Friday, November 30, 2007

Return of the Ninja Geishas



The San Francisco Opera's fall season is ending with a reprise of five performances of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," featuring yours truly as a Kabuki "kugoro" scene-shifter.



Because the performances are not part of any of the subscription series, there are still plenty of tickets available, and I can't recommend the production highly enough. Patricia Racette, who sang the role here last year, is probably the best Butterfly in the world right now, both vocally and histrionically. She just sang a couple of performances at the Metropolitan in New York in their new production, and all the opera queens on the internet went slightly bonkers.



The San Francisco production of "Butterfly" last year featured a tenor and bass-baritone as Pinkerton and Sharpless respectively who were definitely sub-par, but that's not the case this time around. Stephen Powell is sounding wonderful in rehearsal as the American consul, and a pair of young American tenors are sharing the role of Pinkerton.



Not only is Brandon Jovanovich (in the two photos above) ridiculously handsome, he also possesses an outrageously beautiful voice.



He's pictured above with the legendary, recently deceased opera director Colin Graham, who ran the Opera Theatre of St. Louis for decades, and who directed the premieres of many of the seminal Benjamin Britten operas before that. In fact, I have a repertory request for San Francisco Opera's David Gockley. Please, oh please, present the San Francisco premiere of Britten's masterful opera "Gloriana" about Queen Elizabeth, and bring back Jovanovich to sing Essex which he played in St. Louis.



Sharing handsome Ugly American duties with the alternate Butterfly, Marie Plette (12/6 and 12/8), is James Valenti who also has looks and vocal beauty to spare. Click here to see about tickets.

10 comments:

Lisa Hirsch said...

I last saw Butterfly in the go-round with Miriam Gauci, who tore me to pieces. Planning to go tonight to hear Racette - best in the world would be very good indeed.

namastenancy said...

I will be seeing the Butterfly courtesy of my friends as well and I can hardly wait. My standard is still Victoria De Los Angeles; I heard in in person back in my youth (so many years ago) and still have the ancient Angel LPs with Jussi Bjoerling. Boy Howdy - the new crop of tenors are so gorgeous that it's a miracle that they can also sing well.

sfmike said...

Dear Lisa: The performances begin tomorrow (Saturday) at noon rather than tonight. And I love de Los Angeles, too, but Racette is simply magnificent.

pjwv said...

Should I be bitter that as a paying subscriber I got stuck with Franco Farino instead of either of these guys? Or should I just take that as the hazards of the game?

sfmike said...

Dear Patrick: Be bitter.

pjwv said...

Mike,
Bitter I can do.

Patrick

I'm off to Macbeth tonight. I'm wondering if I will be able to untangle the mystery of the typewriter.

sfmike said...

If anybody can untangle the mystery of the neon green typewriter, it will definitely be you, Patrick. Can't wait for your account.

charlie said...

I think that the typewriter is somehow connected with the letters that Lady M reads, and those enigmatic 'missing' posters (which can only be really seen on the Operavision screen).

sfmike said...

UPDATE: I'm going to have to amend that phrase "Racette is probably the best Butterfly in the world right now" to "Racette is definitely the best Butterfly in the world right now." Her performance at the Saturday matinee premiere today was the stuff of legend, and the ovation she received at the end rivaled the historic ovation for Gwyneth Jones in "Elektra" at the San Francisco Opera in the early 1990s. Incidentally, Jovanovich as Pinkerton had an extraordinary debut.

Ced said...

Coming to see you on Wednesday, that sounds amazing.