Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer joined San Francisco opera as the resident conductor just in time for the opening of the 2015-16 season. The 39 year old takes over for Italian born Guiseppi Finzi and the new maestro will assist music director Nicola Luisotti. Bernàcer worked with Luisotti in Valencia on Boito’s ‘Mefistofele’ and on Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’. Initial assignments in San Francisco will be Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’, Donizetti’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ and Verdi’s ‘Don Carlo’. He will also help with rehearsals in general.
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Cindy Warner, via Facebook, to Jordi Bernàcer: What opera would you love to work on at San Francisco Opera? How about ‘Lulu’?
Jordi Bernàcer: It’s very difficuIt for me to answer your question: I love opera! And the repertoire is so gorgeous that I can’t exclude anything. You propose “Lulu”? I lived in Vienna four years and each note that perfumes that city and that culture is very special for me. Why not a little bit from Berg? Wonderful!!
Bernàcer shall work with Damrau, Crocetto and Fabiano
What these assignments mean is Bernàcer should be working with Diana Damrau who sings the title role in a new production of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’. Damrau appears to have made the bloody descent into madness her signature at San Francisco Opera. Damrau appeared with Greer Grimsley in San Francisco’s ‘Salome’ a few years ago, in the title role. She did a spectacular job in that with the memorable dance of seduction the dance of the seven veils and mentioned she does yoga. The new ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ opens October 8. Tickets cost $26 to $381.
Leah Crocetto sings the title role in Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’, the anti-Salome, about a daughter who sacrifices herself for the love of her father. It’s another Verdian story of life and death devotion; and parent and child. Crocetto most recently appeared as a demure and innocent, gentle Mimi in Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’. The gifted former Adler Fellow shows an amazing range of poignancy and humor and back in 2009 won People’s Choice and the Spanish Prize Winner of the 2009 José Iturbi International Music Competition. Years ago she performed a song from that for her debut with San Francisco, a humorous piece where she while singing gets distracted by a fly and snatches at it, catching it in her fist. She also told how, as the oldest Merolini at age 30, the cut off age, she had sung in her parents’ Italian restaurant. ‘Luisa Miller’ opens the 2015 season, September 11. Crocetto will sing opposite Michael Fabiano. Tickets cost $30 to $381.
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Michael Fabiano returns to work with Bernàcer again in June with another Verdi opera, ‘Don Carlo’, which takes place during the brutal Spanish inquisition. A king marries the woman his son loves, pitting love against duty. Fabiano plays the title role and Mariusz Kwiecień plays Rodrigo. Mariusz Kwiecień has gone down in San Francisco Opera history as on fire playing Don Giovanni in his fight to the death with the Devil. ‘Don Carlo’ opens June 6, 2016. Tickets cost $30 to $381.
Bernàcer has conducted mainly in Italy and Spain but also a ‘Carmen’ in Poland and at a festival in Virginia. He most recently conducted Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ in Naples.
Opera tickets generally cost from $26 to $395. Rush tickets start at $27 for students and $32 for seniors and military on the day of the performance and may now be purchased on line with pre-registration. The opera charges a $2 facility fee for on line purchases generally other than the balcony. Rush tickets go on sale at 11:00 a.m.. Standing room tickets cost $10 cash each/maximum two per person. The 200 standing room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. the day of the performance. There are also ways to save substantially through subscriptions for students and teachers; the LGBT community; and young professionals via the BRAVO club.
Opera in the Park on Sunday, September 13, 2015 is free, in Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park. The opera house is at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, an easy walk from Civic Center BART. Civic Center BART just opened bright new bike cages.
For more information, SF Opera.