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Matthew Shilvock and the San Francisco Opera announced their 2017-18 season yesterday, with a trio of special guests, and a common thread of gold throughout. John Adams and director/librettist Peter Sellars were on hand to talk about Girls of the Golden West, which will have its premiere in November, and Francesca Zambello spoke of the Ring Cycle she’ll direct in Summer 2018.

There’s more about the season announcement at the San Francisco Opera website.

The upcoming season will be Nicola Luisotti’s final one as Music Director, conducting La Traviata, and the beginning of the season performances of Turandot (there will be additional performances at the end of the season). There are also new productions of Manon and Elektra, in addition to the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West. The libretto comes from contemporaneous source materials, including letters from Louise Clappe, a woman who lived among the men searching for gold, who wrote about the experience under the penname Dame Shirley. General Director Matthew Shilvock described the goldrush theme as a familiar one to anyone who’s looked at Silicon Valley. “We think about a group of people gathering from all over the world, and descending on this part of the world in pursuit of wealth, and of glory and of success. Some succeed, many fail. You have the tensions of people coming from different places, trying to figure out a way to live together. It’s not too far removed from where we find ourselves here in 2017 in San Francisco.” And the time of the action in the opera is not too far from when Wagner was going to be working on his Ring Cycle. “These two works, far apart in composition, but close in spirit, look at so many different aspects of our culture and our mythology,” Francesca Zambello says. “So much of the [Ring’s] visuals are inspired by the search of gold… And how that gold is the prize and the thing that destroys.”

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