This past Tuesday San Francisco Opera (SFO) announced a change in casting for its season-opening production of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot. Maria Agresta, who was to sing the role of Liù in the September performances, had to withdraw due to illness. She will be replaced by American soprano Toni Marie Palmertree:
photograph by Valentina Sadiul
Palmertree, currently an Adler Fellow, was originally scheduled to sing this role in the last two performances of the opera’s September run; but now she will sing in all six performances. With its strikingly imaginative designs conceived by David Hockney, this staging of Turandot has become one of SFO’s most popular productions:
photograph by Cory Weaver
This season the staging will be directed by Garnett Bruce.
This will be the latest SFO offering to be given double casting. The last took place at the end of 2014, when the two casts for Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, alternated roughly in successive performances. This time one cast will perform at the very beginning of the season, while the second cast will bring the fall season to its conclusion. Palmertree will sing only in the first cast, while Leah Crocetto will return to reprise her singing of Liù in the second cast.
The title role will see two familiar sopranos return to SFO. In September the part will be sung by Martina Serafin; and, at the end of the season, the role will be taken by Nina Stemme. The other alternating role will be the bass role of Timur, taken by Raymond Aceto in September and by Soloman Howard, who will be making his SFO debut, in the second cast. American tenor Brian Jagde, who made his role debut as Radames last November in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, will make his role debut as Calaf and will sing in all performances. Music Director Nicola Luisotti will conduct in September, and Christopher Franklin will make his SFO debut conducting the second-cast performances.
Next month’s six performances will take place at 8 p.m. on September 8 (in conjunction with Opera Ball 2017 at The Imperial Palace), at 7:30 p.m. on September 7, 15, 21, and 30 and at 2 p.m. on September 24. The second round of performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 18, 25, and 28 and December 6 and 9 and at 2 p.m. on December 3. The libretto will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. The approximate running time will be three hours with two intermissions.
All 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 $398. Tickets may be purchased online through an event page on the SFO Web site. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office in the outer lobby of the Opera House. The Box Office may also be reached by telephoning 415-864-3330. Standing room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance. They are sold for $10, cash only.