The company's 90th season will open on September 7, with a gala performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, featuring Zeljko Lucic in the title role, Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Francesco Demuro as the Duke of Mantua. Music Director Nicola Luisotti will lead the company in this benefit event, co-produced with the San Francisco Opera Guild in support of the San Francisco Opera and Opera Guild education programs. It will precede the opening night performance of the opera at the historic War Memorial Opera House.
The season will feature two world premieres. Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene will star Sasha Cooke as Mary Magdalene, Maria Kanyova as Miriam (the mother of Yeshua), William Burden as the apostle Peter, and Nathan Gunn as Yeshua (Jesus). Kevin Newbury will direct, with Michael Christie as conductor. Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison's The Secret Garden, a co-production with Cal Performances, will be directed by Jose Maria Condemi with projections designed by painter and visual artist Naomie Kremer. Another world premiere, Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy's Dolores Claiborne, will be part of the company's 2013-2014 season, opening on September 15, 2013, with Dolora Zajick in the title role.
Among the other works in the season are Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues), starring Joyce DiDonato and Nicole Cabell; Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick, directed by Leonard Foglia and featuring Ben Heppner, Morgan Smith, Stephen Costello, and Jonathan Lemalu, with Jay Hunter Morris performing in the final two performances; Richard Wagner's Lohengrin, starring Brandon Jovanovich in the title role; Giacomo Puccini's Tosca with two renowned casts headlined by Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette ; Jacques Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann), with Matthew Polenzani and Natalie Dessay; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, featuring Ellie Dehn and Heidi Stober.