Soprano Nadine Sierra Replaces Diana Damrau in "Lucia"

Release date: 9/18/2015

San Francisco Opera Announces Cast Changes for Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, October 8–28 and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, October 20–November 20

Soprano Nadine Sierra to Sing Title Role of Lucia di Lammermoor, Replacing Diana Damrau; Soprano Sarah Shafer Will Perform as Pamina in the First Four Performances of The Magic Flute

Tenor Piotr Beczala Stars Opposite Sierra in a New Production of Lucia di Lammermoor, Directed by Michael Cavanagh and Designed by Erhard Rom

Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti Leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in Donizetti’s Bel-Canto Masterpiece

Lucia di Lammermoor.pdf  Photos Available

San Francisco Opera today announced cast changes for the Company’s new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, presented October 8–28, 2015, and for Mozart’s The Magic Flute, presented October 20–November 20, at the War Memorial Opera House. German soprano Diana Damrau has withdrawn from the Lucia production, in order to remain on vocal rest for the next six weeks. American soprano Nadine Sierra—who performed Lucia last spring at the Zurich Opera House to critical acclaim and, more recently, as the Countess in San Francisco Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro—will now sing the title role for all seven performances.

“I am deeply sorry for all of those who had looked forward to my performances in San Francisco and I ask for your understanding,” said Damrau in a written statement. “After 15 years of performing with little or no time for substantial rest and recuperation, along with the demands that come with a beautiful, young family, my body has reached the point when it is now ‘insisting’ that I pause for a short time. … The issue is in no way vocal, but one of exhaustion that the doctors tell me ten weeks of rest will without question fix.” Damrau is currently taking her rest here in San Francisco with her family and husband, French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé who will be making his San Francisco Opera debut in the role of Raimondo.

Sierra’s appearance in Lucia affects casting in the Company’s revival production of The Magic Flute; she was initially to have sung the role of Pamina. Soprano Sarah Shafer, recently seen as Rosetta in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s opera Two Women, will now take on the first four performances (October 20, 25, 27 and 29) and Sierra will sing the remaining six performances as originally scheduled (November 4, 8, 12, 14, 17 and 20).

Sierra and renowned tenor Piotr Beczala as Lucia’s secret lover Edgardo will join conductor Nicola Luisotti to bring to life Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in a new San Francisco Opera production directed by Michael Cavanagh and designed by Erhard Rom—the team behind the Company’s “triumphant” (Bay Area Reporter) Susannah,presented in fall 2014, and Nixon in China in summer 2012. Based on Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor with a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, Lucia di Lammermoor tells the story of an anguished young woman, pressured by her family to marry the wrong man, who suffers an emotional breakdown on her wedding night. The opera culminates in one of the most unforgettable “mad scenes” ever composed. Bursting with melody and stunning ensembles, Lucia di Lammermoor has long been considered Donizetti’s finest score.

“Our production of Lucia takes a modern-mythic approach to this great work. The setting is a dystopian near future, where the intense pressures of mega-corporate deal-making are akin to the great inter-family alliances of yesteryear. The production's clean lines and imposing structures create a world that is at once oppressive and starkly beautiful,” said Cavanagh. “The production, then, stands as a memorial to eternal love, and serves as a warning to those who would put ambition ahead of family and thus forsake our connections to the past.”

Also appearing in the Company’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor is dynamic baritone Brian Mulligan (Sweeney Todd, Nixon in China)as Lucia’s controlling brother, Enrico. Latvian mezzo-soprano and Adler Fellow Zanda Švēde is Alisa. As Normanno is tenor AJ Glueckert (Sweeney Todd, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene), and tenor and first-year Adler fellow Chong Wang (The Trojans) performs as Lucia’s ill-fated bridegroom, Arturo.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the seven San Francisco Opera performances of Lucia di Lammermoor are scheduled for October 8 (7:30 p.m.), October 11 (2 p.m.), October 13 (7:30 p.m.), October 16 (7:30 p.m.), October 21 (7:30 p.m.), October 24 (7:30 p.m.) and October 28 (7:30 p.m.), 2015. 

The San Francisco Opera Guild will present an Insight Panel Discussion with members of the cast and production team from Lucia di Lammermoor on Tuesday, October 6 at 6 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, War Memorial Performing Arts Center, 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister Street). Panels are free for San Francisco Opera members, subscribers and students with valid ID and $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion. Information:

The San Francisco Opera 2015–16 Season continues with Mozart’s The Magic Flute (October 20 –November 20), Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (November 18–December 6), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (November 25–December 9), the Gordon Getty and Claude Debussy double bill The Fall of the House of Usher (December 8–13), Bizet’s Carmen (May 27–July 3), Verdi’s Don Carlo (June 12–29) and Janáček’s Jenůfa (June 14–July 1). For more information, please visit



Single tickets for Lucia di Lammermoor are priced from $26 to $381 (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. 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 Lucia di Lammermoor and San Francisco Opera’s 2015–16 Season, please visit

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