SFO General Manager (Photo Credit: Sasha Arutyunova)

San Francisco Opera Reaches Centennial Milestone This Season

San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock and Caroline H. Hume Music Director Eun Sun Kim recentlly announced plans for the Company’s 100th season.

“From the moment Gaetano Merola raised the first curtain on San Francisco Opera, this has been a company of possibility, of excellence, of innovative spirit” says General Director Matthew Shilvock. “Our centennial will honor the extraordinary people who shaped our first hundred years, and also be a stepping-off point into the incredible creative possibilities that lie ahead. As we begin our second century, we want to be a place where our community feels that their stories are being told, where we are energizing new conceptions of the art form, and where we continue to create experiences so profound that they reverberate for a lifetime.”

As only the third American opera company in history to reach this centennial milestone, the Company’s 2022–23 Season will honor San Francisco Opera’s glorious past while inviting the public into an exciting new era of musical excellence under Kim’s music directorship and a renewed commitment to innovation. The season opens on September 9 with an Opening Night Concert in conjunction with the return of Opera Ball followed by eight mainstage operas, additional concerts and community events through July 1, 2023.

San Francisco Opera’s 100th season is anchored by the premieres of new works from two important Bay Area composers: the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by John Adams, which was commissioned for the Company’s centenary, and the local premiere of El último sueño de Frida y Diegoby Gabriela Lena Frank, a San Francisco Opera co-commission that will receive its first performances at San Diego Opera in October 2022 before coming to the War Memorial Opera House in June 2023.

The 2022–23 Season marks a return to full strength with eight mainstage productions and several concerts. Opening weekend kicks off Friday, September 9, with a special centennial Opera Ball celebration and concert featuring soprano Nadine Sierra, tenors Michael Fabiano and Pene Pati and baritone Lucas Meachem with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra under the baton of Eun Sun Kim. On Saturday, September 10, the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra takes center stage with Kim leading a cast headed by Julia Bullock and Gerald Finley as the titular lovers. Sunday, September 11 marks the return of another Company tradition, the free Opera in the Park concert at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park.

New San Francisco Opera productions include Verdi’s La Traviata in a staging by director Shawna Lucey starring soprano Pretty Yende in her Company debut; the return of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, staged only once before by the Company in 1959, featuring countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński in a new production by Matthew Ozawa; and a new interpretation of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly by director Amon Miyamoto starring Karah Son and Michael Fabiano.

In a celebration of the pioneering aesthetic that has defined the Company’s first century, two towering operatic masterpieces of the twentieth century return to San Francisco Opera where each had its American premiere during the 1950s: Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites featuring a cast headed by Heidi Stober as Blanche de la Force, and Richard Strauss’ momentous Die Frau ohne Schatten featuring the returns of Nina Stemme, Camilla Nylund and former music director Sir Donald Runnicles in David Hockney’s production. Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin will be presented in the Bay Area premiere of Robert Carsen’s acclaimed production with Evgenia Muraveva in her American debut as Tatyana and Gordon Bintner making his Company debut as Onegin.

Centennial celebrations reach another pinnacle on June 16, 2023 with the 100th Anniversary Concert, a gala event 100 years in the making that looks back at the Company’s first century and on toward the future.