In a gloomy economic projection, the SF Opera seemed skeptical about the impact of the economic recovery package being discussed right now in Congress. SF Opera announced yesterday that the New Great Depression would not end for another two years -- at least, that's what we take from the unveiling of the 2009-2010 season: it's an all-workhorse selection of operas by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, and for good measure, Riccardo Straussecco and Wolfganino Mozartini. The silver lining can be found in the all star casts assembled to sing those chestnuts. The production has been canned as planned, and their were rumors of a possible apparition of Janacek's Makropoulos Case, which faded away as fast as a 401(k).

So why 2011? That's when things start picking up, with the next new commission by the SF opera, by Christopher Theofanidis to be performed on 9/11/11, and feel free to guess the subject. Hint: the mood will stay gloomy beyond the recession. Other new commissions include a work by Mark Adamo, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the summer of 2012-2013 and the first opera ever by Jennifer Higdon, rumored to be about Hurricane Katrina, in the fall of 2013. Berkeley composer and modern music icon John Adams will see the SF Opera premiere of his Nixon in China in 2012.

Photo credit: the new music director Nicola Luisotti, by SF Opera/Terrence McCarthy

Peter Grimes