San Francisco Opera presents Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac in seven performances running October 24–November 12 at the War Memorial Opera House. Legendary tenor Plácido Domingo will sing the title role in his first performances at San Francisco Opera since 2000. Domingo, who made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1969, has appeared in more than a dozen roles with the Company over the past 40 years. Ticket availability for Cyrano de Bergerac is extremely limited and tickets may be purchased as a part of a Fall 2010 subscription package only.
This production marks the San Francisco Opera premiere of Alfano’s opera, which is based on the famed play of the same name written by French poet Edmond Rostand. Roxane, the beautiful object of Cyrano’s affection, is sung by Spanish soprano Ainhoa Arteta, and Thiago Arancam makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Christian de Neuveville. Domingo is reunited with French conductor Patrick Fournillier and director Petrika Ionesco who also led this production when it premiered at Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet in May 2009.
Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo returns to San Francisco Opera as Cyrano de Bergerac, a swordsman-poet with an enormous heart and even larger nose. After making his San Francisco Opera debut as Rodolfo in 1969’s La Bohème, Domingo returned to the Company as Don José (Carmen), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Manrico (Il Trovatore), Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana), Canio (Pagliacci), Dick Johnson (La Fanciulla del West), Samson (Samson et Dalila), Vasco da Gama (L’Africane), John the Baptist (Hérodiade), as well as the title roles of Otello, Andrea Chénier and Les Contes d’Hoffmann. San Francisco Opera has also presented Plácido Domingo in concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra at the Civic Auditorium in April 1990 and in October 1996. His most recent San Francisco Opera performance was a fully staged concert of opera scenes from Fedora, Samson et Dalila and Otello at the War Memorial Opera House in June 2000.
Plácido Domingo’s extensive repertoire includes 124 different roles, the most of any tenor in history. In addition to nearly all significant roles in the Italian and French literature, his repertoire includes Wagner’s Parsifal, Lohengrin and Die Walküre, and Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame in addition to recorded performances of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhäuser and Der Fliegende Holländer; Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten; Weber’s Oberon; and Beethoven’s Fidelio. Deeply committed to new works, Domingo has created the roles of Lucero in Antón García Abril’s Divinas Palabras; Rasputin in Deborah Drattell’s Nicholas and Alexandra; Emperor Qin in Tan Dun’s The First Emperor; and most recently Pablo Neruda in Daniel Catán’s Il Postino. Domingo gave the United States premiere of Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005, a performance of which the New York Times raved, “[Domingo] projects Cyrano’s cockiness and gravitas through his fervent singing and charismatic presence.”
Spanish soprano Ainhoa Arteta returns to San Francisco Opera after her 1999 debut as Musetta in La Bohème. Arteta sings the role of the beautiful Roxane, the object of Cyrano’s affection, for the first time in this production. A frequent collaborator with Plácido Domingo, she has performed with the tenor in Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Paris, Munich, Rio de Janeiro, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Other recent performances include Musetta at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and the Arena di Verona; Liù in Turandot in Seville and Barcelona; and Marguerite in Faust in Munich and Malaga. Brazilian tenor Thiago Arancam makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Christian de Neuveville. Recent and upcoming engagements include Cavaradossi at Deutsche Oper Berlin and B. F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Washington National Opera.
American baritone Stephen Powell sings his role debut as the count De Guiche. Powell has previously appeared at San Francisco Opera as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Giorgio Germont in La Traviata. Brian Mulligan, who also sings this season with the Company as Albert in Werther and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, sings Ragueneau for the first time. Last seen as Sonora in the Company’s 2010 production of La Fanciulla del West, Timothy Mix returns as Le Bret. Lester Lynch, who sang the role of Crown in 2009’s Porgy and Bess, is Carbon.
Director and designer (sets and lighting) Petrika Ionesco comes to San Francisco Opera for the first time for this Théâtre du Châtelet production. His interpretation of the beloved story, set in 17th century France, was described by Playbill as a thrilling mix of “swordplay and cannon shots at the drop of a broad-brimmed hat.” Other opera credits include Ariadne auf Naxos in Frankfurt, Boris Godunov in Paris, and Pique Dame and Parsifal in Geneva. French Maestro Patrick Fournillier makes his San Francisco Opera debut leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this production. Fournillier is currently leading a production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera and will follow this engagement with Carmen in Stuttgart and Dresden.
Sung in French with English supertitles, the seven performances of Cyrano de Bergerac are scheduled for October 24 (2 p.m.), October 27 (7:30 p.m.), October 30 (8 p.m.), November 2 (8 p.m.), November 6 (2 p.m.), November 9 (7:30 p.m.) and November 12 (8 p.m.), 2010.