20 March 2007

Enchanted April

Karita Mattila, bottomBeginning April 1, San Francisco Opera will begin broadcasting its regular season again for the first time since 1982. The opener is Manon Lescaut featuring Karita Mattila as the notorious party girl.

Says General Manager David Gockley, "After decades with no regular broadcast series, this is truly a landmark announcement for San Francisco Opera. Through these broadcasts, audiences in the Bay Area, across the United States, and internationally will have the opportunity to experience the great performances that San Francisco Opera is producing."

Following programs through November include Orleanskaya Deva (Dolora Zajick), Tristan und Isolde (Thomas Moser, Christine Brewer), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Nathan Gunn), Un ballo in maschera (Deborah Voigt), Don Giovanni (Mariusz Kwiecien) and Der Rosenkavalier (Joyce DiDonato, Soile Isokoski). Broadcasts may be heard on SF's own KDFC and on the WFMT network. More details.

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14 July 2006

Skating on the Nile?

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

Actually, no, Mark Twain didn't say it. That means this public-domain quotation is available for use by Donald Runnicles, who, according to the August Opera News, is about to find out what it means:
"Runnicles, of course, was not my appointment," [David Gockley] says. "But we had enough good conversation. I think Runnicles knows now that he does report to me, even though his contract was renewed by the board during the last year of Pamela Rosenberg's administration. And he needs to know -- I mean, he knows where his next renewal is coming from."


25 May 2006

Five Finger Exercise

David Gockley talks to a gay paper about fisting. (Well, when you're running the San Francisco Opera, knowing these things is surely part of the job description.)

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27 April 2006

California dreaming

La Cieca, who only yesterday was perpendicular hanging from a cable car, has been annoying San Francisco natives this week by humming the immortal theme song of that city by the bay while strolling her streets. (That's the Jeanette MacDonald song, not the Tony Bennett number, but that's not the point here.) Providing a welcome break to the incessant "beat my feet up and down Market Street" was a visit to the Berkeley Opera's production of a brand new musical theater piece, Chrysalis, with music by Clark Suprynowicz and libretto by John O’Keefe. In mood and style, it's Lady in the Dark meets Trouble in Tahiti (smart and jazzy) with a Twilight Zone plot oncerning cosmetic surgery. Mezzo Buffy Baggott does a dazzling diva turn as a driven cosmetics CEO. Our publisher JJ will write about the piece in detail for musicalamerica.com early next week, but, in the meantime, La Cieca urges the Bay area segment of her cher public to jump on the BART train to the Berkeley Opera and take in this entertaining and thought-provovking new work. Remaining performances are Friday the 28th and Sunday the 30th.

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08 January 2006

Queen Lear

La Cieca wishes a very happy 80th birthday to Evelyn Lear, heard recently on Unnatural Acts of Opera singing "The Boy from Ipanema." Another sample of her vast range of artistry can be found here, in her performance of the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin at the San Francisco Opera in October 1971.

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02 August 2005

Nipped in the Budd

At first glance, the photo from San Francisco Opera's Billy Budd looks like any other opera featuring Nathan Gunn, i.e., pug nose in profile, chin a-jut, freshly waxed chest front and center.

But on closer inspection, it turns out that Billy is getting a tweak from Mr. Squeak:

"Warm as a sailor's pants, gay as a hornpipe dance..."

La Cieca wishes to thank Albert's World of Artsy Fun for the revelation about Nathan's nips, and also for pointing her to SF Mike's Civic Center, which features lots of photos of the campy Pecheurs de Perles production and other sights around the War Memorial Opera House.

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10 July 2005

A good podcast is worth repeating

San Francisco Opera, as always right on the crest of the wave, introduced its own podcast over the weekend. Pamela Rosenberg and Donald Runnicles yak about the 2005-06 season, which will include the premiere of the new John Adams piece "Dr. Atomic," and some musical highlights of the rest of the repertoire are included too. San Francisco Opera 2005-06 Season Preview.

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08 February 2005

Key changes

La Cieca has just been informed that the legendary team of superagents Bruce Zemsky and Alan Green have packed their bags and moved out of CAMI, presumably to start up their own management firm. Zemsky and Green handled artists ranging from Marcelo Alvarez to Mariana Zvetkova; no word yet on how many of the dozens of Z/G artists will jump ship along with the duo.

Finalmente! That David Gockley story La Cieca's been blabbing about all this time has at long last been confirmed. Yes, indeed, Gockley will be be the new head honcho of San Francisco Opera. Those of you who have been holding your breath since December 16 can finally exhale and read the details in the Houston Chronicle or, if you prefer, Gockley's inaugural interview with Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle.


03 February 2005

Spit it out!

This is getting ridiculous, folks. La Cieca, sitting here in New York, reported four days ago that David Gockley had accepted an offer to helm San Francisco Opera. And now she hears that Gockley broke the news to his Houston Grand Opera staff "days ago." And still no announcement from the city by the bay! What their press office waiting for, a slow news day?


31 January 2005

Gockley says yes

Breaking News! According to a source at San Francisco Opera, David Gockley has accepted the company's offer to serve as their new General Manager -- exactly as rumored and then predicted here in La Cieca's column!


16 January 2005

Media awake with a start

You heard it here first. In fact, you heard it here a month ago -- and now the "other" media are finally picking up on the operatic story of the year. According to the Houston Chronicle, David Gockley is mulling an offer from San Francisco "to lead that city's legendary but troubled opera company."

La Cieca was delighted to read the enthusiastic reviews for Deborah Voigt's first Marschallin in Berlin. The Berliner Morgenpost, first commenting on the rumored "40 kilos" Voigt has lost over the past year or so, raved, "She sings the Marschallin in her bold high-dramatic voice, like Isolde out for a stroll in the Prater, but without sacrificing fine detail or clarity of text. Her diction is clear and idiomatic, and her phrasing is tender. Her large-scale operatic gestures redefine this Rosenkavalier production in a more traditional mode. This Marschallin is an undisputed success." And the Tagesspiel praised the soprano for the "grandeur" and "seductiveness" of her intepretation.

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15 December 2004

Lyric drama

Once Matthew Epstein has left Chicago (as reported this morning at musicalamerica.com), you can be sure he'll have better things to do than rest on his laurels. La Cieca hears that Matthew has his eye on San Francisco Opera, succeeding Pamela Rosenberg there. But the competition for this post is fierce: front runners include Charles MacKay of St. Louis and Christopher Hahn of Pittsburgh. And yet another prospective intendant has recently thrown her hat in the ring: none other than Carol Vaness is ready to be "directa" of SFO.

Update (December 16): The whirlwind of speculation over the next career move of Matthew Epstein continues. A usually reliable source informs La Cieca that, no, Matthew is not going to run San Francisco Opera; rather, he'll take on a prestigious position with Sony. The SFO gig (our source continues) will almost certainly go to David Gockley. So who gets Houston, then? Stay tuned.

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