The Sweet Music of the Season – San Francisco Opera & Symphony

If the symphony isn’t your thing, San Francisco Opera also has an impressive lineup, kicking off their season with Turandot, Giacomo Puccini’s final piece of work.

The masterpiece is conducted by Nicola Luisotti, who also brought the work to life in 2009 at the famed Royal Opera House in London.

If you can’t make the live performance, don’t fret; catch the Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark simulcast of Turandot at AT&T Park at 2 p.m. September 25.

The opera’s opening night has already passed, but it was a joint celebration with the Opera Ball 2011 and BRAVO! CLUB’s Opening Night Gala sharing the spotlight. The ball raises money to benefit San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s outreach and educational programs.

A highlight of this year’s opera season is the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier. This operatic masterpiece has literary roots, as it was based on the non-fiction work penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart and lives of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill. Another highlight of opera season is the return of legendary soprano Renée Fleming to San Francisco Opera after a decade. Fleming will perform in the company premiere of Lucrezia Borgia.

Also slated for the lineup are Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Handel’s Xerxes, another company premiere, Bizet’s Carmen, and the new American classic Nixon in China. The Bay Area premiere of this popular production is directed by Michael Cavanagh, and the cast is rounded out with Brian Mulligan, Maria Kanyova, Simon O’Neill, Hye Jung Lee, Chen-Ye Yuan and Patrick Carfizzi. Lawrence Renes will conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

Attila will also take the stage during this year’s opera season, a joint venture of the San Francisco Opera and Teatro alla Scala. Cast members include Ferruccio Furlanetto, debut Lucrecia Garcia and Fabio Sartori; Mozart’s The Magic Flute is another must see.

The season rounds out with two concerts with Music Director Nicola Luisotti and San Francisco Opera Orchestra. For those with little ones who many not be able to fully appreciate the sophistication of the opera, productions of Carmen for Families, a 2 ½ hour version of the original, is perfect for children ages 10 and up and is conducted by Giuseppe Finzi. For more information on this season of the opera, visit www.sfopera.com.

Haute List

Our picks for the can’t miss shows this season.

Must See Symphony

-Mass Transmission

-Barbary Coast and Beyond:

-Music from the Gold Rush to

-the Panama-Pacific Exposition

-Polaris: Voyage for Orchestra

-Absolute Jest

Can’t Miss Opera

-Turandot

-Heart of a Soldier

-Nixon in China

-Carmen for Families

-Attila

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