San Francisco Opera steals the show

A scene from San Francisco Opera’s 2012 production of Verdi’s ‘Attila’ – Photo”: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera takes to the airwaves this week, with a televised performance of Verdi’s Attila on KQED Public Television tomorrow evening, and a radio broadcast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on Classical KDFC on Sunday. And there’s more, as the SF Opera Merola Program presents two live performances of Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

A co-production of Teatro alla Scala and San Francisco Opera, tomorrow’s broadcast of Attila was recorded at a live performance in the War Memorial Opera House in June 2012, and stars Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role. Despite his reputation as a ruthless barbarian, Attila is portrayed by Verdi as a brave, ambitious warrior, plagued by internal doubts.

The role of the Roman general Ezio is sung by Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey – who was most recently seen on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House in the title role of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The cast also features soprano Lucrecia García as Odabella, tenor Diego Torre as Foresto, bass-baritone Samuel Ramey sings the role of Leone, and tenor Nathaniel Peake is Uldino.

The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Chorus Director Ian Robertson) is led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti – about to enter his final season in this role for the Company, after a magnificent tenure which has seen him conduct over 40 operas and concerts, and which which will be celebrated throughout the coming season.

Matthew Shilvock, General Director of San Francisco Opera and soprano Frederica von Stade host the telecast of ‘Attila’ on KQED – courtesy San Francisco Opera

This telecast is hosted by the General Director of San Francisco Opera, Matthew Shilvock, and soprano Frederica von Stade, and airs on KQED 9 on Thursday, August 3 at 9.00 pm.

Natalie Image (soprano), Samantha Hankey (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Hiers (bass-baritone), and Edith Grossman (mezzo-soprano) in Merola Opera Program’s production of ‘La Cenerentola’. Photo: Kristen Loken

Also taking place tomorrow evening, and again on Saturday, is Rossini’s La Cenerentola, in fully-staged live performances by the Merola Opera Program. One of the most prestigious and selective opera training programs in the United States, Merola is currently staging its 2017 Summer Season, and these performances star mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey – a 2017 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – as Angelina.

The role of Prince Ramiro is sung by tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro, Tisbe by mezzo-soprano Edith Grossman, bass baritone Andrew Hiers is Don Magnifico, and Clorinda is sung by soprano Natalie Image. The role of Dandini is portrayed by bass-baritone Christian Pursell, and Alidoro is sung by bass-baritone Szymon Wach. The production is directed by Chuck Hudson.

Mark Morash, Director of Musical Studies for San Francisco Opera, conducts the Merola Opera Program peformances of La Cenerentola at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tickets are available from the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330, or

Soprano Lianna Haratounian in the role of Cio-Cio-San in San Francisco Opera’s 2016 production of ‘Madama Butterfly’ – Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

To round off this week’s feast of opera, Classical KDFC broadcasts San Francisco Opera’s hugely popular revival of Madama Butterfly, which closed the Company’s 2016 Fall Season (see more on ArtsPreview).

Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian, considered one of the most promising Verdi sopranos of her generation, sings the role of Cio-Cio-San. Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo is Lt B F Pinkerton, the role of Sharpless is sung by baritone Anthony Clark Evans, and Zanda Švēde is Suzuki. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Chorus Director Ian Robertson) are led by Franco-Canadian conductor Yves Abel, currently Chief Conductor of the NordwestDeutsche Philarmonie in Germany.

The broadcast takes place on Classical KDFC on Sunday evening, August 6, at 8.00 pm. For tuning frequencies visit, or listen online.


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