San Francisco opera names new music director
By Tamara Barak, Bay City News Service
January 9, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San
Francisco opera officials today announced that Nicola Luisotti,
an Italian conductor, has been appointed as music director. Luisotti,
45, will officially begin at the start of the company's 2009-10
season. His contract runs for five years.
"This is a momentous day in the history of the San Francisco
opera," said David Gockley, the opera's general director,
at a morning news conference at the War Memorial Opera House.
Luisotti succeeds Donald Runnicles, who will leave his position
of music director and principal conductor at the close of the
Luisotti will conduct a minimum of four productions each season
and spend each summer and fall working with the company.
Luisotti, who made his San Francisco Opera debut with Verdi's
La Forza del Destino in November of 2005, was a natural choice
as music director, Gockley said.
"Nicola is the right age, he is at the exact right stage
of a career arc," Gockley said. "I think the Italian
heritage is something that's going to mean a lot to the company,
as our core repertory continues to be Italian."
A native of Tuscany, Luisotti said he has fallen "in love
at first sight" with the city of San Francisco and the opera
company. He and his wife will make San Francisco their primary
home, he said.
"To become music director in San Francisco, I think, was
my dream in life," he said.
Luisotti's love of music began as a child taking lessons on the
church organ. By 11, he had become director of the church choir.
He later trained as a pianist and earned degrees in composition,
trumpet and voice. He later became a rehearsal pianist for La
Scala before becoming chorus master for La Fenice in Venice.
His debut in Stuttgart earned critical acclaim, and he went on
to debut in major opera houses throughout the world, San Francisco
Opera officials said.
Luisotti said he lives and breathes music and never thinks of
it as work. He said he will bring that passion to his new position.
"Music is the greatest, greatest language for this sometimes
sad world," he said.
Before stepping into the role as music director, Luisotti will
serve as music director designate, working with the San Francisco
Opera's administration, board of directors, orchestra and chorus.
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