Partenope”

San Francisco Opera’s 2024 Summer Season continues June 15 with George Frideric Handel’s Partenope in director Christopher Alden’s award-winning production. Last seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage in 2014, this witty and sexy staging of Handel’s 1730 romantic comedy updates the opera’s setting from the mythical founding of Naples to a 1920s Parisian salon. Christopher Moulds conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and an international cast of Handelians including three making house debuts and three returning San Francisco Opera artists.

The Company premiere of Alden’s vision for Partenope was a critical and popular hit in 2014. The San Francisco Chronicle declared, “The continuing integration of Handel’s work into the mainstream of operatic life remains one of the great success stories of the past decades. A production like this one, blending musical seriousness with theatrical panache, can only help matters further.” The Mercury News said Alden’s staging “turns the opera’s gender-bending plot into a nonstop parade of visual and vocal delights.”

Christopher Alden’s work with San Francisco Opera extends back 50 years when he directed the affiliate company Western Opera Theater’s 1974 touring production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. He has returned on many occasions to direct a wide repertoire including the Company premiere of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani and his Olivier Award-winning production of Partenope. This revival of Partenope, assisted by associate director Roy Rallo, features the work of creative team collaborators set designer Andrew Lieberman, costume designer Jon Morrell, original lighting designer Adam Silverman relit this season by Gary Marder and choreographer Colm Seery.

The Sunday, June 23 matinee performance of Partenope will be livestreamed at 2 p.m. PT. The opera will also be available to watch on demand for 48 hours beginning on Monday, June 24 at 10 a.m. PT. Tickets for the livestream and limited on-demand viewing are $27.50. For tickets and more information about livestreams, visit sfopera.com/digital.