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Newsletter Summer 2012 Dear Friends, W elcome to the first of what I hope will be a regular series of updates on Camerata. Established in October 2010, Camerata is a unique funding program that enables San Francisco Opera to build on our storied legacy and ensure the future of opera and this Company. As a valued member, you are part of a visionary group making possible the projects that define our worldclass reputation. We want you to experience unprecedented access to the amazing process of getting an opera onto the War Memorial Opera House stage, from inception to “Bravo!” This newsletter is my way of saying Thank You to generous patrons like you who have stepped up to join Camerata, pledging nearly $5 million in special funding. Call it my love letter to you. Camerata projects to-date have ranged from Nicola Luisotti’s exhilarating appearances on the podium leading our Opera Orchestra to groundbreaking new works like Heart of a Soldier and innovative productions of seminal favorites like our new Magic Flute, which debuted to rave reviews this June. I wanted to share with you some behind-the-scenes glimpses that illustrate just a few of the ways Camerata is helping San Francisco Opera grow on the international stage and within our Greater Bay Area community both today and tomorrow. GREAT SINGERS Joan & David Traitel, Founders For me, one of the key defining aspects of what makes a worldclass opera company is the regular appearance of today’s greatest singers, from celebrated household names to rising stars. As Joan Traitel, founder of the Great Singers Fund, puts it, “Without great singers, opera is not all it could be.” And I couldn’t agree more! This past fall, American soprano Renée Fleming returned to San Francisco for the first time since 2001. When I first approached her about coming back to our stage, she told me the opera that most interested her was Lucrezia Borgia, a rarely performed gem by Bel Canto master Gaetano Donizetti. Even with Renée’s superstar David and Joan Traitel with Susan Graham status, presenting a rather obscure work like Lucrezia can be a risk for any company, much less one with a 3,000+-seat house. Fortunately, she drew in crowds and house capacity was at over 95%, which is comparable to recent performances of “AA” operas like Turandot and Carmen. Camerata funding ensured that we were able to take that risk. More importantly, the Company was able to accomplish it at the highest artistic level with a beautiful production, an amazing ensemble cast, and a strong conductor. We did this because I believe that a production cannot be about one star performer – there must be a balance. As Gregory Henkel, Director of Artistic Administration, so eloquently puts it, “Like a tapestry, the beauty of each unique and individual thread combines to create its magnificence: you cannot pull one thread without marring the masterpiece.” Some patrons may have come to Lucrezia Borgia just to hear Renée, but once in the House they fell in love with rising stars Michael Fabiano, Elizabeth DeShong, and Vitalij Kowaljow. The same could be said for this fall’s “stagione” run of Tosca with our dueling divas, Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette – both of whom are joined by powerhouse casts including Roberto Frontali and Mark Delavan as their villainous Scarpias. SAN FRANCISCO OPERA War Memorial Opera House 301 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 David Gockley General Director Nicola Luisotti Music Director

Camerata Newsletter Summer 2012

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