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Thread: Opera on the USA West Coast

  1. #16
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I would suggest that (a) those bring in the money and for which they have existing productions thereby minimum overhead, and (b) it is more significant that they are including a new work in an abbreviated season.
    Agreed.
    It seems to me they are trying to earn their way out of the crisis. Would never happen in Europe!!!!!

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloe View Post
    I like both Tosca and Madama Butterfly but to stage both of them in the same season is just too narrow. I wonder what they were thinking.
    I am glad SD Opera is staging a season at all, but I agree.

    LA Opera is also doing Madama Butterfly in March and La bohème in May/June. Their season also included Gianni Schicchi in September (paired with Pagliacci), amongst the six mainstage productions (there are also several concerts and smaller stage productions).

    If I lived in southern California I would be very disappointed, especially considering that the Met Live in HD season is currently in the midst of 3 Puccini operas in a row.


    SF Opera didn't have any Puccini this season, though there's another Madama Butterfly in November and a La bohème in June 2017.

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    Senior Member ldiat's Avatar
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    hello, 2 questions. did any one attend "the magic flute" in LA. in 2014? the la opera co. had a ad on line and it looked different. 2) can any one compare the Pittsburgh opera to LA( Los Angeles) opera?
    reason: moving to la in a few mons from the 'Burgh.
    thanks of the info

  5. #19
    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    I am glad SD Opera is staging a season at all, but I agree.

    LA Opera is also doing Madama Butterfly in March and La bohème in May/June. Their season also included Gianni Schicchi in September (paired with Pagliacci), amongst the six mainstage productions (there are also several concerts and smaller stage productions).

    If I lived in southern California I would be very disappointed, especially considering that the Met Live in HD season is currently in the midst of 3 Puccini operas in a row.


    SF Opera didn't have any Puccini this season, though there's another Madama Butterfly in November and a La bohème in June 2017.
    In the opera in London thread it is expressed as the English National Opera is closed to cancelling because they will stage eight operas. That will put things in perspective. Personally I expect a city with over one million inhabitants in a metropolitan area of three million in one of the richest countries in the world to have an opera house that stages operas every year. But they could just for the sake of diversity have replaced one of the operas with something else even La Traviata or Carmen. I would have reacted the same if it had been two out of three operas by any composer.

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    In addition to SF Opera there are a good number of other opera companies in the Bay area.

    West Edge Opera has been around since 1980, and starts their two-opera Opera Medium Rare season tomorrow: Paisiello's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Leoncavallo's La bohème. Two concert performances each, with a reduced orchestration (from the picture recently posted it looked like piano and string quartet). They also do a summer festival that also focuses on less-frequently performed operas; this year has Janáček’s Příhody lišky Bystroušky (The Cunning Little Vixen), Thomas Adés’ Powder Her Face, and Handel’s Agrippina. This year's performances will all be at the 16th Street Station in Oakland.

    Last year their festival was As One, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and Lulu. The latter two were cut to about two hours performing time, and Lulu in a reduced orchestration, but the others were written for small ensembles.

    Another company in the area is Opera Parallèle. The current season started with the world premiere of Amazing Grace by Christopher Pratorius (a Hands-On production, done as educational outreach, with students from a K-8 school, the end result fully staged and with their normal high production values). Coming soon are Champion by Terrence Blanchard (a co-production with SF-Jazz) and The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies. Their first production was in 2007, and have been doing two or three productions a season since 2010-2011.

    The San Francisco Symphony does some opera, last year I saw a semi-staged Fidelio with Nina Stemme and Brandon Jovanovich; it seems like they do one semi-staged opera or classic musical a year; this season it is Bernstein's On The Town.

    The ODC Theater occasionally hosts opera productions, most recent was Left Coast Chamber Ensemble's first production, with Volti, of the world premiere of Kurt Rohde's Death with Interruptions. They also hosted SF Lyric Opera's production of The Little Match Girl Passion by David Lang and premiered Jack Perla's Love/Hate in 2012.

    I have not yet seen anything by the following companies:

    Island City Opera just finished their run of Rigoletto, coming soon is (Puccini's) La bohème. They perform in Alameda and this is their second year; in 2015 they performed Lucia di lammermoor and a double-bill of Il tabarro and Il signor Bruschino.

    Festival Opera has announced one upcoming production, the Star Trek version of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in August 2016. This season marks their 25th anniversary. Last season included Ariadne auf Naxos (performed in Walnut Creek) and a double-bill of Holst's Savitri and Perla's River of Light (performed in Oakland).

    There's also West Bay Opera, in Palo Alto. Their current season had a Rigoletto in October, Yevgény Onégin in a couple weeks, and Madama Butterfly in May.

    Further down is Opera San Jose. Tosca and Le nozze di Figaro have been completed, upcoming is Carmen and A Streetcar Named Desire. The company started in 1978 as San Jose State University Opera Workshop; their first season as OSJ was 1984-85.

    I am sure there is more; I am still exploring!
    Last edited by mountmccabe; Feb-06-2016 at 19:21.

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  9. #21
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    I got a flyer for Pocket Opera today! Their 39th season opens Sunday. Everything is performed in English; it sounds like they do their own translations. The libretti are available online; they have performed all of these operas before. Their seasons are fairl adventurous!

    02/28 - Von Flotow: Martha
    04/10 - Verdi: King For A Day
    04/24 - Handel: Giulio Cesare (in concert)
    05/15 - Leoncavallo/Von Suppe: I Pagliacci/My Fair Galatea
    06/05 - Verdi: Rigoletto
    07/10 - Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne

    Dates are for the first performance (in Berkeley). In each case there is one or two more performances in San Francisco.

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  11. #22
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    Has anyone seen the Seattle Opera production of Mary Stuart yet? I've listened to Aidan Lang's podcast about it, and he didn't do the best job "selling" it. It's not something I've seen before.

  12. #23
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    KQEN has an article about SF Opera Labs and other "alternative" programming and events.

    I had a real sinking feeling reading this

    The room can be configured in a variety of ways, and the challenging acoustic — the 30-foot-high ceiling is great for monumental physical artworks but less forgiving on the human voice — is rectified by an acoustic system of 24 microphones and 75 loudspeakers discreetly placed to adjust reverberation. Made by Berkeley-based Meyer Sound, the system can be optimized for, among other things, spoken text versus sung lyrics just by tapping on a screen.
    I know a number of great music halls around the world use Meyer Sound systems - including Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Teatro Colon, as well as Davies Symphony Hall - but they do so (to my understanding) when incorporating electronics or spoken text in their otherwise acoustic performances. They aren't fixing a disastrous acoustic space by always using amplification.

    I mean, I doubt I'll go to another of SF OperaLab's Pop-Up events again. And I really want to see Svadba, but I don't know if I am interested enough if it is not going to be unamplified singing. But who knows.

  13. #24
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    As a follow up, my concerns were unwarranted. I saw Svadba last night (review in another thread) and the singers did not have mics of any kind. Everything sounded clear, natural, and lovely.

    The Taube Atrium Theater is a large, boxy room with high ceilings. The Meyer sound system is apparently employed to work on how sound resonates in the room. There were a couple times when I thought I was hearing unnatural sound, but in each case it shortly became clear that it was a new singer starting up. Svadba calls for a wide range of vocalizations and approaches to singing.


    I'd still like to be in the room for A/B demonstrations, but I can also understand that that sort of behind-the-scenes generally doesn't make sense.

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    I had wondered if SF Opera was going to do an Opera at the Ballpark this summer, what with the less than traditional offers, and it turns out yes, they will! They are doing a simulcast of Carmen - in the production by Calixto Bieito - at AT&T Park on July 2.

    I am excited to go, even though this is the same cast I'm seeing opening night.

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  16. #26
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    I just realized one reason the Don Carlo on June 15th had such good seats available; Celebrating David, the Gala for Gockley is on the 16th.

    I've also got a ticket for Jenůfa on the 14th, so I'd have to manage three nights in a row at War Memorial Opera House.

    Renée Fleming
    Ana María Martínez
    Karita Mattila
    Patricia Racette
    Nadine Sierra
    Heidi Stober
    Susan Graham
    Daniela Mack
    Dolora Zajick
    Michael Fabiano
    Brian Jagde
    Simon O'Neill
    Eric Owens
    René Pape

    with Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey as MCs, and Nicola Luisotti, Jiří Bělohlávek, John DeMain, and Patrick Summers conducting.

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  18. #27
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    I had my first visit to Seattle Opera in early May. I was there to see Der fliegende Holländer, which I reviewed in another thread.



    If McCaw Hall doesn't look that impressive from the outside, it is in part because it is packed tightly in Seattle Center. This does mean it is only a short walk from the Space Needle, KeyArena, and the Experience Music Project Museum. And approaches from Seattle Center side there's some nice scenery including a large fountain and some lovely green space. Out in front there is an art installation called Dreaming in Color by Leni Schwendinger (I missed seeing it lit up by arriving almost too late for the opera).

    It was renovated in 2003, and was reopened with a production of Wagner's Bühnenweihfestspiel, Parsifal, quite appropriate given the company's dedication to his work. After the renovation it now holds just under 3,000 patrons. As you enter there is a hanging sculpture An Equal and Opposite Reaction by Susan Size.



    In the hall there is a large orchestra section with side galleries, and then two upper tiers (the front of the first tier is called the Dress Circle), along with a few small side boxes. I found the sound quite good, even high up. The audience was quite noisy, but I have no idea how typical this was. I can't even blame it on Holländer running without intermission as people were disruptive throughout.

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    8 minutes of highlights of San Francisco Opera's Don Carlo. These are likely from a dress rehearsal; I had a brief write-up of the second performance in another thread.



    Note the fancy period costumes, minimal sets, and everyone mostly just standing there.

    SFO's youtube feed also has a shorter highlights video for Carmen, and shorter clips from Jenůfa.

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    Local classical station KDFC broadcasts and then streams recordings from San Francisco Opera (and the SF Symphony). Opera performances typically show up several months after the performances, and remain for a month after airing.

    Recently available is SFO's Usher double bill from December (which I reviewed); Gordon Getty's The Fall of the House of Usher and Claude Debussy's La chute de la maison Usher, in Robert Orledge's completion. I really did not enjoy the former (here available as part 1) but I really liked the latter (part 2).

    It might be the fall before SFO's summer season of Carmen, Jenůfa, and Don Carlo are broadcast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Local classical station KDFC broadcasts and then streams recordings from San Francisco Opera (and the SF Symphony). Opera performances typically show up several months after the performances, and remain for a month after airing.

    Recently available is SFO's Usher double bill from December (which I reviewed); Gordon Getty's The Fall of the House of Usher and Claude Debussy's La chute de la maison Usher, in Robert Orledge's completion. I really did not enjoy the former (here available as part 1) but I really liked the latter (part 2).

    It might be the fall before SFO's summer season of Carmen, Jenůfa, and Don Carlo are broadcast.
    That's good to know. These have had some fantastic reviews.
    Ann

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