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.

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.


Post-opera programming is locally produced by volunteer Lane Whitesell

Opera Links

     Austin Lyric Opera www.austinlyricopera.com

     Dallas Opera www.dallasopera.org

     Houston Grand Opera www.houstongrandopera.org/

     San Antonio Opera www.saopera.com

     Santa Fe Opera www.santafeopera.org

     Tulsa Opera  www.tulsaopera.com

     Wichita Grand Opera  www.wichitagrandopera.org

Opera in HD

Click here for theater showtimes and ticket information.


Special note this week: the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Wagner’s “Siegfried,” begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 21. Tune in to part 3 of the Ring, as Wagner’s cosmic vision focuses on his hero’s early conquests. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris (pictured) sings the title role and soprano Deborah Voight’s Brunnhilde is his prize. KCSC’s Lane Whitesell hosts.


This week’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast is Giuseppe Verdi’s romantic tragedy “La Traviata,” at noon Saturday, April 14. Soprano Natalie Dessay (pictured) will put on the red dress as Violetta. Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky performs as Germont and tenor Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo.


This Saturday’s 11 a.m. Metropolitan Opera broadcast, hosted by Lane Whitesell, features Jules Massenet’s “Manon,” starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko (pictured), Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, and Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot.


The Metropolitan Opera broadcast scheduled during the KCSC fund drive is Gaetano Donizetti’s melodic classic, “L’Elisir d’Amore,” starring soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Juan Diego as the unlikely lovers. Hosts Lane Whitesell and Kimberly Powell will greet you Saturday, March 31st at noon for this fundraiser special.


Tune in to Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth,” this Saturday, March 24 at noon, this week’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast hosted by KCSC’s Lane Whitesell. As the doomed couple, baritone Thomas Hampson and soprano Nadja Michael (pictured) deliver the vocal fireworks of two of Verdi’s most challenging roles.

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