San Francisco Opera Presents Janacek's "Vec Makropulos" ("The Makropulos Case"), October 14-29

Release date: 9/29/2016    

German Soprano Nadja Michael Heads Brilliant Ensemble Cast

Russian Conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov Makes Company Debut in Olivier Tambosi's Inventive Production

Performances Mark 50th Anniversary of United States Premiere Presented by San Francisco Opera  

MAKROPULOS CASE.pdf  Photos Available 

San Francisco Opera presents Leoš Janáček's Věc Makropulos (The Makropulos Case), a suspenseful lyric drama about the quest for eternal youth, in five performances at the War Memorial Opera House from October 14–29. Director Olivier Tambosi returns to oversee his imaginative staging, a co-production with Finnish National Opera, which premiered at San Francisco Opera in 2010 to considerable praise. Russian conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov makes his Company debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and a brilliant ensemble cast featuring German soprano Nadja Michael in the pivotal role of Emilia Marty, American tenor Charles Workman in his San Francisco Opera debut as Albert Gregor and American baritone Stephen Powell as Baron Jaroslav Prus.

Tambosi's staging of Janáček's penultimate stage work, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “magnificent” and “superbly inventive," returns to the repertory shortly after his production of Janáček's first opera, Jenůfa, played to rapturous acclaim during the Company's 2016 summer season. With sets and costumes designed by Frank Philipp Schlössman, Tambosi's vision for The Makropulos Case harnesses the power of Janáček's score, a marvel of 20th-century composition that abounds in colorful harmonies and virtuosic rhythms, into a heart-pounding race against time for the femme fatale at the work’s core.

The Makropulos Case follows the travails of the mysterious E.M., a seemingly young woman who in reality is more than 300 years old thanks to a life-giving potion she drank centuries ago. After several generations of assuming different identities, E.M.—now Emilia Marty, a glamorous opera singer—notices the effects of the elixir beginning to wear off. With the formula for the elixir caught up in a legal battle over the estate of one of her former identities, Emilia attempts to seduce her way through the heirs to obtain the recipe. As the story hurls toward its conclusion, Emilia contemplates the purpose of her quest and the value of eternal life.

German soprano Nadja Michael, who dazzled audiences at her 2009 American and San Francisco Opera debuts in the title role of Salome, returns to the Company to perform the role of Emilia Marty. Acclaimed for her vivid, fearless stage portrayals, the Associated Press observed "Nadja Michael commands the stage in a manner few sopranos do" and the New York Times applauded her “bright voice and visceral intensity.”

American tenor Charles Workman makes his Company debut in the role of Albert Gregor, one of E.M.'s conquests, and baritone Stephen Powell sings the role of Baron Jaroslav Prus, who is determined to uncover Marty’s secret. Bass-baritone Dale Travis and tenor Matthew O’Neill reprise their roles of Dr. Kolenatý and Count Hauk-Šendorf, respectively, while tenor Joel Sorensen portrays Vítek and tenor Brenton Ryan makes his first Company appearances as Janek. Current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows soprano Julie Adams, mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde and bass-baritone Brad Walker complete the ensemble cast. Acclaimed Russian conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov, who has performed extensively in Europe, including in St. Petersburg, Brussels, Riga and Bordeaux, makes his Company debut in this production.

The 2016–17 performances of The Makropulos Case mark the 50th anniversary of the work's United States premiere at San Francisco Opera on November 19, 1966, which was sung in an English translation and featured Australian soprano Marie Collier as Emilia Marty. The Company revived the work in 1976 with the Marty of German soprano Anja Silja and in 1993 with Stephanie Sundine. In 2010 Finnish soprano Karita Mattila captivated audiences in the inaugural run of Tambosi's production and Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

Sung in Czech with English supertitles, the five San Francisco Opera performances of The Makropulos Case are scheduled for October 14 (7:30 p.m.), October 18 (7:30 p.m.), October 23 (2 p.m.), October 26 (7:30 p.m.), October 29 (7:30), 2016. 


Tickets for Věc Makropulos (The Makropulos Case) are priced from $26 to $397 (subject to change) and may be purchased at or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue or by phone at (415) 864-3330. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only, and limited to two tickets per person.

The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit and

Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about The Makropulos Case and San Francisco Opera’s 2016–17 Season, please visit

For the complete press release including calendar listing, please view the attached PDF.