San Francisco Opera Returns to KQED Public Television with La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tosca, and The Elixir of Love

 -- Operas will air Thursdays on KQED starting September 1 --

-- Hosted by actress Joan Chen --

San Francisco, August 17, 2011—This September, KQED and San Francisco Opera will once again bring the glory of grand opera to the living rooms of the Bay Area. Recorded in high definition at the War Memorial Opera House, KQED is thrilled to showcase the imaginative stagings and all-star casts from San Francisco Opera's recent productions of Puccini's La Bohème and Tosca and Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and The Elixir of Love. Hosted by actress, director, screenwriter, producer, andSan Francisco resident Joan Chen, the operas will premiere Thursdays, September 1 through 22, at 8pm on KQED 9.

San Francisco Opera’s Grand Opera Cinema Series on KQED coincides with the opening of the Company’s 89th season on September 9, 2011. Each opera is presented in its original languages with English subtitles and feature the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

La Bohème 
Thursday, September 1 at 8pm

La Bohème, Puccini's moving tale of starving artists falling in and out of love in 19th-century Paris, is a seamless mix of romantic passion, poignant tragedy, and some of opera's best-known arias. Superstar soprano Angela Gheorghiu and Polish tenor Piotr Beczala star with Nicola Luisotti, San Francisco Opera's music director and master of the Italian repertoire, conducting this beautiful San Francisco Opera production directed by Harry Silverstein. 

Lucia di Lammermoor
Thursday, September 8 at 8pm

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Lucia di Lammermoor, 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 Enrico. The striking Teatro del Maggio Musicale production, conceived by Graham Vick, is led by French conductor Jean-Yves Ossonce.

Tosca
Thursday, September 15 at 8pm

A great dramatist as well as composer of some of opera's greatest melodies, Puccini brings to life a tempestuous world of cruelty and deception through the tragic story of Tosca, a beautiful yet volatile singer; Mario, the idealistic painter that she loves; and Scarpia, an amoral police chief who uses his power to satisfy his lecherous appetite. Adrianne Pieczonka appears as Tosca opposite tenor Carlo Ventre as Cavaradossi and baritone Lado Ataneli as Scarpia. Italian conductor Marco Armiliato leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus and Jose Maria Condemi directs this San Francisco Opera production.

The Elixir of Love
Thursday, September 22 at 8pm

Donizetti's comically boisterous tale of innocent love and boundless devotion, The Elixir of Love is the flirtatious tale of the shy, love-struck Nemorino and his reliance on a "love potion" to help him win the heart of the beautiful Adina. Director James Robinson ingeniously updates this classic Italian tale to the delightful innocence of aNapaValley county fair circa 1915. Bruno Campanella conducts, and Ramón Vargas and Inva Mula headline a brilliant cast.

About KQED:

KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area), and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5FM San Francisco and 89.3FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin.  KQED's digital television channels include 9HD, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids, and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast.  KQED Public Radio, home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local newscasts daily.  KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, as well as offers several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents, and the general public through workshops, community screenings, and multimedia resources.

About San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera, one of the world’s leading producers of opera since its inception in 1923, has long been a pioneer in introducing world and North American premieres, as well as presenting major artists in celebrated role debuts. David Gockley, widely considered one of the major innovators in American opera, became the Company’s sixth general director in 2006. The many electronic media initiatives launched under Gockley’s direction include the Company’s Grand Opera Cinema Series and its free live simulcasts, one of the first innovations of Gockley’s tenure and part of the Company’s mission to bring opera into the community.  Since 2006, San Francisco Opera has presented eight free live simulcasts at venues throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco’s AT&T Park, for more than 150,000 people of all ages. San Francisco Opera’s 2011-12 repertory season includes Heart of a Soldier, a world premiere commissioned on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks; the Company premieres of Lucrezia Borgia, Xerxes and Nixon in China; new productions of Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and Attila; and revivals of Turandot and Carmen.  For more information, visit sfopera.com.

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Media Contact: Meredith Gandy

415.553.2116 l mgandy@kqed.org