Hesperion XXI in Berkeley
Emanuel Ax and Dawn Upshaw

SF Opera Annual Meeting 2010

* Notes *
San Francisco Opera's Annual Meeting for 2010 was held yesterday afternoon, over in Zellerbach Rehearsal Hall A at the Symphony. Board of Directors President George H. Hume, General Director David Gockley, and CFO Michael Simpson gave reports as usual. Again, this year the outlook was on the gloomy side, though the endowment has recovered since last time. On the other hand, 50% of all donations to SF Opera come from just 19 people, a precarious situation to say the least. Full subscriptions continue to decline, there is an accumulated deficit, and many cuts were made.
Plans afoot to solve the various problems include recapitalization, reconfiguring of the opera schedule, reducing fixed costs, investment in facilities, and building the endowment.

Gregory Henkel, Director of Artistic Administration at San Francisco Opera, also addressed us. He spoke about the joys and challenges of casting for the company, and about how splendidly the Merolini and Adlers did at the Met auditions.

Five Adlers performed, sopranos Leah Crocetto and Sara Gartland, mezzo soprano Maya Lahyani, countertenor Ryan Belongie, and pianist Tamara Sanikidze. Lahyani sang "Va, laisse couler mes larmes" from Werther with great beauty. Belongie sang Arsamene's aria "Sì, la voglio," from Serse. His transitions between the different parts of his voice were flawless. Gartland's "Deh vieni, non tardar" was very pretty. Crocetto and Lahyani gave a heartrending performance of "Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio."

* Tattling *
I was particularly ill-behaved at this meeting, for one thing, I was at least 5 minutes late, as the BART train ahead of mine was having mechanical issues. Secondly, I answered the survey that we were to fill out in my own deadly earnest yet entirely silly manner. I hope the person who has to read that gets a good laugh. Two cellular phones rang at different points whilst people were speaking.

In other news, we may well have Fleming, Radvanovsky, and Hampson to look forward to in coming seasons.