Andrea Chenier at SF OperaSan Francisco Opera gets out of the gate quickly this year, with a number of events starting on Friday, with the Opera Ball followed by the opening of Andrea Chénier, set during the French Revolution… On Saturday, it’s the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s opera Dream of the Red Chamber, and Sunday afternoon they’ll present the free Opera in the Park concert in Golden Gate Park. New General Director Matthew Shilvock gives a preview.

There’s more information about the upcoming productions and the rest of the season at the San Francisco Opera website.

“The opening weekend is always a really exciting rush of activity,” says Shilvock. “To do two openings, one of which is a world premiere, and to do the big park concert in which we showcase some of our finest talent to the general public is an incredible way to start.” The first of the productions to open might seem familiar, even if it isn’t. “Two things that strike me about Andrea Chénier: first is, think Puccini. This music is very contemporary with Puccini, Puccini and Giordano, who wrote Andrea Chénier, actually bought a sportscar together in the early 20th Century. They were good friends. And you will hear strains of Puccini’s music throughout Andrea Chénier. The second is, think PBS or BBC historic drama. The attention to detail that David McVicar and his design team have created in this production is sumptuous. The elegance, the realism, the authenticity that they have brought to Andrea Chénier and this time of the French Revolution is incredible. So I would say Puccini meets period drama.”