SFCM and San Francisco Opera have enjoyed a close, collaborative relationship for decades. With artists who serve as members of the Conservatory’s faculty roster, it’s no surprise that there is some overlap in productions, teaching engagements, and so on. As San Francisco Opera has just announced its 2019-20 season, an expected crossover of talent has been programmed, with several productions featuring SFCM artists.
Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, which took the opera world by storm when it premiered in 2017 at Santa Fe Opera, is among this season’s offerings at San Francisco Opera.
“No matter how exciting it's been to see The (R)evolution to Steve Jobs in stunning opera houses across the country, bringing the work to San Francisco feels like the mothership returning to home base,” says Bates. “The resonance of this story in the Bay Area offers a rare opportunity to experience an opera in the place where its subject matter unfolded, to witness the genius and paradoxes of Steve Jobs in the tech capital of the world. It's an honor to have it brought to life by San Francisco Opera, with its storied history of world premieres and imaginative productions, and I am also thankful to SFCM and Cal Performances for workshopping the piece in its early stages.”
A special treat for Bay Area Opera goers this season will be Verdi’s Ernani, directed by Jose Maria Condemi. The opera that hasn’t been presented by San Francisco Opera in 35 years.
“I am excited that my own production (which I created for Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2009) has been chosen for the stage of the War Memorial Opera House next season,” says Condemi. “I am also thrilled to continue my relationship with the company which has been my home for almost two decades. While still in graduate school, I was invited to take part in the Merola Opera Program, which I did twice. This led to an offer to join the resident artists as the first stage director to receive an Adler Fellowship. Since then, I have directed several main stage productions and world premieres such as The Secret Garden. I have also continued my work with the San Francisco Opera Center.”
As SFCM composers and directors are featured at San Francisco Opera, it is, of course, expected to see faculty on stage, as well. So it is with mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook.
“I’m thrilled to sing Marcellina, one of my all-time favorite roles, in an exciting new production of The Marriage of Figaro in what will be my 28th season with San Francisco Opera,” says Cook. “Figaro is pure joy with some of the most beautiful music Mozart ever wrote. I’m looking forward to joining this incredible cast and team for this production next season.”
Cook is not the only SFCM singer to be featured this season. Amina Edris ’15 will sing the role of Juliet in one performance of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet opposite her real-life husband Pene Pati, both former students of César Ulloa.