San Francisco Opera Awards Medals to Three Company Vets

By David Salazar

San Francisco Opera has awarded Medals to Catherine Cook, Philip Skinner, and Dale Travis.

The recipients received the distinction in recognition of artistic excellence throughout three decades with the company following the Oct. 30 performance of “Dialogues of the Carmelites.”

Since her debut in 1991, Cook has appeared in 42 roles across 56 productions (a total of 374 performances) with the company. Debuting in 1985, Skinner has appeared in 50 roles, 61 productions, and 403 performances across 37 years. Finally, Travis, following his 1988 debut has 263 performances with the company, including 33 roles and 43 productions; he is the company’s record holder for the most performances as the Sacristan in “Tosca” with 43.

Cook is currently performing the role of Mother Jeanne in the Poulenc opera with Travis taking on the role of Marquis de la Force.

“As we celebrate this Centennial Season, one of the things that strikes me most poignantly is how many people in this Company have given decades of their lives in service to this stage,” said San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock during the ceremony. “I am joined here today by three such artists, all of whom have been performing principal roles on this stage for over thirty years: Catherine Cook, Philip Skinner and Dale Travis. Each of them began their journeys as members of our prestigious Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowship training programs, and each of them exemplifies a devotion to craft, a spirit of collegial music making and an upholding of the highest artistic standards.”