San Francisco Opera
Currently the second largest opera company in North America, San Francisco Opera is internationally recognized as one of the world’s foremost producers of opera. The Company presents approximately 75 performances of ten operas annually in its performing home, the War Memorial Opera House. In its storied 87-year history, San Francisco Opera has presented 13 world premieres and 23 U.S. premieres, as well as the U.S. and professional debuts of artists like Mario Del Monaco, Valery Gergiev, Tito Gobbi, Pilar Lorengar, Charles Mackerras, Anna Netrebko, Birgit Nilsson, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Leontyne Price, Leonie Rysanek, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Georg Solti, Renata Tebaldi, and Jess Thomas.
At the helm of San Francisco Opera is General Director David Gockley, who began his tenure in 2006 after more than three decades as general director of Houston Grand Opera. During his first months at San Francisco Opera, Gockley took opera to the center of the community with a free live outdoor telecast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Subsequent “simulcasts” have reached more than 100,000 opera fans throughout the Bay Area at venues like Stanford University and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. In 2007, Gockley led the company to take this innovation even further and created the Koret-Taube Media Suite, the first permanent high-definition broadcast-standard video production facility installed in any American opera house. San Francisco Opera has also recently presented operas in movie theaters across the globe and can be heard regularly on national and international radio airwaves through San Francisco’s Classical 102.1 KDFC and the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago.
David Gockley’s partner in artistic programming and musical issues is Music Director Nicola Luisotti, who began his tenure in August 2009. Lauded by the New York Times as the company’s “ideal new maestro,” he continues to garner praise from both critics and audiences at the world’s preeminent opera houses and concert venues.
For more than 50 years, San Francisco Opera has offered an array of acclaimed training programs and performance opportunities for young artists under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program. Alumni include Mark Delavan, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Patricia Racette, Patrick Summers, Ruth Ann Swenson, Rolando Villazón, Deborah Voigt, and Dolora Zajick. The Company also reaches more than 50,000 Bay Area children and adults annually with its award winning education programs.