This season was the last that Rosenberg planned (before her successor at the helm, SF Opera general director David Gockley tweaked it a bit), and the operas on display during the short summer run totally reflected her taste and values: take excellent singers, and put them into sleek, modernized productions, to reveal something new about the opera they display. This got dubbed as Eurotrash by some of her critics, since it seems only European audiences do mind seeing the same play performed the same way every times, and expect to be challenged. The picture to the right gives you what’s going on right now at La Scala in Milan, and yes, that is Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Silvio Berlusconi and George W. Bush dancing in speedos in a see of oil.
So here, we get a sociopathic Don Giovanni reveling sensually in the blood he drew from killing the Commendatore. And we get an absolutely magnificent Iphigénie, a grim, epured, thoroughly contemporary telling of the tale, for the first ever production of this 1779 Gluck opera by the SF Opera.
Pictures of Iphigénie below, courtesy Terrence McCarthy/SF Opera. Picture above of Candide at Théâtre du Châtelet, by Marie-Noëlle Robert