Lotfi Mansouri>, the former general director of the San Francisco Opera passed away yesterday after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was at the helm of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 to 2001, where he oversaw the seismic retrofit of the War Memorial Opera House after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, led tens of performances as a stage director, and as intendant, commissionned many new operas who became staples in the repertory: John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer (1992), Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons (1994), Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk (1996), André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (1998), or Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (2000). Those who were here during his tenure might recall him as the MC for the yearly Opera in the Park concert in Golden Gate Park. Which this year happens Sunday September 8th and will most definitly honor Lotfi. Mansouri received the San Francisco Opera Medal and has his bust in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House along the other previous music directors Adler, Merola and McEwen.
Lotfi created the opera supertitles in 1983 while he was general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, projecting traductions of the lyrics above the stage for the audience to follow the plot sung the language it was written in. His innovation is in pretty much all opera houses nowadays. We chatted with Lotfi in 2010 when he released his autobiography An Operatic Journey. Below is his never-published-before interview.