E lucevan le stelle? Perhaps not this time.

San Francisco Opera is offering a 50% discount on tickets for half of the run of their upcoming revival of Tosca. The ad appeared in today's San Francisco Examiner. Since the half-off dates include two Friday performances, one has to wonder at the underlying strategy. I also wonder what's going on when Tosca is the laggard seller of the summer season which includes well-sold runs of Porgy and Bess and La Traviata (that is, at least the dates with Anna Netrebko as Violetta). Btw- here's an illuminating Netrebko article I found courtesy of La Cieca.

Has San Francisco Opera's audience finally developed the nose to sniff out when it's being milked? Are enough people, like me, not at all enthusiastic to plunk down cash to see this stodgy Mansouri production remounted for the fourth time in twelve years? Conducted by the uncomprehendingly over-employed Marco Armiliato? Even the curiosity factor of hearing Adrianne Pieczonka's local debut in the title role doesn't seem to be selling the seats, though that's pretty much the sole reason to see it this time around.

Don't get me wrong- if this was a production of Tosca to get excited about I would be the first one getting myself in a lather about it, but it's not. It's just tried-and-true programming designed to sell seats- like much of next year's season. If it's not working, perhaps the strategy needs to be reconsidered.

Does anyone remember the good ol' days when the summer season held at least one opera to get excited about? Something by Janacek or Berlioz, perhaps a Luisa Miller? Is Porgy and Bess really going to be the high point of this summer? Mario! Mario!

The ad says "Please Hurry. Offer expires midnight May 15th, 2009." That's two weeks from today. Yes, hurry, otherwise you'll have to wait until it comes back before you know it.