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Two productions in two days from San Francisco Opera

There’s a double serving of delights for Bay Area opera lovers in the next few days - two grand productions from San Francisco Opera in the space of two days. A radio broadcast of Bellini’s Norma on Sunday is followed on Monday by a cinema screening of Puccini’s Tosca.

Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne in Bellini's 'Norma'
Photo: Ron Scherl

On the first Sunday of every month, Classical KDFC broadcasts a full-length production by San Francisco Opera - each performance having been recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House.

The program on Sunday is particularly special - it’s a recording from the SF Opera archives of the 1982 production of Norma, starring Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. Dame Joan sings this most demanding of roles, that of the high priestess, Norma, who betrays her people by falling in love with Pollione, the proconsul of the occupying Roman army. Marilyn Horne sings the role of Adalgisa, the young novice in Norma's temple, who also falls for Pollione - with inevitably tragic consequences.

Sung in Italian, this performance is conducted by Richard Bonynge and directed by Lotfi Mansouri. Ezio Flagello sings Oroveso, Pollione is sung by Ermanno Mauro, Howard Hensel is Flavio and Leslie Richards sings Clotilde.

San Francisco Opera’s 1982 production of Bellini’s Norma can be heard on Classical KDFC at 8.00 pm on Sunday, March 2. Visit the KDFC website for tuning frequencies, or to stream online. KDFC broadcasts are available for streaming on demand for four weeks following the original air date.

Monday sees the first of three HD cinema screenings of productions by San Francisco Opera, presented in partnership with Sundance Cinemas. The first is Tosca, followed by George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in April, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni in May.

The screening of these three favorites marks their return to the Sundance Kabuki Theater, as part of the Grand Opera Cinema Series, the focus of which is to distribute San Francisco Opera presentations to arts centers, independent film theaters, universities and other venues in the Western region of the country, as well as around the world. There are 16 titles in all in this series, and locations at which screenings have taken place include Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada and California, as well as in 14 European countries and in Mexico.

In this performance of Tosca, Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, in her Company debut, sings the title role. Baritone Lado Ataneli is Baron Scarpia, and Italian tenor Carlo Ventre is Cavadarossi. Sung in Italian, Tosca was recorded at the War Memorial Opera House in 2009, with Marco Armiliato conducting the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and direction by Jose Maria Condemi.

Tosca will be shown at the Sundance Kabuki Theater in San Francisco on Monday, March 3, at 7.15 pm. For tickets call (415) 346-3243 or visit Sundance Cinemas.

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