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San Francisco Opera's new season to include 9-11 opera, 'Nixon in China'

January 18, 2011 | 12:58 pm

Rescorla The San Francisco Opera announced its 2011-12 season  Tuesday, with highlights that include the world premiere of "Heart of a Soldier," Christopher Theofanidis and Donna Di Novelli's piece based on events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the company premiere of John Adams' "Nixon in China." The season will include appearances by singers Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn and Paulo Szot.

"Heart of a Solider" (Sept. 10 to 30), which had been previously announced, is based on the nonfiction book by James B. Stewart that tells the story of Rick Rescorla, a retired U.S. Army officer who died on Sept. 11 while assisting in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site. Baritone Thomas Hampson will play Rescorla in a production directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Patrick Summers.  The staging will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Adams' "Nixon in China" (June 8, 2012, to July 3, 2012) will have its company premiere in a production imported from the Vancouver Opera, conducted by Lawrence Renes. The cast includes Brian Mulligan, Maria Kanyova, Hye Jung Lee, Simon O’Neill, Chen-Ye Yuan and Patrick Carfizzi.

Also making their company debut will be Donizetti’s "Lucrezia Borgia" (Sept. 23 to Oct. 11), starring Fleming, and Handel’s "Xerxes" (Oct. 30 to Nov. 19), starring Graham.

The season will include new productions of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" (June 13, 2012, to July 8, 2012), designed by artist Jun Kaneko and starring Gunn, and "Don Giovanni " (Oct. 15 to Nov. 10), directed by Gabriele Lavia and designed by Alessandro Camera. In addition, there will be a new co-production of Verdi's "Attila" (June 12, 2012, to July 1, 2012) with Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

Opening the season in September will be a revival of David Hockney's production of Puccini's "Turandot" (Sept. 9 to Oct. 4; Nov. 18 to 25).

Other productions include "Carmen" (Nov. 6 to Dec. 4), featuring Tony-winning baritone Szot, and a celebration concert for mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, on Dec. 3.

The company will present its complete production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle from June to July this year. The production, directed by Zambello, has been rolling out in installments during past seasons. Three of the operas in the cycle are co-productions with the Washington National Opera, while the final installment is a new San Francisco Opera production premiere.


Opera review: San Francisco's feminist 'Die Walkure'

San Francisco Opera to launch its own 'Ring' festival

San Francisco Opera's 2010-11 season features complete 'Ring' Cycle, big stars

— David Ng

Photo: Rick Rescorla. Credit: Rescorla Family / The History Channel.