Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You'd Think We Living in a Prosperous Time - Two Observations On San Francisco Opera's 2011-12 Season

San Francisco Opera (SFO) just announced its 2011-12 season of nine operas.  It has novelties along with the usual suspect of Puccini.

I could say much more about the line-up but will confine my discuss to the two observations I made.

First, SFO will present an opera by Handel - always a cause for celebration - Serse (or Xerxes).  However, the timing is rather curious.  San Francisco Bay Area just was treated a wonderful production of Serse by Berkeley West Edge Opera in November 2010.  Why such overlapping?  Shouldn't the regional art institutes coordinate in a better manner?  Considering that there were more than 40 operas to Handel's credit and SFO has only presented six Handel's operas, one would hope that SFO would have chosen to present another masterpiece of Handel, and present this Serse in a couple year's time.  Or Berkeley West Edge Opera should have learned the long-planned SFO season and present other opera rather than Serse last year.

Second, Mozart's Don Giovanni returns.  Yes, it is a masterpiece.  Yes, it has terrific music and great dramatic strength.  But so often?  Last presentation of Don Giovanni at SFO was in June 2007.  Considering that another Mozart is offered in this season as well.  If must be an easy one, why not Rossini, Strauss, Bellini?  More curiously, the previous production which just got ditched was a new one then to SFO, credited to David McVicar.  This year, we are to have another new production.  Why so soon to replace the last one, which was unfailingly musical, dramatic and thought-provoking, and despite its relentless gloom and austerity, it was hugely exciting.  Unless the financial sheets stated otherwise, I thought that it was a hit.  If a new production is a terrible misfire, I can understand the need to have it replaced as soon as possible.  But why this one?  You'd think that SFO is drowning in the sea of checks from donors large and small.

San Francisco Opera _8750

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