San Francisco Opera Releases ‘Streaming the First Century’

By Francisco Salazar

The San Francisco Opera is celebrating its centennial with the release of the first installment of “Streaming the First Century.”

The new online hub at will be free for selected historic recordings from the Company’s past, along with rare artist interviews, archival photographs, program articles, oral history excerpts, and newly captured conversations among past and present San Francisco Opera creative luminaries.

There will be releases once per month from September through December, including two complete historic recordings, audio excerpts from four additional performances, and introductions to each preserved audio experience by contemporary scholars, artists, and company members who add historical context and insights.

The first session will include Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” and will offer an in-depth exploration of the works of Czech and Russian composers through landmark San Francisco Opera performances.

Among the complete operatic recordings will be “Jenůfa”  by Leoš Janáček. This 1980 broadcast stars Swedish soprano Elisabeth Söderström in the title role and Bosnian-born diva Sena Jurinac as the stepmother. The recordings also stars Allen Cathcart (Laca) and William Lewis (Števa).

The second complete recording is “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk” by Dmitri Shostakovich. San Francisco-born maestro Calvin Simmons leads the work starring German soprano Anja Silja as Katerina Ismailova. She is joined by William Lewis (Sergei), Chester Ludgin (Boris), and Jacque Trussel (Zinovy).

Excerpted performances include Ezio Pinza and the San Francisco Opera Chorus in “Boris Godunov” (1945); Marie Collier and Gregory Dempsey in “The Makropulos Case” (1966); Peter Gougaloff and Galina Vishnevskaya in “Pikovaya Dama” (1975).

There will also be archival interviews by Sopranos Sena Jurinac and Elisabeth Söderström discussing performing Janáček’s “Jenůfa” in this broadcast intermission feature from the Company’s 1980 production.

Also in the session is an interview with conductor Calvin Simmons and stage director Gerald Freedman discussing “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” with Richard Rodzinski whose father, conductor Artur Rodzinski, was instrumental in bringing the opera to the U.S.