When Naples' Teatro di San Carlo comes to San Francisco

The inside of San Carlo di Napoli


As significant milestone of the celebration of “2013 Year of the Italian Culture in the US” in San Francisco, the festivities to bring the San Carlo Theater of Naples to the Bay Area will start early this month, reaching their peak in June.
Starting next Tuesday, the Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Mauro Battocchi, in collaboration with the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Paolo Barlera, will present a Media Preview and opening of the exhibition "Treasures from Naples' Teatro di San Carlo," on view May 7- May 19.
 Stage Costumes will be auctioned at "Treasures from Naples" at the Istituto (dancer Svetlana Zakharova)
For the special occasion, a precious selection of Opera stage costumes from Naples' Teatro di San Carlo will be auctioned, together with original lithographs by Mimmo Paladino and treasures from the Historical Collection of the Neapolitan Theatre.
The opening day will feature the participation (via live uplink from his office in Naples) of the Hon. Luigi De Magistris, Mayor of the City of Naples.
The Preview of “Treasures from the San Carlo” will be just a preliminary showing of the much awaited “Viva L'Italia Gala Dinner”, next June 15, at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco (For more information or to purchase tickets please visit: www.sfyic.org).
In the year of Giuseppe Verdi’s Bicentennial Celebrations, “Viva L'Italia” will serve as gala evening to benefit an anticipated once-in-a-lifetime performance of the Verdi Requiem at the War Memorial Opera House on October 25, 2013, uniting the orchestras and choruses of San Francisco Opera and Teatro di San Carlo, under the leadership of Maestro Nicola Luisotti. Guest of honor will be Hon. Luigi de Magistris, Mayor of the City of Napoli and President of Teatro di San Carlo.
 Nicola Luisotti conducts "Messa da Requiem" by Giuseppe Verdi at Teatro San Carlo di Napoli
Kinship between San Carlo Theater, and San Francisco Opera dates back in time.   The Teatro, Italy’s largest opera house as well as the oldest opera house in Europe, was built in Naples in 1737, originally commissioned by the Bourbon King Charles VII. Almost 200 hundred years after, Neapolitan Gaetano Merola, while touring the U.S. with San Carlo Opera Company (not the one mentioned above), decided to stay in the Bay Area to launch a permanent opera company, San Francisco Opera.
Teatro San Carlo holds great importance in operatic history and was host to numerous operatic legends like Gioachino Rossini, house composer and artistic director from 1815 to 1822 during which time he composed ten operas, Gaetano Donizetti, who maintained the post from 1822 to 1838, and composed 16 operas for the theater, Giuseppe Verdi, who debuted two operas for the Teatro San Carlo (Alzira and Luisa Miller), among others.
San Francisco Opera is the second largest opera company in North America. Company founder Gaetano Merola was born in Naples, Italy in 1881, the son of a Neapolitan court violinist. He studied piano and conducting at the Naples conservatory and immigrated to the United States in 1899 to serve as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera.
Since his first annual visits to San Francisco in 1906, he was involved in the opera scene of the city. He started planning a full-time opera organization, and in 1923 he founded the local SF Opera, being the first general director together with Kurt Herbert Adler.
The connection with Italy continues in the recent times. Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti, also music director of Teatro di San Carlo, was appointed SFO's third music director in 2007, beginning with the 2009-2010 season, for an initial contract of 5 years. Moreover, in January 2009, Italian Giuseppe Finzi was named as the company’s new assistant music director, later named as SFO's resident conductor in 2011.
In such an emblematic year for the Italian Culture in the US, honoring of one of the oldest cultural relations between Italy and San Francisco, will be a key moment in the celebration of the all Italian community.
Save the Date:
"Treasures from Naples' Teatro di San Carlo"
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:00 a.m.
Italian Cultural Institute
814 Montgomery Street San Francisco
“Viva L'Italia”
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

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