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CLASSICAL  January 2006

CLASSICAL January 2006

Subject:

New SFO Boss Hits the Ground Running, Promises to Be on the Air Too

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 11 Jan 2006 14:12:58 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (98 lines)

[From the 1/10 SFCV.org Music News]

   Opera's heroes - Parsifal, Siegfried, Max, Calaf, Bunyan - are
   powerful and decisive, but typically none too bright. San Francisco
   Opera's new general manager and resident hero-to-be, David
   Gockley, hits the ground running, swinging an imaginary Nothung,
   but he also makes a lot of sense.

   Over past decades, three of Gockley's predecessors were asked
   repeatedly why San Francisco has no broadcasts or recording,
   when smaller companies - such as Seattle or Gockley's Houston
   Grand Opera - does. Ask the same question from Gockley, at his
   very first news conference today, and there are no excuses of
   "artist fees and unions." Instead, a simple and forceful promise:
   "We will broadcast within a year. I am also setting up a
   high-definition digital video studio to record and distribute
   our work on websites, iPods, etc. Electronic media is the way
   of the future - with the agreement of our union partners - and
   what saves the art form... and jobs."

   Decisiveness, of course, can also go the way not to everybody's
   liking.  Instead of hemming and hawing about yet another
   postponement of the long-awaited production of Berlioz's "Les
   Troyens," Gockley said - with regret but finality - that "budget
   and casting difficulties" have forced him to cancel the project.

   Gockley took over the job from Pamela Rosenberg only 10 days ago
   officially, but at his press conference today, he announced a
   new season, and a wealth of news that must have taken months or
   years of work to prepare. "For long," he said, "it's been a dream
   of mine to head up this company."

   Besides the unexpected extension of the next season to 10
   productions; the appointment of Francesca Zambello as artistic
   adviser; details of an "American Ring" cycle coming here from
   Washington National Opera; a world premiere by Philip Glass (with
   Christopher Hampton, about Appomattox, due in 2007); and importing
   key administrators besides retaining music director Donald
   Runnicles and many top staff members; Gockley presented plans
   for a season that's a curious and welcome phenomenon. In a very
   short time, Gockley filled in and dressed up a meager season
   left for him.

   (The most visible - and welcome - "instant change" is doing away
   with the company's sorry "wedge" logo, presenting instead a
   radiant starburst, in the familiar image of the War Memorial's
   great chandelier.)

   Gockley explained the lines of responsibility, thanking Rosenberg
   for stopping the planning process when the management change
   became known. This way, he said, the season after next was left
   "virtually clear," allowing Gockley to a free hand. In an already
   surprising quick turnover (departing general directors usually
   leave several seasons all set in stone), Gockley went on to
   speculate openly about what may be in store in 2007-'08 and
   after, naming titles in the categories of new works, early Verdi,
   great Romantic pieces, American opera, plus, specifically, "Peter
   Grimes" and "Die Tote Stadt."

   In the more immediate future, the 84th San Francisco season will
   run from Sept. 8 through July 1, 2007, presenting among principal
   singers (in chronological order of productions) Deborah Voigt,
   Marcus Haddock, Christine Goerke, Wolfgang Brendel, Paolo
   Gavanelli, Christine Brewer, Allyson McHardy, John Osborn, Karita
   Mattila, Marina Domashenko, Hadar Hale(c)vy, Marco Berti, Mariusz
   Kwiecien, Hope Briggs, Soile Isokoski, Joyce DiDonato,
   Graham. See below for the full season schedule.

   In opera, casting is planned for years ahead, but rarely are
   such plans revealed. Gockley, however, announced his intention
   to engage for future productions such coveted singers as Marcelo
   Alvarez, Stephanie Blythe, Natalie Dessay, Rene(c)e Fleming,
   Juan Diego Fle"rez, Barbara Frittoli, Angela Gheorghiu, Marcello
   Giordani, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Dmitri Hvorstovsky, Anna
   Netrebko, Samuel Ramey, and Ramon Vargas.

   Top staff appointments include that of Shane Gasbarra as director
   of artistic and music administration, and of Drew Landmesser as
   the Opera's new production director. Gasbarra held a similar
   position with Gockley in Houston, Landmesser comes from the Lyric
   Opera of Chicago.

   San Francisco Opera 2006-'07 season

   UN BALLO IN MASCHERA by Giuseppe Verdi
   DIE FLEDERMAUS by Johann Strauss, Jr.
   RIGOLETTO by Giuseppe Verdi
   TRISTAN UND ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
   THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Gioacchino Rossini
   MANON LESCAUT by Giacomo Puccini
   CARMEN by Georges Bizet
   DON GIOVANNI by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
   DER ROSENKAVALIER by Richard Strauss
   IPHIGENIE EN TAURIDE by Christoph Willibald Gluck

Janos Gereben/SF
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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