Since 1923, San Francisco Opera has presented the United States debut performances of numerous artists, including Vladimir Atlantov, Piotr Beczala, Marie Collier, Mafalda Favero, Tito Gobbi, Sena Jurinac, Anna Netrebko, Leontyne Price, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Renata Tebaldi, and Ingvar Wixell; conductors Marco Armiliato, Valery Gergiev, Charles Mackerras, Georg Solti, and Silvio Varviso; and directors Francis Ford Coppola, Harry Kupfer, and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.
Since its inception, San Francisco Opera has embodied a spirit of innovation by presenting the world premieres of Blood Moon (1961), Angle of Repose (1976), The Dangerous Liaisons (1994), A Streetcar Named Desire (1998), Dead Man Walking (2000), Arshak II (2001) and Doctor Atomic (2005). Under David Gockley’s leadership, the Company has added five new operas to that list: Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton’s Appomattox (2007); Stewart Wallace and Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2008); Christopher Theofanidis and Donna Di Novelli’s Heart of a Soldier (2011); Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison's The Secret Garden (2013), a co-commission with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley; and Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene(2013).
In 2007, San Francisco Opera created the Koret-Taube Media Suite. The first permanent high-definition broadcast-standard video production facility installed in any American opera house, the Koret-Taube Media Suite gives the Company the permanent capability to produce simulcasts and other projects including OperaVision, where retractable screens provide full stage, close-up and mid-range ensemble shots in high-definition video for patrons in balcony seats. In 2007, San Francisco Opera also launched radio partnerships the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago, returning regular San Francisco Opera broadcasts to the national and international radio airwaves for the first time in 25 years.
KUCO presents: San Francisco Opera
A leader among international opera companies for nine decades, San Francisco Opera was founded by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953) and incorporated in 1923. The Company's first performance took place on September 26, 1923 in the City's Civic Auditorium. Originally presented over two weeks, San Francisco Opera's season now contains approximately 75 performances of ten operas between September and July.