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July 6, 2010 > Opera on the Silver Screen

Opera on the Silver Screen

Submitted By Tracy Fleischman

San Francisco Opera partners with The Smith Center at Ohlone College to present HD screenings of the Company's acclaimed productions of Puccini's Madama Butterfly and La Rondine, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Saint-Saens's Samson and Delilah at the Smith Center in Fremont. Recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Opera's cinema presentations will be screened for the first time.

The series begins on July 9 with Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini's classic story of colliding hearts and cultures that features some of opera's most beautiful and captivating music shown outdoors under the stars. Madama Butterfly stars celebrated American soprano Patricia Racette in her signature role as the tragic heroine Cio-Cio-San opposite rising American tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton and mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao as Suzuki. Former San Francisco Opera Music Director Donald Runnicles conducts this stirring San Francisco Opera production created by Ron Daniels and directed by Kathleen Belcher. There will be a pre-show lecture by maestro David Sloss of Fremont Symphony Orchestra and Fremont Opera. Madama Butterfly will be shown again August 28 at The Smith Center's Indoor Theater.

The series continues on July 16 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni. The Don Juan legend crackles to life in the hands of one of the world's most beloved composers. Cannily balancing comedy and tragedy, Leah Hausman directs this riveting San Francisco Opera/Theatre Royal de la Monnaie co-production by David McVicar, conducted by Donald Runnicles. The cast features leading baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, with soprano Elza van den Heever as Donna Anna, soprano Twyla Robinson as Donna Elvira, tenor Charles Castronovo as Don Ottavio and bass Oren 2 Gradus as Leporello. This screening will also feature a pre-show lecture by maestro David Sloss of Fremont Symphony Orchestra and Fremont Opera and be shown under the stars.

Giacomo Puccini's rarely performed gem La Rondine, which played to sold-out houses at the War Memorial Opera House, screens on August 7. Renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiu stars as the worldly Magda de Civry in this staging of Puccini's elegant and poignant opera that tells the story of love between a kept woman from high society and a naive younger man of moderate means. The cast also features tenor Misha Didyk (Ruggero), soprano Anna Christy (Lisette) and tenor Gerard Powers (Prunier). Ion Marin conducts this dazzling Art Deco-inspired production conceived by Nicolas Joel and directed by Stephen Barlow.

Camille Saint-Saens's sweeping biblical epic Samson and Delilah, presented on August 21, stars mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina as the seductive Delilah and tenor Clifton Forbis as the Old Testament hero who loses his heart, his hair and nearly his soul. Sandra Bernhard directs the opulent San Francisco Opera production by Nicolas Joel. Patrick Summers, San Francisco Opera's principal guest conductor and Houston Grand Opera's music director, conducts.

Recorded live in high definition at San Francisco's historic War Memorial Opera House, all shows 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). Please see attached calendar for a complete schedule and screening information.

Tickets for San Francisco Opera's Grand Opera Cinema Series at the Smith Center are priced at $10 and up and are available via and at the Smith Center Box Office. For more information about Smith Center, visit or call (510) 659-6031. A Wine and Cheese Service will be available for an additional charge 30 minutes prior to each San Francisco Opera film viewing.

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 Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Samson and Delilah and La Rondine, visit

San Francisco Opera's Grand Opera Cinema Series
July 9, 16; August 7, 21 and 28
Smith Center at Ohlone College
43600 Mission Boulevard, Fremont
(510) 659-6031
Tickets: $10 and up

San Francisco Opera's Madama Butterfly in HD
Friday, July 9
8:15 p.m.
(7:45 p.m. pre-show lecture by Maestro David Sloss)
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes with one ten-minute intermission
Rating: General Audiences

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