James Gaffigan has been named Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne (Gürzenich-Orchester Köln), starting with the 2012-2013 season. Gaffigan is currently the Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the Associate Conductor of San Francisco Symphony from 2006 to 2009.
Jan I. Shrem and Maria Manetti Farrow (pictured left) have made a commitment of $3,000,000 to San Francisco Opera in support of Music Director Nicola Luisotti and Italian repertory. Mr. Shrem and Ms. Farrow will assume the volunteer leadership role of Chairs of the Amici di Nicola of Camerata and establish the Great Interpreters of Italian Opera Fund at San Francisco Opera.
James Levine had injured his back after a fall last week, and underwent emergency surgery. He has withdrawn from his performances at the Metropolitan Opera for the rest of the year. Fabio Luisi (pictured left, photograph by Barbara Luisi) has been named the Met's Principal Conductor and will conduct the first five performances of Don Giovanni on October 13, 17, 22, 25, and 29 matinee, and Siegfriedon October 27 and November 5 matinee. Louis Langrée will conduct the last four performances of Don Giovanni on October 31, November 3, 7, and 11. Derrick Inouye will conduct Siegfried on November 1.
Seattle Opera's Annual Meeting was held today at McCaw Hall. The company announced that it achieved a balanced budget (unaudited) for the 2010-2011 season. The Seattle Opera Artists of the Year awards went to Aleksandra Kurzak for singing the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor last October, and to Zandra Rhodes, Costume Designer for The Magic Flute in May.
San Francisco Opera's latest production of Der Ring des Nibelungen (Das Rheingold Scene 3 pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) sold to 99.96% of ticket capacity, selling 44,055 tickets across 14 performances and generating $7,236,673 in box office income.
Single tickets for San Francisco Opera's 2011-2012 season go on sale Sunday, July 10. Some cast changes have also been announced. Michael Fabiano will replace Francesco Meli as Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia (Renée Fleming pictured left as Lucrezia Borgia, photo by Karin Cooper/Washington National Opera). Lucrezia Garcia and Fabio Sartori replace Oksana Dyka and Ramón Vargas in Attila.
San Francisco Opera's General Director David Gockley has renewed his contract for 5 more years, and will leave the position in 2016. Nicola Luisotti will remain as Music Director until at least that time as well.