Welcome to the Yale Club of San Francisco - FESTIVAL OPERA presents "Savitri" and "River of Light"

   New user, registration is FREE Sign In  

FESTIVAL OPERA presents "Savitri" and "River of Light"

A Legendary Saga of India, and a West Coast Premiere! Festival Opera journeys to the richly-nuanced culture of India for two noteworthy chamber operas: Gustav Holst’s "Savitri" and Jack Perla (Yale alum) and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s "River of Ligh

Three Performances Only: November 14 at 2pm and 8pm November 15 at 4pm

Event details:

Gustav Holst is widely recognized as the composer of "The Planets", however most are not aware of his fascination with the land and culture of India. "Savitri" is a chamber opera in one act, Holst’s Opus 25, with the libretto by Holst himself. The story is based on the episode of Savitri and Satyavan from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic of ancient India.

Bay Area composer and pianist Jack Perla is active in opera, jazz, chamber and symphonic music. "River of Light", written with librettist and New York Times bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, received its premiere with Houston Grand Opera in March 2014. The story: Having moved from India, Meera loves her new husband, her high-powered job, and the Houston lifestyle — until the birth of her daughter makes her long to recreate authentic Diwali traditions at home. The tale unfolds in about 30 minutes with a score that draws extensively on North Indian ragas and an orchestra that mixes Western instruments with sitar and the tabla.

Coloratura soprano Maya Kherani will sing the principal roles — Savitri and Meera — in each of the two operas, underscoring Meera’s roots when we see her again as a modern, assimilated Indian-American woman in the second opera, "River of Light", a role Kherani created at the opera’s World Premiere at Houston Grand Opera. Kherani will be joined by three Festival Opera veterans, bass-baritone Philip Skinner, tenor Jorge Garza, and baritone Daniel Cilli. Skinner, who will portray Death in "Savitri", has been a frequent visitor to the Festival Opera stage since his company debut in 1999 as Raimondo in "Lucia di Lammermoor."

Garza, Satyavan in "Savitri", was first heard with the company in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" in 2008. Cilli returns to Festival Opera as Meera’s American husband, Burton, in "River of Light", after making his debut earlier this season in "Ariadne auf Naxos." In addition, mezzo-soprano Molly Mahoney and tenor Michael Boley make their Festival Opera debuts as Meera’s Houston neighbors.

Musically, the cast will be led by conductor John Kendall Bailey, one of whose lifelong ambitions has been to conduct "Savitri" in performance. His efforts will be supported by rising southern California stage director Tanya Kane-Perry, and by choreographer Antonia Minnecola, both making their company debuts, plus a wordless female chorus.

Joining the Festival Opera Chamber Orchestra for these performances are two Indian musicians playing traditional instruments, Nilan Chaudhuri — son of legendary tabla artist Swapan Chaudhuri — on tabla, and international performing artist Arjun Verma on sitar.

The Yale Club of San Francisco
Yale Photographs courtesy of Michael Marsland/Yale University
© Copyright Yale Club of San Francisco, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Alumni Development Software