Opera: FREE OPERA STREAMS (San Francisco Opera)

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by Connor McCormick on March 24, 2021

in Music,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Virtual


San Francisco Opera’s weekly, free opera streams continue in April with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (April 3–4), The Fall of the House of Usher double bill featuring one-act operas by Gordon Getty and Claude Debussy (April 10–11) and Verdi’s Don Carlo (April 17–18).

Part of the Company’s Opera is ON initiative, free opera streams are viewable on demand with registration at sfopera.com, beginning at 10 am (Pacific) on the first streaming date through 11:59 pm the following day. Current San Francisco Opera subscribers and members (donors of $75 and up) retain access to opera titles after their window of public access.


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Scenes from Don Pasquale (2016). Photos: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

During the first weekend in April, San Francisco Opera streams its 2016 co-production, with Santa Fe Opera and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1843 opera buffa Don Pasquale. Italian bass Maurizio Muraro embodies the title role of an older bachelor who seeks a young wife. The “cast of superb singing actors” (San Francisco Chronicle) features soprano Heidi Stober as Pasquale’s bride-to-be, Norina; renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee in his Company debut as Ernesto, Norina’s sweetheart and Pasquale’s nephew, and bass-baritone Lucas Meachem as the scheming Dr. Malatesta. French director and costume designer Laurent Pelly collaborates with set designer Chantal Thomas and lighting designer Duane Schuler to create a farcical production inspired by Italian films of the 1950s and ’60s. Former San Francisco Opera Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi “[elicits] ebullient, fine-grained playing from the Opera Orchestra“ (SF Chronicle). Daniel Dooner is the production’s associate director, and San Francisco Opera Chorus Director Ian Robertson prepares the Opera Chorus. Don Pasquale is performed in Italian with English subtitles and has an approximate running time of 2 hours and 9 minutes.


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Scenes from Usher House and La Chute de la Maison Usher (2015).
Photos: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera streams the double bill The Fall of the House of Usher, comprising one-act operas by composers Gordon Getty (Usher House) and Claude Debussy (La Chute de la Maison Usher) whose librettos are both adaptations of the haunting 1839 Edgar Allan Poe short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” In a co-production with Welsh National Opera, American baritone Brian Mulligan takes on the leading role of Roderick Usher in both works. In Usher House tenor Jason Bridges portrays Edgar Allan Poe, bass Anthony Reed is Doctor Primus, Jamielyn Duggan dances the role of Madeline Usher and soprano Jacqueline Piccolino is the voice of Madeline. The “gripping, almost supernatural staging” (San Francisco Examiner) by director David Poutney, with assistance from associate director Polly Graham, also marked the American premiere of Debussy’s La Chute de la Maison Usherfeaturing musical reconstruction and orchestration by Robert Orledge. Mulligan (Usher) shares the stage with baritone Edward Nelson as L’Ami, Piccolino as Lady Madeline and tenor Joel Sorensen as Le Medecin. American conductor Lawrence Foster leads both casts and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The creative team includes production designer Niki Turner, video projection designer David Haneke, lighting designer Tim Mitchell and choreographer Jo JeffriesThe Fall of the House of Usher double bill is performed in English (Getty) and French (Debussy) with English subtitles and has an approximate total running time of 2 hours.


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Scenes from Don Carlo (2016). Photos: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera’s “hard to top” (Opera News) 2016 revival of Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo displays the vocal talents of an international all-star cast. Emilio Sagi directs the political drama, with conflicts of love and duty at its core, utilizing the composer’s 1886 five-act Modena version of the score. The engagement showcases the role debuts of American tenor Michael Fabiano in the title role of the Spanish crown prince and Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez as his beloved, Elisabetta. German bass René Pape returns to San Francisco as King Philip II, who comes between the couple and marries Elisabetta. Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień is Carlo’s close friend Rodrigo and Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Nadia Krasteva makes her Company debut as Princess Eboli who sings the famous aria “O don fatale.” The stately production is designed by Zack Brown with lighting by Gary Marder. Italian maestro and former San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti leads the Opera Orchestra with “vivacity” (San Francisco Chronicle) and Company Chorus Director Ian Robertson prepares the Opera Chorus for the large ensemble scenes, notably the auto-da-féDon Carlo is performed in Italian with English subtitles and has an approximate running time of 3 hours and 34 minutes.

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