The San Francisco Opera Chorus was established in 1927 by General Director Gaetano Merola who also served as the ensemble’s director through 1943. As part of General Director Kurt Adler’s development of the company, the Chorus became full-time in 1981, rehearsing a minimum of thirty-one weeks, from mid-April through early December. The current chorus consists of two groups: the forty-eight-member Regular Chorus with twenty-six men and twenty-two women, and the Extra Chorus, which can expand the ensemble to 100 singers or more in larger operas. The San Francisco Opera Chorus was the subject of the 1992 Oscar-winning feature-length documentary In the Shadow of the Stars, and has been featured in numerous video presentations, beginning in 1979 with an international live telecast of La Gioconda, and continuing with recent DVD releases of Mefistofele, Porgy and Bess, and Show Boat. The San Francisco Opera Chorus is represented by its union, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). Recipient of the 2012 San Francisco Opera Medal, Ian Robertson has been chorus director and conductor with San Francisco Opera since 1987, having prepared more than 300 productions for the company. He was awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize in 2003 for his artistic contribution to the preparation of the company’s North American premiere of Saint François d’Assise. Mr. Robertson has also conducted ten main stage productions with the company. Other North American opera credits in clude productions with Sarasota Opera, Edmonton Opera, and Philadelphia’s Curtis Opera Theatre. Before joining San Francisco Opera, Mr. Robertson was head of music and chorus director of Scottish Opera. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus.

(November 2017)

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