One of the last times Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were in San Francisco, they were remarried at San Francisco’s City Hall in 1940.
Now they’re coming back—played by Daniela Mack and Alfredo Daza—thanks to the San Francisco Opera’s final performance of its centennial season, El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego (The Last Dream of Frida and Diego).
The production by Bay Area composer Gabriela Lena Frank is her first-ever opera and will also be the company’s first-ever Spanish-language opera. Frank has composed new music for everyone from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw. It’s the first work by a female composer to be performed by SF Opera at the War Memorial Opera House.
It’s a fitting note for the company to end its centennial season on. The opera highlights the work of a local composer (Frank is from Berkeley and still lives in Northern California), celebrates locally beloved celebrity artists (San Francisco is home to three Rivera murals) and conductor Roberto Kalb graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
With mezzo-soprano Mack performing as Kahlo, the opera promises to be a musical delight—reviewer David Fox has referred to the singer’s voice as “molten gold” on the well-known opera blog Parterre.
The performance will likely be a visual delight, too, with sets by Jorge Ballina and costumes by Eloise Kazan. Set in 1957 on El Día de los Muertos on the third anniversary of Kahlo’s death, the opera imagines Rivera’s desire to have one last visit with his wife and famous artist.
The production had its world premiere with the San Diego opera in October 2022 and will run at the War Memorial Opera House from June 13-30.
If they haven’t purchased an SF Opera ticket in the past three years, residents with a Bay Area ZIP code (beginning 940-954) have the opportunity to score up to two tickets to a performance for only $10, thanks to the Dolby Family’s “Opera for the Bay” program. The tickets will be available beginning at noon on May 13 on a first-come, first-served basis on the opera’s website.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org