The newly-announced San Francisco Opera 2019-2020 season has eight productions showing a diverse collection of composers, eras, and, as General Director Matthew Shilvock describes it, depictions of relationships between people. Included in the fall season is the first of a planned trilogy of stagings of the operas of Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.
There’s more information at the San Francisco Opera website.
The season leads off with Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, with Bryan Hymel and Nadine Sierra as the star-crossed lovers, in a production that’s new to SFO, along with Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten. “We have not had Benjamin Britten on the stage in some 15 years at San Francisco Opera,” Shilvock says, “And Billy Budd has to be one of the great 20th Century operas ever written. Taking us deep into this claustrophobia of this 18th Century man-of-warship, the HMS Indomitable.” It’s a Glyndebourne production by Michael Grandage, and has William Burden as Captain Vere and John Chest in the title role, based on the novel by Herman Melville. In October, The Marriage of Figaro begins the multi-year project that will continue with Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. “The three Mozart-Da Ponte operas were written within the space of about four or five years. And so although they weren’t intentionally a trilogy, they are very much a reflection on a particular point of time between two incredible artists, Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte… We will be creating three new interconnected productions that explore these very important works in the repertoire, and will create a lasting set of productions for San Francisco Opera to use long into the future.” The common thread will be a ‘Great American House,’ where the action will take place over the centuries. “Moving the opera into, first of all, with Marriage of Figaro, moving it into post-Revolutionary America, just as society is beginning to be born. The idea of the new emerging democracy, and the replacement of the old order with the new, which is so fundamental to the Marriage of Figaro.” Così will take place in the 1930s, when the house is serving as a country club, and Don Giovanni will be set in the post-apocalyptic shell of the same building. Rounding out the Fall performances are Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and just in time for the holidays, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. In the Spring, there’s Ernani by a young Verdi (a work that also hasn’t been at SFO in 15 years or so); the return of Handel’s Partenope, and the Bay Area premiere of the (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, by Mason Bates.