San Francisco Opera‘s General Director Matthew Shilvock has announced the lineup for the 2018-19 season. He describes it this way: “Eight productions that have never before been seen on this stage, six conductors who are making their mainstage debut, and half of the season hasn’t been seen here programmatically between 20 and 40 years.” He’s particularly excited because this is the first season that he will have programmed since taking on his role at the Opera’s helm.

There’s more information at the San Francisco Opera website.

The season begins with the frequently paired double-bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, but in José Cura’s production, the action is moved to the Italian Quarter of Buenos Aires, and the characters in the two stories overlap.  Shilvock says it’s a “really interesting take which preserves all of the small town intrigue of a Mediterranean, small-town Italy feel, and puts it into this colorful world of Argentina with all of the attendant tango and passion and life and color that you’d expect. The characters interweave between the two, and so you actually see this cross-fertilization of a small town that is experiencing these tragedies on a repeated scale.” Sondra Radvanovsky, who played Norma not too long ago, returns for her signature role of Elizabeth I in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. The cast includes two other cast-mates from Norma, Jamie Barton, and Russell Thomas. A new production of Puccini’s Tosca stars Carmen Giannattasio, who rarely appears on U.S. stages. “This will be her very first Tosca,” Shilvock says, “and I think she is exactly the right kind of artist to take this on. She has an incredible voice, full of lyricism, but also a depth of perspective as well.” After last season’s Elektra, the more lyrical and lush side of Richard Strauss returns in Arabella, with a story of a woman who defies her parents’ attempts to marry her off for money. “Her family is of nobility, but they’ve fallen on hard times, so they want to restore their fortunes through her marriage. She has other ideas.” Ellie Dehn and Brian Mulligan star, with Heidi Stober. In November and December, Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life has its West Coast premiere. They’ve transformed Clarence into Clara the angel-in-training. “They find such lyricism, and such heart and profundity in this piece. What life really means, what is true to life, what is important in life, and that notion that it’s in the kindness that you exhibit to those closest to you that you leave your real mark on the world.” In October, there’s a special concert available for subscribers, that brings Placido Domingo, Ana María Martínez, and Arturo Chacón-Cruz to the opera house for a one-night-only event. And the summer of 2019 will have Francesca Zambello’s Carmen in the U.S. for the first time, the second-ever SFO production of Russalka by Dvorak, and Handel’s Orlando, updated to World War II England.

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