La Bohème - Act II photo by Terrence McCarthy
La Bohème - Act II photo by Terrence McCarthy

San Francisco Opera has released four new titles as part of its acclaimed Grand Opera Cinema Series. These HD screenings of the Company’s recent productions of Puccini’s La Bohème and Tosca as well as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and The Elixir of Love feature a wide array of international opera stars including Angela Gheorghiu, Adrianne Pieczonka, Natalie Dessay and Ramón Vargas.

Bay Area venues screening San Francisco Opera’s Grand Opera Cinema Series include the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex in Alameda; the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael; the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis; and the Sundance Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini’s exceedingly popular opera, tells the moving tale of starving artists falling in and out of love in 19th-century Paris. A seamless mix of romantic passion, poignant tragedy and high spirited fun, this opera boasts an outstanding cast featuring superstar Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu as the ill-fated Mimì and Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as her lover, the poet Rodolfo. Nicola Luisotti, San Francisco Opera’s music director and master of the Italian repertoire, conducts this beautiful San Francisco Opera production that is directed by Harry Silverstein.

A fierce melodrama set to magnificent music, Puccini’s Tosca brings to life a tempestuous world of cruelty and deception through the tragic story of Floria Tosca, a beautiful yet volatile singer; Mario Cavaradossi, the idealistic painter that she loves; and Baron Scarpia, an amoral police chief who uses his power to satisfy his lecherous appetite. Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka appears in the title role opposite tenor Carlo Ventre as Cavaradossi and baritone Lado Ataneli as Baron Scarpia. Italian conductor Marco Armiliato leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus and Jose Maria Condemi directs this San Francisco Opera production.

Lucia di Lammermoor, Gaetano Donizetti’s famed saga of a woman driven mad by her arranged marriage, features celebrated French coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay, whose vocal agility and dramatic charisma have established her as one of the role’s foremost interpreters. Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti is Lucia’s beloved Edgardo and baritone Gabriele Viviani is her brother, Lord Enrico Ashton. The striking Teatro del Maggio Musicale production, conceived by Graham Vick, is led by French conductor Jean-Yves Ossonce.

A flirtatious tale of innocent love and boundless devotion, Gaetano Donizetti’s boisterous comedy The Elixir of Love tells the story of the shy, love-struck Nemorino as he naïvely relies on a “love potion” to help him win the heart of the beautiful Adina. Stunning Albanian soprano Inva Mula and internationally renowned Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas headline a brilliant cast. Director James Robinson ingeniously updates this classic Italian tale to the delightful innocence of a Napa Valley county fair circa 1915, and Bruno Campanella conducts.

Recorded live in high definition at San Francisco’s historic War Memorial Opera House, all screenings include English subtitles and a brief intermission featuring behind the scenes interviews. All performances feature the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and San Francisco Opera Chorus (Ian Robertson, Chorus Director).

For more information about San Francisco Opera’s Grand Opera Cinema Series, including additional theaters currently screening the series, and further information and video clips of La Bohème, Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor and The Elixir of Love, visit www. All tickets for Grand Opera Cinema Series screenings are sold at individual venues.


Venues and screening schedules will be continually updated.

Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, 2317 Central Avenue, Alameda , CA
Screen Dates: Tosca – November 7 and 9 (11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.)
The Elixir of Love – November 14 and 16 (11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.)
Lucia di Lammermoor – November 21 and 23 (11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.)

Magic Lantern Theater, 1st Avenue at 2nd Street, Ketchum, ID
Screen Dates: Madama Butterfly – November 10 and 11

Village Center Cinemas, 1085 SE Bishop Blvd., Pullman WA
Screen Dates: Madama Butterfly – November 14 and 16
Don Giovanni – December 5 and 7
La Rondine – January 23 and 25
Samson and Delilah – February 20 and 22

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA
Screen Dates: La Bohème – November 18 (7 p.m.) and 20 (10 a.m.); December 16 (7 p.m.) and 18 (10 a.m.)
Tosca – November 25 (7 p.m.) and 27 (10 a.m.); December 23 (7 p.m.) and 30 (7 p.m.)
Lucia di Lammermoor – December 2 (7 p.m.) and 4 (10 a.m.); January 6 (7 p.m.) and 8 (10 a.m.)
The Elixir of Love – December 9 (7 p.m.) and 11 (10 a.m.); January 13 (7 p.m.) and 15 (10 a.m.)

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA
Screen Dates: Tosca – November 21
The Elixir of Love – January 16
Lucia di Lammermoor – April 10

Torrance Cultural Arts Center Foundation, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, CA
Screen Dates: Samson and Delilah – November 21
Madama Butterfly – January 22
La Rondine – February 13

Mountain Avenue Theater at Ashland High School, 201 South Mountain Avenue, Ashland, OR
Screen Dates: La Bohème – December 5
Lucia di Lammermoor – January 30
The Elixir of Love – February 13

Cascade Theatre, 1733 Market St, Redding, CA
Screen Dates: La Bohème – December 5
Lucia di Lammermoor – January 30
The Elixir of Love – February 13

Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis CA
Screen Dates: La Rondine – February 11

Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA
Screen Dates: Series #2 coming soon in January 2011

Sundance Kabuki Theater, 1881 Post Street, San Francisco, CA
Screen Dates: La Bohème – January 11 (7:30 p.m.) and 15 (10 a.m.)
Tosca – February 19 (10 a.m.) and 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Lucia di Lammermoor – March 22 (7:30 p.m.) and 26
The Elixir of Love – May 10 (7:30 p.m.) and 14 (10 a.m.)

Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA
Screen Dates: Don Giovanni – January 25

El Campanil Theatre, 602 West Second Street, Antioch CA
Screen dates: Tosca – February 20
La Bohème – March 13
Lucia di Lammermoor – April 17
The Elixir of Love – May 7

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.