San Francisco Opera announced they’ve added five performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, a compelling tale of conflicting loyalties and forbidden passions, at the War Memorial Opera House from November 23 through December 5. Verdi’s Egyptian masterpiece, which opened the Company’s 88th Season in September, will feature a new principal cast including Michele Capalbo, Guang Yang, Carlo Ventre, Quinn Kelsey and Eric Owens.
British fashion icon Zandra Rhodes’ colorful and fanciful production, originally directed by Jo Davies, is directed by Jose Maria Condemi and Assistant Music Director Giuseppe Finzi is on the podium conducting the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Speaking about the production, General Director David Gockley explains that “Zandra’s work is pure theater, just like she is. It’s bigger than life and full of fantasy. It’s perfect for making a big impact in a venue the size of ours.”
Soprano Michele Capalbo makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Aida, a role she has previously performed in Nice, Toulon, Mexico City, Houston, Santiago and Toulouse. Other recent credits include Leonora in Il Trovatore in Madrid, Winnipeg and Santiago; the title role of Tosca in Calgary, Seattle, Québec and New York; and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth) in Dublin, Montreal and Dayton.
Chinese mezzo-soprano Guang Yang appears with San Francisco Opera for the first time as Princess Amneris. Yang has previously sung the role of Amneris at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Bregenz Festival Opera. Other recent credits include Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana at Lyric Opera Chicago and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Lyric Opera Chicago and Dallas Opera; and Eboli in Don Carlos at Canadian Opera Company and Welsh National Opera.
Italian tenor Carlo Ventre appears in one of his signature roles—Radames, the handsome young warrior at the heart of a tumultuous love triangle. Ventre has performed Radames in Rome, Verona, Leipzig, Salerno, Berlin and San Diego, and he will reprise the role this spring at Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey returns to San Francisco Opera as Amonasro, a role he recently debuted in Bregenz. Kelsey made his Company debut in 2008 as Marcello in La Bohème and has since appeared as Count di Luna in Il Trovatore and as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, a role he has also performed at Hawaii Opera Theater and New York City Opera.
Following his unanimously-praised performances as Alberich in Das Rheingold at the Metropolitan Opera this fall, American bass-baritone Eric Owens returns to San Francisco Opera in Aida as the high priest Ramfis. In addition to his celebrated performances in the title role of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 2009, Owens’ previous appearances at San Francisco Opera include Lodovico in Otello, Don Fernando in Fidelio and the King of Scotland in Ariodante.
Bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, who appeared for the first time at San Francisco Opera earlier this season in the same role, is Amneris’ father, the King of Egypt. Van Horn has also performed with the Company this season as the Bailiff in Massenet’s Werther and the Bonze in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Adler Fellow Leah Crocetto reprises her role as the Priestess and Adler Fellow Brian Jagde is the Messenger.
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
San Francisco Opera
November 23 (8 p.m.), 26 (8 p.m.), 29 (8 p.m.);
December 2 (7:30 p.m.), 5 (2 p.m.), 2010
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni
Approximate running time: 3 hours with one intermission
Sung in Italian with English supertitles