August 29, 2017
San Francisco Opera, with only five staged productions in the fall, is adding concerts to the period, including one by the SFO Chorus (Nov. 30), an appearance by the New Zealand trio Sol3 Mio (Dec. 1), and bringing the annual “The Future Is Now” event by the Adler Fellows into the War Memorial (Dec. 8) for the first time in many years.
Among other events are the Sept. 8 Opera Ball, and Insight Panels for Elektra (Sept. 7) and Manon (Nov. 1) in the Wilsey Center’s Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater, and for Girls of the Golden West (Nov. 9) in Herbst Theater. All panel events start at 6:30 p.m.
Sol3 Mio is an unusual ensemble presenting opera and pop, featuring three young New Zealanders of Samoan ancestry who are conquering audiences first in the Pacific and now worldwide. Two brothers — Pene and Amitai Pati — both tenors, are current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows (along with Pene’s wife, Amina Edris), and the third, baritone Moses Mackay, is their cousin.
All three singers were selected at the beginning of their careers to attend the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice, but traveling from New Zealand and paying for living costs away from home meant a combined cost of some $100,000. Sol3Mio was born as the vehicle to raise funds, and it more than did the job.
Later Pene received another rare opportunity to train further by being invited to the Merola program and his success here resulted in being named an Adler Fellow. Creating quite a stir, he turned down the fellowship, in part to continue with Sol3Mio — the equivalent of a college athlete signing a pro contract instead of continuing in school.
Later still, as Amitai started his Merola Program, Pene returned to San Francisco and the Adler Fellowship. Eventually the two brothers and Amina Edris joined as Adlers, in the program’s first such large family affair.
This will be the Sol3 Trio's continental U.S. concert debut, accompanied by the SFO Orchestra, conducted by Robert Mollicone, himself a former Adler Fellow. The program, says the announcement, will be “holiday favorites, operatic works, crossover hits, and songs from the South Pacific,” including Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” (originally written for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” and operatic selections by Bernstein, Bizet, and Puccini.
SFO General Director Matthew Shilvock describes the event as “an intriguing journey through a vast sweep of choral treasures,” consisting of works by Bach, di Lasso, Elgar, Ešenvalds, Massenet, O’Regan, Poulenc, Praetorius, Puccini, Purcell, Verdi, and Wagner.
Under the baton of former San Francisco Symphony Associate Conductor James Gaffigan, the Opera Orchestra will accompany the Adler Fellows’ “The Future is Now” concert. It will feature the singers performing arias, duets, and opera scenes in their final concert of the year. Previously held in Herbst Theater and other venues, the event will return to the 3,200-seat War Memorial, probably with the balcony closed, but still at least twice the size of more recent showcases.