Winterreise Opens SF Opera Lab

Release date: 3/11/2016 


San Francisco Opera Launches SF Opera Lab in the Taube Atrium Theater at the New Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera

Inaugural Season Opens with Three Sold-Out Performances of William Kentridge's Multimedia Setting of Schubert's Winterreise with Baritone Matthias Goerne and Pianist Markus Hinterhäuser March 1113, 2016

Winterreise Opens SF Opera Lab.pdf  Photos Available


San Francisco Opera’s SF Opera Lab opens its inaugural season of innovative programming that celebrates the power of the human voice theatrically in intimate spaces, including the state-of-the-art Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco Opera’s new Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera

The SF Opera Lab season launches with the West Coast production premiere of Winterreise (Winter Journey) on March 11–13, 2016. In this acclaimed collaboration, celebrated South African artist William Kentridge has created his own imaginary visual journey—in a series of 24 animated short films—as a poetic counterpoint to the interpretation of Franz Schubert’s lieder masterpiece. Winterreise is performed by eminent German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Markus Hinterhäuser.

Winterreise is co-commissioned and co-produced by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Festival d’Aix-en-Provence; Wiener Festwochen; Holland Festival; KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen/Niedersächsische Musiktage, Hanover; Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg; and Opéra de Lille.

SF Opera Lab programming at the Taube Atrium Theater has one directive—each presentation must combine a theatrical as well as a vocal performance aspect. I wanted the Wilsey Center to offer interesting programs that would appeal to individuals seeking more intimate and non-traditional encounters with opera and the performing arts. I’m hoping this will be an incubator for new ideas to infuse the opera art form and will serve as a gateway for new audiences,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. 

The first season of SF Opera Lab continues with Ana Sokolović's virtuosic a cappella chamber opera Svadba-Wedding, in a new production directed by Michael Cavanagh (April 2–10); ChamberWORKS with SF Opera Orchestra members and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows (April 7 & 20); The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert—screenings of the Oscar-nominated French film with live performance of the original score (April 14-23); and Voigt Lessons, a one-woman show starring soprano Deborah Voigt developed with Terrence McNally and Francesca Zambello with music direction by Kevin Stites (May 6 & 8). SF Opera Lab also presents a series of Pop-Up events at diverse venues around the Bay Area; the next Pop-Up will take place on April 1, 2016 at The Chapel in San Francisco’s Mission district. For more information about SF Opera Lab, visit

The new Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater is a state-of-the-art performance venue designed to be configured in multiple ways, providing both performer and audience members with a very personal approach to the concert experience. From traditional theater-style performances and seating, to cabaret settings with café tables and performances in the round, to more experimental configurations, the Taube Atrium Theater will offer intimate and adventurous experiences with its public offerings.

The 299-seat theater is distinguished by the Constellation® acoustic system from Berkeley-based Meyer Sound. The Constellation® system is an extraordinary innovation in acoustical science enabling artists to customize different acoustic environments for their performances with the press of a button. Specialized acoustic zones enable performers to hear each other while audience members experience optimal acoustics from anywhere in the theater. Meyer Sound’s Constellation® system will use 24 widely distributed microphones and 75 small, self-powered loudspeakers mounted discreetly within the theater walls and ceiling. San Francisco Opera is the first opera company to use this technology, providing a virtually unlimited palette of acoustic possibilities to create the most compelling sound experience.

The Taube Atrium Theater and the John M. Bryan Education Studio are the centerpieces of San Francisco Opera’s new Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera (located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco). Adjacent to the War Memorial Opera House, the Wilsey Center for Opera opened in late February 2016 and consolidates most of the Company’s operations into a single campus in the vibrant arts district of San Francisco’s Civic Center/Hayes Valley. For more information about the Wilsey Center for Opera, visit

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Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

March 11 (8 p.m.), 12 (8 p.m.), 13 (3 p.m.), 2016   

Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater  at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera Veterans Building, Fourth Floor 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

Sung in German 

Approximate running time:  1 hour, 20 minutes with no intermission 

First performance of production:  Aix-en-Provence; July 4, 2014   

William Kentridge, concept and video

Matthias Goerne, baritone 

Markus Hinterhäuser, piano 

Sabine Theunissen, set design 

Greta Goiris, costume design 

Herman Sorgeloos, lighting design 

Snezana Marovic, video editor

In this West Coast production premiere, Franz Schubert's Romantic song cycle of longing and loneliness is taken to new heights in a multimedia collaboration between South African artist William Kentridge, German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Markus Hinterhäuser.   


Talks take place in the Wilsey Center for Opera’s Bryan Education Studio; free to ticketholders.

*  March 11 at 7 p.m. – Explore the inspiration and artistic vision that brought Winterreise to SF Opera Lab with General Director David Gockley and SF Opera Lab Director of Programming Elkhanah Pulitzer.

*  March 12 at 7 p.m. – SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling and Stanford Professor Adrian Daub explore Winterreise's place as one of the foremost cycles of the Art Song tradition and how this multimedia production enhances the drama and humanity of this journey. Facilitated by Company Dramaturg Kip Cranna.

*  March 13 at 2 p.m. – Frank Smigiel, SFMOMA Associate Curator of Performance and Film, explores the intersection between media and live art forms. Smigiel brings a unique perspective on the current dialogues and issues in art and media, and how artists like William Kentridge and his concept for Winterreise represent these ideals. Facilitated by Company Dramaturg Kip Cranna.

WINTERREISE TICKETS: $125 (reserved seating). Tickets for the performances of Winterreise are currently sold-out. Please call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330 or visit for ticket returns and last-minute availability. The Box Office at the Taube Atrium Theater will be open starting 60 minutes before each show.

For the complete press release, casting, artist biographies and calendar, please view the attached PDF.