“In a close-knit community, secret loves lead to fateful consequences,” the San Francisco Opera reminds us with its 2018-19 season opener. Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci return to San Francisco Opera for the first time in 15 years.
Perfect for first-time opera-goers, the two operas have a long history together as the Cav/Pag double bill, dating back to 1893. Recommended for fans of The Godfather, Fatal Attraction, American Horror Story and The Sopranos, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège production is new to San Francisco Opera and “seething with the raw passion, jealousy and heartbreak that can only result from a scandalous, small-town affair.”
Joining a cast of highly acclaimed international singers is baritone Dimitri Platanias who is making his U.S. and San Francisco Opera debut as Alfio in Cavalleria and Tonio in Pagliacci. Platanias hails from Kalamata, Greece where his musical roots began. His parents, amateur choristers, planted those seeds.
“Their friends were all choristers,” he said, “everybody sang outside in tavernas with guitars and everything. So I grew up in a very musical, not classical, but all kinds of Greek popular music.”
A musician since very young, he studied, performed and later taught classical guitar as well as English literature. “My dad was a huge lover of music and he sent me and my brother when we were very young to the conservatory in Kalamata,” he said. “We were very lucky to have in Kalamata a very famous Municipal Conservatory.”
The Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata opened in 1985 when Platanias was just 15 years old. “Singing came much later when I was 30,” he shared. He started taking some classical lessons at the conservatory with a friend that was part of the faculty. “She said, ‘you have a voice you have to go for it.’ I said, ‘come on.’ She said, ‘just try it, you’ve got time.’”
Three years later, he was on stage performing and roles came quickly. “I was a huge fan of opera,” he added. So when it became part of his life, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. “That’s what makes me happy.”
Platanias has received acclaim in the title role of Rigoletto at Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the title role of Simon Boccanegra at the Bavarian State Opera; Iago in Otello at Opera Frankfurt; the title role of Nabucco at Bavarian State Opera, Teatro del Maggio Musical Fiorentino, and Covent Garden; and Scarpia in Tosca at Oper Frankfurt. In 2015, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Tonio, and both Alfio and Tonio at Covent Garden. Now he adds San Francisco Opera to his list of impressive credits.
“I can’t wait, to be honest,” he said with a smile.
Performances of Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci are scheduled for September 7, 12, 16, 19, 22, 28, and 30. For individual and season tickets, and more information, call 415-864-3330 or visit sfopera.com.
ENTERTAINMENT NOTES. Tickets are on sale now for the legendary Carol Burnett who brings “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection” to the historical Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m.
Burnett will take questions from the audience, show video clips from her shows in a format that harkens back to the legendary openings of The Carol Burnett Show where her studio audience had an unfiltered opportunity to engage her with questions and receive spontaneous answers. “I love the spontaneity of these evenings,” says Carol. “I never know what anyone is going to ask, or say, or do, so it keeps me on my toes!” Tickets are available at the Paramount Theatre Box Office by calling 1-800-745-3000 or at ticketmaster.com …Just announced: Rock and blues guitar virtuoso Harvey Mandel and friends will appear at the Firehouse Arts
Center, 4444 Railroad Avenue in Pleasanton on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. His band includes members of Santana, Billy Johnson (drums) and Jose Najera (percussion), Diz Dismore (bass) of the Meters, Eloy Najera (keys) and special guest and Bay Area bandleader extraordinaire Dick Bright (violin). Tickets can be purchased online at FirehouseArts.org or at the door.
WEEKEND SCENE: Brian McKnight Friday -Sunday, Avery*Sunshine Monday-Tuesday at Yoshi’s Jack London Square Oakland, yoshis.com … Jazz On Sunday features Junius Courtney Big Band Sunday at the Doyle/Hollis Park Emeryville … Jim Cordiss Friday, Saturday at Zio Fraedo’s Pleasant Hill, www.ziofraedos.com … Noa Levy Friday, Ratatet’s Experimental Residency Sunday at California Jazz Conservatory Berkeley, cjc.edu … John Santos “Puerto Rico Del Alma”, Chuy Varela Friday, Skip The Needle Saturday, A Circle Has No Beginning by Sameer Gupta Sunday, The Musers, Michael Patch with Clinton Day, Max and the Mighty Demon Wranglers Monday at Freight & Salvage Berkeley, www.thefreight.org ... Marina Crouse and Garth Webber Friday, Native Elements, DJ Harry Duncan Saturday, The Lowell Trio Sunday at Armando's Martinez, armandosmartinez.com.
COMEDY SCENE: India Indi Day Comedy Bash Friday-Sunday at Tommy T’s Comedy Club Pleasanton, tommyts.com … Sherri Sheperd Friday- Saturday, K-von Sunday at Cobb’s Comedy Club San Francisco, www.cobbscomedy.com … Dwayne Kennedy through Saturday, SF Comedy Showcase Sunday at the Punch Line San Francisco, www.punchlinecomedyclub.com.
TAHOE SPOTLIGHT: Harvey’s Lake Tahoe the Summer Concert Series features Steve Miller Band and
Peter Frampton Friday and Charlie Puth Voicenotes Saturday (www.caesars.com/harveys-tahoe/shows, 1-775-588-6611) … Sold Gold continues in the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Tahoe (www.harrahstahoe.com, 1-800-427-7247) … Kivi Rogers with Ken Garr through Sunday, Raj Sharma follows Aug. 22-26 at The Improv, located at Harveys Lake Tahoe (improvtahoe.com, 1-855-234-7469) … BB King’s Blues Band Saturday in the Blu Nightclub at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa (www.montbleuresort.com, 1-800-BE-LUCKY) … Wormhole Tahoe Friday, Petty Theft (Tom Petty Tribute) Saturday at the Crystal Bay Club Casino (www.crystalbaycasino.com, 1-775-833-6333).
FEATURED PHOTO (TOP): DIMITRI PLATANIAS AS TONIO, ALEKSANDRS ANTONENKO AS CANIO (C) ROH. PHOTOGRAPHER CATHERINE ASHMORE