San Francisco Opera’s 2013–14 Season-opening weekend continues with the 40th San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park free concert in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow on Sunday, September 8 at 1:30 p.m. This year’s concert celebrates San Francisco Opera’s 91st Season and features an array of acclaimed artists starring in the Company’s Fall Season performing favorite arias by Puccini, Rossini, Verdi and more accompanied by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti and Robert Mollicone.
Featured artists include Ildar Abdrazakov and Ramón Vargas, stars of the season-opening production of Boito’s Mefistofele; Susannah Biller, Elizabeth Futral and Wayne Tigges from the cast of Tobias Picker’s world premiere opera, Dolores Claiborne, based on the Stephen King novel; Heidi Stober, appearing in Verdi’s Falstaff; and current Adler Fellows Marina Harris, Joo Won Kang, Laura Krumm, Renée Rapier, Philippe Sly and Chuanyue Wang. David Gockley, General Director of San Francisco Opera, will serve as master of ceremonies.
This concert is dedicated to the memory of Lotfi Mansouri, San Francisco Opera’s distinguished fourth general director (1988-2001) and one of the world’s leading opera stage directors, who passed away on August 30 after a brief illness with pancreatic cancer. Mansouri, an exuberant and passionate advocate of opera as “the greatest art form ever created,” was age 84. One of his greatest pleasures was to serve as Master of Ceremonies for San Francisco Opera’s annual Opera in the Park concert. In particular, a beaming Mansouri enjoyed his role of bringing a tray of champagne to the on-stage singing stars for the rousing concert finale, the popular Verdi drinking song from La Traviata, “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici.”
Established by former San Francisco Opera General Director Kurt Herbert Adler in 1971, the annual Opera in the Park concert is a beloved Bay Area tradition drawing thousands of music lovers each year, many of whom enjoy the occasion with elaborate picnics on the lawn. Crowds of up to 20,000 have come to the park every September to see the stars of the current San Francisco Opera season perform al fresco. Opera legends from Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo to Beverly Sills and Marilyn Horne have performed at Opera in the Park.
This event is free; no tickets are required. Bring a picnic and enjoy this outdoor concert; food and beverages will also be available for sale at the event. For further information on San Francisco Chronicle Presents Opera in the Park or San Francisco Opera’s 2013–14 Season, call (415) 864-3330 or visit SFOpera.com.