San Francisco Opera Returns to KQED Public Television with Four Spectacular Works Recorded in High-Definition

Release date: 3/4/2016

Celebrated Opera Superstar Frederica von Stade Hosts Four Consecutive Thursday Evenings March 31 to April 21 on KQED 9; Schedule Includes Kern and Hammerstein II’s Show Boat, Bellini’s Norma, Floyd’s Susannah and Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola)

KQED 2016 Broadcasts.pdf  Photos Available

San Francisco Opera today announced plans to return to KQED 9 for the sixth season of spectacular opera and musical theater works featuring a roster of internationally renowned singers, conductors, directors and designers, all recorded live in high-definition from the War Memorial Opera House. The season airs in primetime over four consecutive Thursday evenings at 8 p.m.

Hosted once again by opera superstar and Bay Area resident Frederica von Stade, this year’s series begins March 31 with Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s landmark musical theater work Show Boat. It is followed by Vincenzo Bellini’s early 19th-century bel canto masterpiece Norma on April 7, Carlisle Floyd’s popular and lyrical drama Susannah on April 14 and Gioachino Rossini’s sparkling Cinderella (La Cenerentola) on April 21.

Each opera is sung in its original language with English subtitles and features the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Ian Robertson, Chorus Director). Media sponsorship for these broadcasts is provided by Denise Littlefield Sobel, in memory of her mother Jeannik Méquet Littlefield.

San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley commented: “KQED Public Television is recognized as one of the nation’s leading presenters of arts programming, and I’m very pleased that San Francisco Opera will return this spring for its sixth season, particularly with such an extraordinary repertoire and roster of singing stars. This broadcast opportunity is part of the Opera’s continuing effort to expand our presence throughout the Bay Area and beyond the War Memorial Opera House. There’s no question that our association with KQED is the right way to go, and I anticipate the public will be the true beneficiary of our efforts.”

“Our ongoing partnership with the San Francisco Opera embodies KQED’s commitment to ensure that world-class performances are accessible to everyone,” said Michael Isip, KQED Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer. “The arts are a primary focus for KQED and we are dedicated to showcasing the talent, diversity and abundance of the Bay Area arts community on television, radio, online and on mobile devices.”


San Francisco Opera on KQED 9

Show Boat — Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II

Broadcast dates:  Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m. on KQED 9; repeated Wednesday, April 6 at 8 p.m. on KQED LIFE Channel. Performed in English with English subtitles.

Based on the novel by Edna Ferber and adapted for the stage, this new production was directed by Francesca Zambello and features an extraordinary ensemble cast spanning the worlds of opera and Broadway. San Francisco Chronicle hailed, “This Show Boat offers a broad array of theatrical delights. There are rollicking dance numbers … and big crowd scenes, balanced by moments of intimate emotion and sheer romance.” Set in the 1880s along the Mississippi River, Show Boat is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of America’s bitter legacy of racism. The cast features Heidi Stober (Magnolia Hawks), Michael Todd Simpson (Gaylord Ravenal), Bill Irwin (Cap’n Andy Hawks), Patricia Racette (Julie La Verne), Morris Robinson (Joe), Angela Renée Simpson (Queenie), Kirsten Wyatt (Ellie Mae Chipley), John Bolton (Frank Schultz) and Harriet Harris (Parthy Ann Hawks). John DeMain conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. This performance was recorded in June 2014.


Norma — Vincenzo Bellini

Broadcast dates:  Thursday, April 7 at 8 p.m. on KQED 9, repeated Wednesday, April 13 at 8 p.m. on KQED LIFE Channel. Sung in Italian with English subtitles.

American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, who has performed the demanding title role to great critical acclaim internationally, leads a first-rate cast, which the San Francisco Chronicle described as delivering “three hours’ worth of unforgettable vocal fireworks,” including Jamie Barton (Adalgisa), tenor Russell Thomas (Pollione) and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn (Oroveso). San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Orchestra and Chorus in a production directed by Kevin Newbury. This performance was recorded in September 2014.


Susannah — Carlisle Floyd

Broadcast dates:  Thursday, April 14 at 8 p.m. on KQED 9, repeated Wednesday, April 20 at 8 p.m. on KQED LIFE Channel. Sung in English with English subtitles.

Soprano Patricia Racette performs the title role of the innocent, strong-willed and falsely accused young woman Susannah Polk, a performance which the San Jose Mercury News described as “fully committed … [Racette] sang with focused power and lyrical beauty.” The all-American cast included bass Raymond Aceto as Reverend Olin Blitch, the itinerant preacher who targets Susannah as a sinner, and tenor Brandon Jovanovich as her hot-headed brother Sam Polk. The production, set in mid-1930s rural Appalachia, was a collaboration between director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom. Conductor Karen Kamensek made her Company debut in this San Francisco Opera production. This performance was recorded in October 2014.


Cinderella (La Cenerentola) — Giacochino Rossini

Broadcast dates: Thursday, April 21 at 8 p.m. on KQED 9, repeated Wednesday, April 27 at 8 p.m. on KQED LIFE Channel. Sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Based on the beloved fairy tale, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s iconic and whimsical San Francisco Opera production, which the San Francisco Chronicle praised as “bursting with wit and vitality,” was directed by Gregory Fortner and features Spanish conductor Jesús López-Cobos. French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes stars in the title role of Angelina (Cinderella), the servant girl who catches the eye of a handsome prince.  Tenor René Barbera is the dashing prince, Don Ramiro, and baritone Efraín Solís is the prince’s valet, Dandini. Spanish baritone Carlos Chausson delights in his signature role as Cinderella’s evil stepfather, Don Magnifico, in a performance that the San Francisco Chronicle described as having “uproarious vitality and vocal heft.” This performance was recorded in November 2014.

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