San Francisco Opera’s General Director Matthew Shilvock presented British artist David Hockney with the Company’s highest honor, the San Francisco Opera Medal.
The honor was bestowed on Hockney following the Dec. 3 matinee performance of Puccini’s “Turandot,” which starred Brian Jagde, Nina Stemme, and Leah Crocetto. The director was given the medal in an onstage ceremony amongst the brilliant red Act three setting of Hockney’s production, which premiered at San Francisco Opera in 1993.
During the ceremony, Shilvock noted, “Since 1975, David Hockney has been a powerful force in advancing opera as an art form. His productions are bold expressions of archetypal emotions, deeply rooted in a strong sense of spatial resonance and scale. His productions take us—audiences and artists alike—on journeys that allow us to see our world more clearly. He finds rhythm in color and design, and creates portals that we enter with thrilling excitement.”
Hockney made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1982 with Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress,” a production that was created for the 1975 Glyndebourne Festival and revived at San Francisco Opera in 1988 and 2000. He would go on to design Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte,” which premiered at Glyndebourne in 1978 and would be seen on the American for the first time at San Francisco Opera in 1987 and reprised in 1991, 2000 and 2003.
He also directed a production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” which premiered in Los Angeles in 1981 and later staged at the War Memorial Opera House in 2006. The current “Turandot” premiered in Chicago in 1992 and was staged by San Francisco Opera in 1993, 1998, 2002, 2011 and this season.
Hockney’s work has been seen at such theater as Glyndebourne Festival, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Los Angeles Opera.