Thursday, June 21, 2007
San Francisco Opera's Summer Season
The San Francisco Opera has a weird, bifurcated "season" that runs for four months from September to December, and then picks up in June for a three-opera stint after a five-month hiatus while the San Francisco Ballet performs their season.
On paper, the three operas for this summer season didn't look particularly interesting, particularly after last fall's mostly dull rehash of standard repertory staples like "Rigoletto" and "Barber of Seville," but the live theatrical arts are surprising just by their nature, and the pleasant surprise is how good this summer's productions of "Don Giovanni," "Der Rosenkavalier" and "Iphigenie en Tauride" have turned out to be. Plus, they even complement each other in odd, interesting ways (click here to get to the San Francisco Opera website for info on the remaining ten performances of the three operas).
Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride" is in a dark, minimalist production by Robert Carsen, the Canadian theatrical genius responsible for the baroque "Mefistofole" production seen here in 1989 and 1994, and it's just about perfection, with a strong cast headed by a radiant Susan Graham.
To read intelligent reviews of the productions, I'd recommend a blog called "Out West Arts" (click here) written by a serious culture hound from Los Angeles named Brian. And for just plain brilliant cultural commentary about everything under the sun, I'd recommend "The Reverberate Hills" (click here) blog by East Bay writer Patrick Vaz. He hasn't gotten around to writing about "Iphigenie" yet but I'm sure he will.