Soprano Lise Lindstrom (pictured left) will have her San Francisco Opera debut as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer, which opens on October 22, 2013. Lindstrom replaces Petra Maria Schnitzer, who has withdrawn from the production for health reasons.
The Metropolitan Opera has announced the addition of three new composers to its Met/LCT New Works Program: Matthew Aucoin, David T. Little, and Joshua Schmidt. Two new premieres were also announced, namely Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel, to be seen in the 2017-18 season and Osvaldo Golijov's adaptation of the Euripides play Iphigenia in Aulis, which premieres in the 2018-19 season. Other contemporary works to be seen soon at the Met include John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer in the 2014-15 season and Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de Loin in the 2016-17 season.
Lotfi Mansouri, San Francisco Opera's fourth general director and a leading opera stage director, has passed away after a brief illness with pancreatic cancer at his San Francisco home. Mansouri made his San Francisco Opera debut in the 1963 season directing productions of Dialogues des Carmélites, Die Walküre, La Sonnambula, La Traviata, Mefistofele, and Samson et Dalila. He directed more than seventy-five productions with the Company. Mansouri was General Director of San Francisco Opera from 1988 until 2001.
Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick has withdrawn from the world premiere Dolores Claiborne, which opens on September 18, 2013 at San Francisco Opera. Zajick found the title-role of this new opera too challenging given her ongoing knee problems. Patricia Racette is to sing the first four performances of the opera instead, and Catherine Cook will sing the final two performances.
Aidan Lang (pictured left) has been named Seattle Opera's third General Director effective September 1, 2014. He will replace Speight Jenkins, who became General Director in 1983. Beginning immediately, Lang will be included in planning for the 2015-2016 season, working towards his first fully programmed season in 2016-2017.
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 Siegfried on 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.