Friday, October 21, 2016

Francesca Zambello Returns to the San Francisco Opera with a New Verdi Production

Next month will begin with a new staging for the San Francisco Opera of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, directed by Francesca Zambello. This production is shared with the Washington National Opera, the Seattle Opera, and the Minnesota Opera. It will feature the theatrical debut of provocative visual artist RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis), drawing (pun sort of intended) upon bold urban contemporary settings.

Soprano Leah Crocetto will return to the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to sing the title role. This will be her debut performance in this role, which will also be the case for her Radames, who will be sung by tenor Brian Jagde. Amneris, daughter of the King of Egypt, who expects to marry Radames, will be sung by mezzo Ekaterina Semenchuk. Baritone George Gagnidze, who made such an deep impression as Carlo Gérard in the season opener Andrea Chénier, will return in the role Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia defeated by the Egyptian army and taken prisoner. Bass Raymond Aceto will sing the role of the High Priest Ramfis. Music Director Nicola Luisotti will conduct all but the final production, which will be led by Resident Conductor Jordi Bernàcer. The SFO Chorus will be directed by Ian Robertson.

Aida will be given eleven performances, all sung in Italian with English supertitles. These will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 23, and 30 and December 3 and 6 and at 2 p.m. on November 20 and 27. Performances will take place at the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue, on the northwest corner of Grove Street. Single tickets are priced from $26 to $397 (subject to change). Tickets may be purchased online through an event page on the SFO Web site that provides hyperlinks for each performance. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office in the outer lobby of the Opera House. Standing room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance. They are sold for $10, cash only.

Aida will also be given an Insight Panel. This provides members of both the cast and the creative team to share their thoughts on preparing this production. SFO Dramaturg Kip Cranna will moderate, and the panelists will include Zambello, Crocetto, and Jagde. Time is left at the end of the discussion for a Q&A with the audience. The entire event is one hour, and it will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26. The venue will be Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Avenue, on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Admission is free for SFO members, subscribers, and students with valid identification. The charge for all others is $5. Pre-registration (including for those who do not have to pay) can be arranged through an Eventbrite event page.

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