The dashing conductor. Photo by Avaro Jaramillo.

San Francisco Opera Ends its Season on a Stylish Note

The final production of  San Francisco’s Opera’s 2023 Fall Season marked the return Gaetano Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love (L’Elisir d’Amore) at the War Memorial Opera House.

Conceived by director Daniel Slater with associate director and choreographer Tim Claydon, the updated setting for this 1832 romance takes place on the Italian Riviera during the 1950s.

From our vantage point in Box D, we observed that the all the members of the orchestra in the pit were impeccably attired.

In mark contrast to ensembles that embrace the “casual” ethic popular these days, SFO musicians looked smart and glamourous.

The guest conductor Ramón Tebar Ramón Tebar made his Company debut leading the orchestra in the same work that marked his debut with Barcelona’s Gran Theatre del Liceu, and he looked sensational.

Although Spanish, he is a dashing  “la bella figura” which literally translates from the Italian  to “the beautiful figure.”

For that Elixir production, Spain’s Opera World said Tebar was “capable of sustaining with spirit and precision the tension of the singers and the passionate humor of the characters.”

Samoan tenor Pene Pati, whose meteoric international career began at San Francisco Opera, notably as the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto (2017), bows as the lovable Nemorino, a role he debuted at the Paris Opera in 2021.

One of the highlights of Donizetti’s opera is Nemorino’s famous Act II aria, “Una furtiva lagrima” (“A furtive tear”), which Pati recorded for his 2022 debut album for Warner Classics.