From The Desk of Paolo Pontoniere, West Coast Contributor to Italy’s L’espresso and repubblica.it
Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco
Bob Rogers, 858.349.3041
Judy Laws, 858.349.3821
EXHIBIT PREVIEW FOR “TREASURES FROM NAPLES’ TEATRO DI SAN CARLO”
Tuesday May 7, 2013
What: Media Preview of Exhibit of Treasures of Naples’Teatro di San Carlo Opera, an exhibit to support the October “Concert of the Two Bays” performance of Verdi’s Requiem by the orchestras and choruses of the San Francisco Opera and the Teatro di San Carlo Opera jointly, in honor of Verdi’s 200th birthday and the Year of Italian Culture in America. Preview includes a light Italian buffet.
When: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 10 a.m.
Where: Italian Cultural Institute, 814 Montgomery Street San Francisco
Who: Mauro Battocchi, Consul-General of Italy in San Francisco, Paolo Barlera, Director, Italian Cultural Institute, David Gockley, Director of the San Francisco Opera, Rosanna Purchia, Superintendent of Teatro di San Carlo (via Skype), Mayor of Naples the Hon. Luigi De Magistris (via video from Naples),
A delighted Italian Consul General, Mauro Battocchi, and Italian Cultural Institute Director, Paolo Barlera, are proud to present an exceptional exhibit of the Treasures of Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo, curated by Amelia Antonucci and paolo Pontoniere of Campania Felix ,to raise funds to bring the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro di San Carlo from Naples to San Francisco to join with the San Francisco Opera orchestra and chorus in a historic “Concert of the Two Bays” performance of Verdi’s Requiem in October 2013, in honor of Verdi’s 200th birthday. States Consul General Battocchi, “It is very fitting to hold the Concert of the Two Bays this year in San Francisco, as we continue to celebrate 2013 Year of Italian Culture in conjunction with Teatro di San Carlo.”
Rising Phoenix-like from devastating aerial bombing during WWII, Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo is one of the oldest opera houses in the world (since 1737), and the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in Europe, opening decades before both the Milanese La Scala and Venetian La Fenice theaters.
Unbeknownst to many, the Teatro di San Carlo and the San Francisco Opera share an important common connection. The founding Director of the San Francisco Opera, Gaetano Merola, was born in Naples, trained at the Naples Conservatory of Music, and was the son of a violinist at the Court of the King of Naples. In 1918 or 1919, Gaetano Merola was playing poker in North Beach with nine of his Italian friends, including Giuseppe Brucia, a successful businessman and philanthropist, when one of them asked: If San Franciscans liked Opera so much, why didn’t the City have its own opera company? They all agreed it was a great idea, and pledged to back and finance Merola in establishing a San Francisco Opera company. Giuseppe Brucia gave the seed capital with further financing from A.P. Giannini and the Bank of Italy (now Bank of America). On June 3, 1922, Gaetano Merola opened the new San Francisco Opera Company in the Stanford Football Stadium with three operas–Pagliacci, Carmen, and Faust. By 1932, the San Francisco Opera Company, now world-renowned, had moved into its permanent home, the War Memorial Opera House, where it is today one of the most important opera centers on the planet.
Now the ties binding the two institutions are set to be strengthened with the much anticipated once-in-a-lifetime “Concert of the Two Bays” performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, celebrating Verdi’s Bicentennial and the Year of Italian Culture in America, to be held on October 25, 2013 at the War Memorial Opera House, featuring the choruses and orchestras of the Teatro di San Carlo and San Francisco Operas on the same stage, under the direction of Maestro Nicola Luisotti, the current Music Director of both companies.
This landmark concert will be preceded and supported by Treasures from Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo, an exhibit featuring stage costumes, jewels, tapestries, and other Treasures from the Teatro di San Carlo Historical Collection, which date back to the end of the 1700’s, as well as set design lithographs by renowned Transavanguardia artist Mimmo Paladino, appearing at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco. This is a unique one-time exhibit, as the artifacts on display are to be auctioned on June 15th at the Fairmont Hotel during a Gala benefit and auction to raise funds to bring the Teatro di San Carlo orchestra and chorus to San Francisco.
The Media Preview and Opening of this exciting exhibit, cvurated by Amelia Antonucci and Paolo Pontoniere of Campania Felix at the Italian Cultural Institute, will be May 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM, with a personal appearance and remarks by David Gockley, Director of the San Francisco Opera, and video appearance and remarks by Rosanna Purchia, Superintendent of Teatro di San Carlo, Hon. Luigi De Magistris, Mayor of Naples, and Maurizio Maddaloni, President of the Naples Chamber of Commerce. The Media Preview will be followed by a light Italian buffet.