Merola Opera Program Showcase and Reception Included in registration.

If I Were You (Jake Heggie/Gene Scheer)

Composer Jake Heggie and Merola Opera Program Executive Director Jean Kellogg invite you to an exclusive, private showcase of excerpts from If I Were You, Heggie's new opera to a libretto by Gene Scheer. Based on the Faustian novel Si j’etais vous by Julien Green, the opera is the Merola Program's first-ever commissioned work and will receive its premiere on August 1 at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre.

This free event and reception, exclusively for Opera Conference 2019 attendees, will take place in the Sol Joseph Recital Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Transportation is not provided.


First-Timer Welcome NEW! Included in registration. First time at the conference? Please join OPERA America staff to learn how to get the most out of your conference experience.

Composer/Librettist Pitch Session NEW! Included in registration. Producers will meet composers and librettists at the start of conference to hear about projects build new relationships.

Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase Included in registration. See production presentations from the most promising young director-designer teams and meet the artists who created them. The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase is a biennial competition that identifies emerging director-designer teams, each of which has developed a production proposal from a diverse list of selected works. Come see the artists who will advance opera's multimedia richness in the years ahead. The 2019 Director-Designer Showcase finalist teams and their projects are:

The Little Prince (Rachel Portman) Noam Shapiro, director; Santiago Orjuela-Laverde, scenic design; Tamrin Goldberg, choreography; Haydee Zelideth, costume design; Reza Behjat, lighting design; Yana Birÿkova, projection design. This team reimagines The Little Prince as a modern migration story. As a group of migrants waits at the U.S. border, a father calms the children by recasting their dangerous journey as the intergalactic travels of the Little Prince, transforming their interactions with smugglers, officers and aid workers into encounters with strange grownups and resplendent beasts in a world without borders.

María de Buenos Aires (Astor Piazzolla) Victoria Crutchfield, director; Bryce Cutler, scenic design; Nina Bova, costume design; Mary Ellen Stebbins, lighting design; Kevan Loney, video design. María — the central character in a tale of seduction, prostitution and sexual abuse, as told by the goblin-storyteller El Duende — is placed in a transparent box, representing the prison of the male gaze. Upon María’s death, the box breaks open and mirror panels split, revealing mirrors beyond mirrors. María begins to discover herself. But El Duende drags her back into the box and forces her to give birth to a daughter, who will become another María. 

The Rape of Lucretia (Benjamin Britten) Marcus Shields, director; Ryan Howell, scenic and costume design; Oliver Tidwell Littleton, lighting design. This production is a contemporary reading of The Rape of Lucretia, with theatrical construction that engages with the formality and brutality of the subject matter. The space is a blank room with four benches, a collection of objects (both symbolic and practical) and two flower beds. Though functionally abstract, the room, through its antiseptic architectural and textural qualities, references an art gallery, a scientific laboratory and a shrine of memory. The theatrical language is dual: at times rigorously illustrating the actions of the text and at other times bending toward an image-based, symbolic interpretation of the events.

Tosca (Giacomo Puccini) Shadi Ghaheri, director; John Bondi-Ernoehazy, scenic design; Shadi Ghaheri, choreography; Mika Eubanks, costume design; Samuel Chan, lighting design; Yaara Bar, projection design. This production of Tosca focuses on political prisoners who live under political oppression in their home countries — where religion is weaponized to arrest, execute and destroy people who believe in love, freedom and justice. It’s the story of a group of Iranian actors who are risking their lives to perform Tosca, as they know their government will not allow such stories to be told and heard.

Network Dinners Additional purchase. through registration portal ($55, cash bar) Enjoy a night out while dining with colleagues in your professional specialty in an informal setting.

Under 35 Mixer Additional purchase through registration portal ($45). Opera professionals under the age of 35 are invited to socialize over drinks and hors d’oeuvres and build the professional contacts that will sustain their careers. 


Sponsor Thank-You Breakfast NEW! Included in registration. All conference attendees — including general directors, trustees, company staff and artists — are invited to join conference sponsors for a continental breakfast and the chance to visit the exhibits of companies and consultants who provide invaluable services to the field. 

Host Company Reception Included in registration (bring a guest for $15) Meet new colleagues and strengthen old friendships during the most popular conference event, hosted by San Francisco Opera in Zellerbach Hall. 



San Francisco Opera is delighted to invite attendees of Opera Conference 2019 to enjoy one or all of San Francisco Opera’s summer season productions, including CarmenRusalka and Orlando, running June 14–19, 2019. With this unique offer code (OA2019), discounted tickets start at $45 and offer savings of up to 60% off regular ticket prices. We look forward to seeing you at the War Memorial Opera House!

You can access the special offer website at SFOpera OA2019.

Note: OPERA America’s Patron Circle members may arrange to purchase their performance tickets by contacting Dan Cooperman, director of development, at

CARMEN Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Immediately following the Host Company Reception
  • Transportation between the Park Central Hotel and the War Memorial Opera House will be provided for this performance.

ORLANDO Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m.

RUSALKA Sunday, June 16 at 2:00 p.m.

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