* Notes *
Händel's Serse (Act I pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) opens this afternoon at San Francisco Opera, and I for one am quite sad not to attend. Instead I offer you a preview, based on attendance of rehearsals. Nicholas Hytner's production, directed here by Michael Walling, originates from English National Opera and was last seen at Houston Grand Opera. The palette employed for the set is pleasingly spring-like, with much white and green. The supernumeraries are white and are wearing bald caps. The chorus is painted grey, and seem to look quite like statues.
Patrick Summers, last seen on the San Francisco Opera podium for Heart of a Soldier, conducts these performances. The cast includes many fine singers, including David Daniels (Arsamene), Lisette Oropesa (Romilda), and most of all, Susan Graham in the title role. The supporting cast is also promising. Heidi Stober was very funny as Atalanta in Houston, as was Sonia Prina (Amastre), and they reprise these roles in San Francisco. Both Wayne Tigges (Ariodate) and Michael Sumuel (Elviro) made their San Francisco Opera debuts in Heart of a Soldier earlier this season. One may have heard Tigges as Donner in Los Angeles Opera's recent Ring cycle. Sumuel sure to be winsome in his comic role.