Venue Details

257 Star Starred
War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102
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Parking isn't too hard to find nor too expensive if you go to a night show. However matinee take public transit!
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The Star
Soprano Patricia Racette renders an impeccable and effortless performance as the young geisha. Miss Racette was praised for her “dramatically dazzling portrayal” of Cio-Cio-San by the Houston Chronicle. This former Merola artist’s return is not to be missed.

Determined to craft an authentic and vibrant musical landscape, Puccini wove traditional Japanese music into his beloved score. He considered Madama Butterfly to be the most imaginative opera he ever wrote.

Our “thoughtful, historically respectful production” (San Francisco Chronicle) is redolent of Japan in the late 1800s, down to the finest details. The set, attended by shadowy Kabuki-like figures, features elegant sliding shoji screens, which create a smooth, nearly cinematic pace.

While on assignment in Japan, an American naval officer acquires a bride—the geisha Cio-Cio-San, known as Butterfly. She rejects her religion, family and culture for her new husband, Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton, but he soon abandons her and leaves the country. Butterfly waits faithfully for three years for Pinkerton, who returns at last, only to claim the son she bore him, setting Butterfly on a tragic course.

Cio-Cio-San: Patricia Racette
Suzuki: Zheng Cao
B.F. Pinkerton: Franco Farina*
Sharpless: Phillip Joll*

Conductor: Donald Runnicles
Director: Ron Daniels
Designer: Michael Yeargan
Lighting Designer: Stephen Strawbridge
Chorus Director: Ian Robertson
Simulcast Director: Bruce Bryant*

*San Francisco Opera debut
Cast, programs and schedules are subject to change

Approximate running time: 3 hours
Sung in Italian with English Supertitles

About the Ticket Supplier: San Francisco Opera

A leader among international opera companies for nine decades, San Francisco Opera was founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953). Merola and his successor as general director, Kurt Herbert Adler, established a formidable institution heralded for its first-rate productions and roster of international opera stars. The landmark War Memorial Opera House has been the Company’s home since October 15, 1932.

After Adler’s tenure, the Company was led by Terence A. McEwen (1982–1988), Lotfi Mansouri (1988–2001), and Pamela Rosenberg (2001–2005). In January 2006 David Gockley became the Opera’s sixth general director after more than 30 years at the helm of Houston Grand Opera. That May, Gockley took opera to the center of the community with a free outdoor simulcast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Subsequent simulcasts, including nine at AT&T Park, have collectively drawn nearly 200,000 opera fans. Created in 2007 the Koret-Taube Media Suite has enabled the Company to produce simulcasts and other projects including OperaVision (screens providing HD close-up shots for patrons in balcony seats), the Grand Opera Cinema Series in theaters and performing arts centers, an annual series of KQED telecasts and releases of DVDs and Blu-Rays of recent performances. Regular San Francisco Opera radio broadcasts returned to national and international airwaves in 2007.

Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti, one of the opera world’s most exciting conductors, has been music director since the fall of 2009.