Venue Details

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War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102
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Quotes & Highlights

“This was a Dutchman with a difference. Boldly staged and brilliantly performed, the new production…features two outstanding San Francisco Opera debuts in the principal roles [Nina Stemme as Senta and Juha Uusitalo as the Dutchman].” -Contra Costa Times


The Spark: Inspired by a Heinrich Heine poem and the idea of a heroine obsessed with saving the soul of an outcast, this 1842 opera signaled Wagner’s fascination with combining epic myths and dramatic music.

The Story: Doomed by a curse, the Dutchman comes ashore every seven years in search of redemption, which can only be achieved by finding true love. The idealist Senta desires to give her love and save the Dutchman’s soul. However, through a twist of fate, the Dutchman misinterprets her fixation and sets sail, leaving Senta to a tragic end.

The Stage: A phantom ship caught in a torrential swell of potent desires frames the power of one woman’s love to defy destiny. The Dallas Morning News remarked, “Raimund Bauer’s stark set, dramatically lit by Duane Schuler, strongly enhanced the drama, as did Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s simple but effective direction.”

The Score: Flautist turned bass-baritone sensation Juha Uusitalo will be performing with Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, who The New York Times said “sang beautifully, from contraltolike depths to ringing high C’s.”


The Dutchman Juha Uusitalo*

Senta Nina Stemme*

Erik Christopher Ventris

Daland Walter Fink*


Conductor Donald Runnicles /

Sara Jobin (12/1)

Director Nikolaus Lehnhoff

Set Designer Raimund Bauer

Costume Designer Andrea Schmidt-Futterer

Lighting Designer Duane Schuler

Choreographer Denni Sayers

Chorus Director Ian Robertson

Sound Designer Roger Gans

  • San Francisco Opera debut

Cast, programs and schedules are subject to change

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Performed in one act, no late seating

Sung in German 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.