|Premiere:||19. January 2017|
Director: Francesca Zambello • Music: Jerome Kern • Actors: Heidi Stober, Bill Irwin, Michael Todd Simpson, Patricia Racette
Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s quintessentially American masterpiece Show Boat comes to full life in a new recording from San Francisco Opera. Directed by Francesca Zambello and featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast spanning the worlds of opera and Broadway, this production—recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House in June 2014— boasts unforgettable performances, sumptuous costumes and sets and exhilarating dance numbers, continuing San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley’s long history with this watershed of American musical theater.
A beloved story of life on the Mississippi in the 1880s, Show Boat is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of America’s bitter legacy of racism. The classic score is filled with unforgettable songs such as “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.” San Francisco Opera’s Show Boat remains faithful to the 1927 original with deluxe casting and lavish musical resources. As the romantic leads, soprano Heidi Stober as Magnolia Hawks and baritone Michael Todd Simpson as Gaylord Ravenal “convey an easy blend of show-tune naturalism and operatically luxurious vocal production” (Los Angeles Times). Soprano Patricia Racette, in her debut performance as singer Julie La Verne, “balances her rich and powerful soprano chops with a practical experience in cabaret” (Huffington Post). As Cap’n Andy Hawks, the owner of the Cotton Blossom, Broadway veteran Bill Irwin “brought his trademark loosey-goosey physical shtick to the role… and was ably joined by Harriet Harris as his domineering wife, Parthy Ann” (San Francisco Chronicle). Bass Morris Robinson as Joe “brings a penetratingly deep operatic bass to ‘Ol’ Man River.’ [Soprano] Angela Renée Simpson is a sensational scene-stealing Queenie, his sassy wife” (Los Angeles Times).