By Cicero A. Estrella
The San Francisco Opera is slowly but surely getting back to normal. Its Spring 2021 programming includes a return to live performances with a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and The Adlers: Live at the Drive-in offered in a drive-in setting at San Rafael’s Marin Center in April and May.
“There is an incredible reawakening of the arts ahead of us,” General Director Matthew Shilvock said. “As the pandemic recedes, we need that visceral energy of live performance—artists and audiences connected in magical moments of emotive expression—more than ever. At San Francisco Opera we are committed to getting back to it safely this spring.”
“Our spring offerings are both a return and a springboard,” he continued. “We are excited to share a group of experiences that we hope will connect our community with the emotional power of the human voice.”
The Barber of Seville will be performed 11 times from April 23 to May 15. American director Matthew Ozawa has adapted the opera into a 90-minute backstage comedy without an intermission, retaining the work’s humor and vocal fireworks. It will be performed in an English translation by Marcie Stapp. Roderick Cox is the conductor.
Baritone Lucas Meacham stars as the barber Figaro, and will be joined by mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack as Rosina (replaced Laura Krumm for the final three performances), Alek Shrader as the Count, bass Philip Skinner as Dr. Bartolo, bass Kenneth Kellogg as Don Basilio, and Catherine Cook as Berta.
The Adlers will feature SF Opera’s 11 resident artists live in three open-air concerts on April 29, and May 6 and 13. The Adler Fellows will be in the spotlight in a 70-minute program of operatic favorites by such composers as Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Verdi and Lehar.
The fellows are sopranos Anne-Marie MacIntosh, Elisa Sunshine and Esther Tonea; mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh; tenors Zhengyi Bai, Christopher Colmenero and Christopher Oglesby; baritone Timothy Murray; bass Stefen Egerstrom; and pianists Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad and Andrew King.
Performances will be held rain or shine. Audiences have a choice of purchasing tickets at two locations—the Fairgrounds, which has a view of the set and live performers, or the Lagoon, where the performance will be simulcast live to a drive-in movie screen.
For each performance of The Barber of Seville and The Adlers, SF Opera will offer a limited number of free spots for the Lagoon simulcast to organizations employing essential workers such as healthcare workers, teachers and grocery workers.
The drive-in events mark SF Opera’s first live performances since the beginning of the global pandemic in early 2020, which led to the company’s cancellation of its summer and fall seasons. In April 2020, SF Opera began offering free opera streams, virtual events, interactive lectures and other online programming.
For additional information, including ticket sales, visit sfopera.com/onstage, or call 415.864.3330.
Photos: San Francisco Opera