Steve Jobs opera coming to SF Opera as part of 2023-24 season

The Bay Area premieres of Mason Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” Rhiannon Giddens’ “Omar,” and Kaija Saariaho’s “Innocence” are among the highlights of San Francisco Opera’s 2023-24 season, announced Jan. 24 by company general director Matthew Shilvock and music director Eun Sun Kim.

Kicking off this fall, the mainstage season — the company’s 101st — runs Sept. 8 to June 28, 2024, in the War Memorial Opera House, beginning with fall productions of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” (Sept. 12-Oct. 1); Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” (Sept. 22-Oct. 7);  Wagner’s “Lohengrin” (Oct. 15-Nov. 1); Giddens’ “Omar” (Nov. 5-21); and Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love” (Nov. 19-Dec. 9).

In 2024, the season will continue with productions of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (May 30-June 30, 2024), Saariaho’s “Innocence” (June 1-21), and conclude with Handel’s “Partenope” (June 15-28, 2024).

Season-opening weekend events begin Sept. 8 with an “Opera Ball” in the War Memorial, conducted by Kim and featuring soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and tenor Roberto Alagna, followed by the company’s annual “Opera in the Park” concert on Sept. 10 in Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco Opera music director Eun Sun Kim will conduction the 2023-24 season-opening production of “Il Trovator.” (San Francisco Opera) 

“Il Trovatore” opens the mainstage season; Kim conducts Verdi’s drama, with a cast featuring tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz as Manrico, soprano Angel Blue as Leonora, baritone George Petean as Count di Luna, and mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili as Azucena (Sept. 12-Oct. 1). Kim, the company announced, will lead annual productions of works by Verdi and Wagner in seasons to come.

The three Bay Area premieres are of special significance: Bates’ “Steve Jobs,” with a libretto by Mark Campbell, premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 2017; a San Francisco Opera co-commission, the opera makes its much-anticipated debut in the War Memorial September 22-Oct. 7 with baritone John Moore in the title role and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as Laurene Powell Jobs.


“Omar,” which premiered in 2022 at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, follows; the first opera by Grammy Award-winner Giddens (best known as founder and singer for the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and composer Michael Abels runs Nov. 5-21 with a score melding folk, bluegrass, spirituals, and West African kora. Finnish composer Saariaho’s 2021 “Innocence,” a searing one-act drama with libretto by Sofi Oksanen and dramaturgy by Aleksi Barrière, premiered at Aix-en-Provence in 2021; it makes its American premiere June 1-21, 2024, with Clément Mao-Takacs conducting an international cast featuring Ruxandra Donose, Claire de Sévigné, Rod Gilfry, and Kristin Sigmundsson.

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