San Francisco Opera

The tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet inspired some of Shakespeare's finest verse—and some of Bellini's most beautiful melodies. "An opera of definite dramatic appeal" (The New York Times) awash in "music of extraordinary grace" (All Music Guide), this bel canto masterpiece features international stars Joyce DiDonato, a singer of "glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace and remarkable talent," and Nicole Cabell, who "wields her radiant lyric soprano like a silken lasso" (The New York Times).

A wounded deity comes to realize the limits of his power in the heartbreaking second installment of the cycle. Wotan, king of the gods, strives to undo the curse of the ring by fathering a pure-of-heart hero by a mortal woman. But he finds himself torn as events spin out of control and his offspring defy his will. Wotan’s deeply loving but disobedient daughter is sung by soprano Nina Stemme, who makes her cycle debut.

The ruler of the Huns fully intends to invade fifth-century Italy until a fierce female captive enchants him with her valiant defiance. In the popular imagination, Attila the Hun was a ruthless barbarian. But to Giuseppe Verdi, he was a far more complex and compelling figure: a brave, ambitious warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts. The intense, conflicted anti-hero comes vividly alive in this “vibrant and engrossing musical drama” (The New York Times).

John Adams' rhythmically rich re-creation of a presidential trip to Beijing has established itself as a great American opera, a work of “clarity, simplicity, shocking elegance” that “will be around for the long haul” (The New York Times). A quarter-century after premiering at Houston Grand Opera under the leadership of David Gockley, this modern masterpiece made its San Francisco Opera premiere earlier this year featuring baritone Brian Mulligan. Lawrence Renes, whose conducting of Adams’ Doctor Atomic won praise from London critics, leads the orchestra.

Renée Fleming sings the title role of this melodically rich bel canto masterpiece. A femme fatale, renowned for her ruthless pursuit of power, reveals poignant vulnerability when she comes face to face with her long-lost son. Saturday, September 22, 1 to 3:15 pm

Cory Weaver

It may have been Faust who sold his soul to the devil, but the innocent Marguerite takes the fall in this classic story that dates back to the 1400s; the opera premiered in Paris in 1859. Patricia Racette, Stefano Secco, and John Relyea star in this 2010 production conducted by Maurizio Benini. Saturday, September 15th, 1 to 4 pm.


Rick Rescorla was a British-born adventurer who fought in Vietnam before settling in NY as head of security for Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, his extraordinary courage and calmness in a crisis paid off: Rescorla led all of the 2,700 people under his care to safety—literally singing them down the stairs—before heading back into the burning building for one last check. He never emerged.

Who is Carmen? She's thrilling and dangerous, captivating and capricious, and one of the most vivid characters in all of opera. The bold femme fatale is sung by soprano Anita Rachvelishvili who “brought an ample, earthy voice and sensual lyricism to her performance, winning a hearty ovation” (The New York Times). Tenor Thiago Arancam sings Don José, the man who unwisely falls under Carmen's spell. Niccola Luisotti conducts. Saturday, September 1st, 1 to 4:30 pm.

No man is safe from his schemes. No woman is safe from his advances. That's the proud, predatory nobleman at the heart of Mozart's Don Giovanni, considered by many to be one of the greatest operas ever written. Deftly balancing comedy and tragedy with unforgettable music, Don Giovanni has an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, and premiered at the Estates Theatre in Prague in 1787.

Puccini’s final masterpiece opens the San Francisco Opera radio season on WRTI under the baton of Music Director Nicola Luisotti. This passionate tale of a princess, whose cruelty masks her fear of love, features some of the composer’s most glorious music, including the stirring anthem “Nessun dorma.” Performed by an outstanding cast, led by Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin, “the world’s reigning Turandot” (Opera Britannia), Leah Crocetto, and Marco Berti, Turandot is melodically rich and colorfully orchestrated. Join us on Saturday, August 18th, 1 to 4:15 pm.