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S.F. Opera takes Tosca to the ballpark; summer season highlights Porgy & Bess, Anna Netrebko in La Traviata
By Bruce Bellingham

The San Francisco Opera has concocted an ambitious and lively summer season. It includes a live simulcast from the Opera House of the perennial favorite, Puccini’s Tosca, that will be screened on the Jumbotron at AT&T Park on June 5.

Yes, hot dogs, beer, and garlic fries will be available for the show. I won’t give away the plot of Tosca, but I can tell you that things get very tense after the seventh inning stretch.
Admission is free.

Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka makes her company debut in the role of Floria Tosca, the tragic heroine of the story. Carlo Ventre will sing the role of Cavardossi; Scarpia is played by Lado Atanell.

There will be eight performances throughout June, but only one simulcast.

David Gockley, the opera’s general director, has had an intimate relationship with the Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess that goes back to the 1970s. Gockley won a Tony Award for staging it on Broadway, paving the way for the famed American classic to be performed on opera stages across the country. (We’ll have an interview with David Gockley on this topic in the June issue of Northside San Francisco.)

The role of Porgy will be sung by Eric Owens, and Bess is played by Laquita Mitchell. Porgy & Bess will be performed from June 9–27.

Then there’s La Traviata, Verdi’s great old warhorse. It will be performed at the War Memorial Opera House June 13–July 5. There’s much excitement about the return of the Russian superstar, Anna Netrebko, who’s back on the stage after having a baby. She’ll be sharing the role of Violetta this summer with Elizabeth Futral and Ailyn Pérez.

San Francisco Opera Summer Season: Tosca, AT&T Park, 801 3rd St. (at King); June 5, free. La Traviata, Porgy and Bess, and La Traviata, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. (at Grove); tickets $15–$290 at 415-864-3330,; standing room tickets $10, cash only, available at 10 a.m. the day of performance. All performances feature a free, informative Opera Talk 55 minutes prior to curtain for patrons with tickets to the corresponding performance.

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