San Francisco Opera Presents World Premiere of "Two Women"

Release date: 6/11/2015

San Francisco Opera Presents World Premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara) Starring Anna Caterina Antonacci, Conducted by Nicola Luisotti and Directed by Francesca Zambello, June 13–30, 2015

Two Women World Premiere.pdf  Photos Available

San Francisco Opera presents the world premiere of Italian composer Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara), with a libretto by the composer and Fabio Ceresa, June 13–30 as part of the Company’s 2015 Summer Season. Starring Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, conducted by Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti and directed by Francesca Zambello, the opera is based on 20th-century Italian author Alberto Moravia’s novel of the same name. Moravia’s critically-acclaimed 1958 work was adapted in 1960 by noted Italian film producer Carlo Ponti into a film directed by Vittorio De Sica starring Sophia Loren. Loren won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Actress for the performance—the first artist to win an Oscar for a foreign language film.

At a press conference streamed live today from the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, Nicola Luisotti, Marco Tutino, Anna Caterina Antonacci and Francesca Zambello shared details of this new work, co-commissioned by San Francisco Opera and Teatro Regio di Torino. The video recording of the press conference will be available at sfopera.com later today.

This moving drama follows a strong-willed widow and her teenage daughter in World War II as they flee from Rome to provincial Ciociaria in a vain attempt to find safety. Starring as Cesira is Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, who has garnered outstanding reviews throughout Europe and for her rare North American performances. Of a recent recital at Lincoln Center, The New York Times wrote, “The extraordinary Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci has concentrated her career in Europe. Each appearance she makes in America. . . is coveted by opera fans familiar with her intelligent and charismatic artistry.” Antonacci has previously appeared with San Francisco Opera in the title role of Ermione (1992) and as Adalgisa in Norma (1998).  Completing the cast are soprano Sarah Shafer, who created the role of Mary in the Company’s 2013 world premiere of The Secret Garden, as Cesira’s daughter Rosetta; tenor Dimitri Pittas as Michele, a young intellectual who becomes close to both mother and daughter, making his Company debut in the role; and baritone Mark Delavan as the devious Giovanni.

Sung in Italian, Two Women (La Ciociara) will be conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti and directed by Francesca Zambello, director of the Company’s 2011 Ring cycle. This world premiere co-production with Turin’s Teatro Regio features sets designed by Peter Davison, costumes by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Mark McCullough and both new and vintage projections by S. Katy Tucker depicting the Italian locales and the drama of World War II.

David Gockley remarked, “Marco Tutino’s lush musical palette will remind the listener of Puccini, Leoncavallo and Mascagni. The stunning Italian diva Anna Caterina Antonacci, for whom Tutino wrote this piece, will lead a cast whose story will both break your heart and mend it with hope and reconciliation.”

“It is the first time in the history of San Francisco Opera that a great Italian composer will write a new opera for us,” said Maestro Luisotti. “Its subject is very operatic and involves Italian and American people in a very dramatic moment of our mutual history, leading up to the liberation of 1940s Italy from the Nazis and Fascists. With Marco’s dramatic and lyrical compositional style, we are at the doors of a possibility to bring back a ‘new verismo’ period of truly beautiful operas.”

Francesca Zambello commented, “When Nicola Luisotti and David Gockley spoke to me about working together on a 21st-century opera that looked back to the tradition of Italian verismo opera, I was intrigued by the intoxicating combination of the esteemed Italian composer Marco Tutino mixed with a story based on history turned into a compelling novel and then a classic film. The experiences that both of these women undergo during wartime is something we still see today around the world, and in this piece we have an incredible sympathy for them and also try to understand the world that they are facing. Anna Caterina Antonacci and I have a long association with projects together in Pesaro, Rome and Covent Garden—usually all of them complex heroines—so to discover this new character together will be a treat.”

Two Women (La Ciociara) marks the fifteenth opera written by Marco Tutino. Recognized as one of the founders of the Italian “neo-romantic” school of composition, Tutino has written operas, chamber music and symphonic works that have been performed by leading opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe, including Milan’s La Scala, Genoa Opera, Palermo’s Teatro Massimo, Venice’s Teatro La Fenice and the BBC Symphony. Tutino has also served as the composer-in-residence for the Arena di Verona, artistic director of Teatro Regio di Torino and general and artistic director of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna. Two Women (La Ciociara) is the seventh new work commissioned for San Francisco Opera by David Gockley.

Insightful videos of director Francesca Zambello, soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci and set designer Peter Davison sharing their thoughts about the production can be viewed at sfopera.com/twowomen.

Two Women (La Ciociara) Ancillary Events

San Francisco Opera partners with cultural and educational institutions throughout the Bay Area to present events for audiences to further explore Two Women (La Ciociara). A calendar of ancillary events follows below; for further information visit sfopera.com/twowomen.

Single tickets for Two Women (La Ciociara) begin at $32 (prices subject to change); for tickets and information, call (415) 864-3330, visit sfopera.com or visit the San Francisco Opera Box Office, 301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street). Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.

Before every opera performance, listen to charismatic music scholars present a 25-minute Opera Talk including an overview of the opera, with insights on the music, composer and historical background.  Talks begin 55 minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.

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 bart.gov and sfmta.com.

Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2015 season, please visit sfopera.com.

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