San Francisco Opera in 2021/22

An unusual 2021-2022 season for San Francisco Opera

SFO’s new music director Eun Sun Kim (c) Marc Olivier Le Blanc

San Francisco Opera’s upcoming 2021-2022 season looks very different from anything they have ever done. It is not the repertory – which consists of familiar works by Mozart, Beethoven and Puccini and a reprise of one of its more successful contemporary commissions – but the format.

Live performances in the War Memorial Opera House for the first time since December 2019 feature five fully staged operas and two concerts. For the first time in the company’s history, operas will not be run in repertory. Instead, they are spread out to allow three weeks between opera runs, a concession to COVID-19 protocols.

Puccini’s Tosca, with Ailyn Pérez and Michael Fabiano in the lead roles, opens the season 21 August to 5 September, the earliest start in the company’s history. Newly minted music director, Eun Sun Kim, conducts. A 10 September concert features Kim with soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the stars of the company’s 2019 production of Dvorak’s Rusalka. Those magnificent performances [click here] introduced Kim to San Francisco audiences, and shortly thereafter she replaced the departing Nicola Luisotti.

Set design for San Francisco Opera’s new Fidelio

Beethoven’s Fidelio, a new production, had originally been scheduled to open the 2020 season, but that never happened. It finally gets performances from 14-30 October, with a cast that includes tenor Russell Thomas and soprano Elza van den Heever.

The company completes its trio of new productions that update the Mozart-Da Ponte operas to eras in American history. Le nozze di Figaro enlivened the 2019 fall season [click here]. Così fan tutte runs 21 November to 3 December, and Don Giovanni will be staged 4 June to 2 July 2022. Henrik Nánási conducts Cosí and Bertrand de Billy conducts Giovanni. The 2022 schedule also brings back 2016’s Dream of the Red Chamber [click here] with music by Bright Sheng, a libretto by David Henry Hwang and an all-Asian cast (14 June to 3 July).

Verdi is on the schedule, if only for a single concert on 30 June, with Eun Sun Kim conducting selections that feature soprano Nicole Car, tenor Arturo Chacôn-Cruz and bass Soloman Howard.

Several of these presentations will also be streamed. The 10 September concert will be simulcast free to the giant screen at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team [click here]. And three performances each of two fall productions will be live-streamed worldwide, Fidelio (on 14, 17, 20 October), and Così fan tutte (on 21, 23, 27 November). Virtual tickets are $25.

Full details on the season can be found at [click here].

Harvey Steiman

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