KQED Public Television to Air San Francisco Opera Performances of Verdi's Attila and Boito's Mefistofele in August 2017

Release date: 6/15/2017    


Italian Masterworks Feature San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti on the Podium

Telecasts Hosted by Frederica von Stade and Matthew Shilvock

KQED Attila Mefistofele.pdf  Photos Available  

San Francisco Opera and KQED Public Television will join forces to bring the spectacle and power of grand opera into the homes of Bay Area residents with two telecast events that combine theater, stage craft, and exhilarating musical performances. Attila, Giuseppe Verdi’s 1846 masterpiece about a legendary warrior who is tormented by internal doubts, will air on Thursday, August 3 on KQED 9. Three weeks later, Arrigo Boito’s exuberant retelling of the Faust legend, Mefistofele, will be telecast on Thursday, August 24 on KQED 9. Celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock will host the telecasts, which feature international casts led by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti.

“We are excited to partner with the San Francisco Opera again to showcase Attila and Mefistofele to an audience that might not have an opportunity to enjoy these tremendous performances otherwise,” says David Markus, Executive in Charge, KQED Arts, Food, and Education. “The richness and quality of the performing arts in the Bay Area are world class, and these performances are emblems of that proud tradition.” 

San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock remarked, “As we enter the 2017–18 opera season, Nicola Luisotti’s last as music director, we are thrilled to work with KQED in celebrating the Maestro’s distinguished tenure with public television viewers all around the region. The Italian operatic repertory has enjoyed a glorious resurgence at San Francisco Opera under Nicola’s watch and these performances—a gripping Attila from 2012 and the spectacular Mefistofele that opened our 2013 season—are benchmarks of artistic and musical excellence. We are grateful to Nicola and to KQED and look forward to these summer telecasts with great anticipation.”

Since his Company debut in 2005 leading Verdi’s La Forza del Destino and 2009 appointment as music director, Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti has conducted over 40 operas and concerts with San Francisco Opera. 2017–18 marks Luisotti’s final season as music director and the telecasts, in partnership with KQED, mark the beginning of a season-long celebration of his tenure. Luisotti will conduct Puccini’s Turandot, Opera in the Park and Verdi’s La Traviata at San Francisco Opera during the coming season and will also be the official honoree at the Company’s annual Opera Ball on Friday, September 8. 

The telecasts of Attila and Mefistofele were recorded live in high-definition at the War Memorial Opera House and feature the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Attila – Giuseppe Verdi

Thursday, August 3 at 9 pm


In popular culture, Attila the Hun was a ruthless barbarian, but to Verdi, he was a far more complex and compelling figure: a brave, ambitious warrior tormented by fierce internal doubts. This San Francisco Opera/Teatro alla Scala co-production features a distinguished cast, including legendary Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role and Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey as the Roman general Ezio. The cast also features Lucrecia Garcia (Odabella), Diego Torre (Foresto), Samuel Ramey (Leone) and Nathaniel Peake (Uldino). Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The performance was recorded in June 2012.

Mefistofele – Arrigo Boito

Thursday, August 24 at 9 pm


This monumental work of “choral grandeur and melodic richness” (The New York Times), a reimagining of Goethe’s Faust, is one of the most impressive productions ever seen at the War Memorial Opera House. The title role of Mefistofele is sung by Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in his staged role debut. The cast also features Ramón Vargas (Faust), Patricia Racette (Margherita/Elena), Chuanyue Wang (Wagner/Nereo), Erin Johnson (Marta), Renee Rapier (Pantalis), Luke Lazzaro (Adam) and Brook Broughton (Eve). Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in the bold San Francisco Opera production by director Robert Carsen. The performance was recorded in September 2013.

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