San Francisco Opera Mourns the Passing of Philanthropist Barbara K. Jackson and Soprano Montserrat Caballé

Release date: 10/9/2018    


Montserrat Caballe and Barbara Jackson.pdf  Photos Available

At the Sunday, October 7, matinee performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock addressed the audience from the stage to acknowledge philanthropist Barbara K. Jackson, who passed on September 7 and to whose memory the performance was dedicated. Responding to the news of the recent death of legendary Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé on October 6, Shilvock took the opportunity to offer tributes to both women.

Jackson was praised by Shilvock for her generous support of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship program and the familial connection she developed with many of its young artists, particularly tenor Brian Jagde, the Cavaradossi in the afternoon’s performance of Tosca. Shilvock said, “Last Thursday was to have been her 100th birthday, a celebration she missed by just a few weeks. We honor her spirit and legacy by dedicating today’s performance to her memory.”

General Director Matthew Shilvock continued: “And then, just yesterday, we woke to the news of the passing of Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé. Madame Caballé was one of the greatest singers to tread the boards of this stage. She had an unsurpassed command of the repertoire, taking on works of Olympic virtuosity like Roberto Devereux and Semiramide. And then soaring romantic roles including Tosca and Turandot. From 1977 to 1987, she helped define San Francisco Opera as one of the great companies in the world in history-making performances with Luciano Pavarotti, Marilyn Horne and others. We were privileged to experience her artistry on our stage. Barbara Jackson and Montserrat Caballé both brought joy and beauty into our world, and we celebrate their lives through today’s performance.”

Montserrat Caballé made her highly-anticipated San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Puccini’s Turandot opposite Luciano Pavarotti as Calaf, both artists singing the roles for the first time. During her San Francisco Opera career, she also portrayed the title role of Puccini’s Tosca (1978), Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux (1979), the title role of Rossini’s Semiramide (1981), Amelia in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (1982), the title role of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda (1983) and Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani (1984). She sang a total of 33 operatic performances with the Company, including national broadcasts of most of her roles. An outstanding concert performer, Caballé was presented in recital on the War Memorial stage in 1984, 1986 and 1987, and appeared at Opera in the Park in 1981, 1982 and 1984.

The October 14, 2018 matinee performance of Tosca starring Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio in the title role, Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and Scott Hendricks as Scarpia, marks the 40th anniversary to the day of Caballé’s first Tosca at San Francisco Opera. She was joined in the cast of that 1978 performance by Luciano Pavarotti as Cavaradossi and Giuseppe Taddei as Scarpia. Paul Peloso conducted and Nicholas Joël directed the singers in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s production.

For tickets and more information about Tosca, visit

*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.