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San Francisco Opera recordings 1932-50

The San Francisco Opera regularly broadcast parts of its performances from 1932 onwards (usually complete acts - rarely complete operas), but only a small number of them have survived. This page lists those extracts known to survive. Many of the stars of the Metropolitan Opera sang in San Francisco in October and November before heading to New York for the winter/spring, and possibly on to London for May/June and Buenos Aires for August. Probably the most famous of all the SFO recordings is act 2 of Die Walkure from 1936, the only recording to capture Lotte Lehmann and Kirsten Flagstad on stage together, but SFO also broadcast Martinelli in La Juive, Muzio in Tosca and Lawrence in Carmen, roles they never broadcast elsewhere. The sound is often rough, taken from air checks, but still worth hearing for the historic importance of these broadcasts.

If you have any questions about any of these recordings please email me

October 15, 1932 Tosca Act 1 Muzio, Borgioli, Gandolfi c.Merola (extensive commentary before and after the act detailing the opening of the new War Memorial Opera House)

October 30, 1936 La Juive Act 2 Rethberg, Martinelli c.Merola

November 8, 1936 Die Walkure Act 3 abridged extracts (18 mins) with Flagstad and Schorr c. Merola broadcast as part of the Magic Key programme

November 13, 1936 Die Walkure Act 2 (last few mins cut off with commentary before and after) Flagstad, Schorr, Lehmann, Melchior c.Reiner

November 15, 1937 Tristan und Isolde Act 2 Flagstad, Melchior, Huehn c.Reiner [on tour in Los Angeles]

October 15, 1938 Andrea Chenier Act 1 excerpt (15 mins) Gigli, Rethberg c.Merola

October 13, 1939 Manon Act 2 with commentary before and after Sayao, Schipa, Bonelli c.Merola

October 20, 1939 Tristan und Isolde (excerpts - last 44 mins of Act 1 with commentary before and after) Flagstad, Melchior, Meisle c.MacArthur

October 24, 1939 Die Walkure Act 2 (last few mins cut off with commentary before and after) Flagstad, Destal, Melchior, Lawrence, c.MacArthur

November 3, 1939 Madama Butterfly Acts 1 and 2 Novtona, Bartlett, Cehanovsky c.Papi (reference recording made for audition purposes - commentary before act 1)

October 12, 1940 Le Nozze di Figaro Act 2 Pinza, Sayao, Rethberg c.Leinsdorf

October 23, 1940 Un Ballo in Maschera Act 2 excerpt (24 mins with commentary before and after) Bjorling, Rethberg, Bonelli c.Papi

October 25, 1940 Carmen Act 2 Lawrence, Jobin, Pinza c.Merola

October 8, 1944 Martha Act 3 excerpt Albanese, Landi c.Riedel (GAO169)

October 13, 1944 Salome Djanel, Jagel, Harshaw c.Sebastien

Merola 26 Sept 1945 Traviata highlights (Albanese Garris)

Merola 21 Oct 1945 Carmen highlights (Stevens, Kullmann)

October 7, 1945 Pagliacci Act 1 Albanese, Jobin, c.Adler

October 12, 1945 Boris Gudonov Acts 3 and 4 excerpts total 60 mins Pinza, Jagel, c.Sebastien

October 18, 1945 Rosenkavalier Act 3 Lehmann, Stevens, Conner c.Sebastien

October 27, 1945 Aida Roman, Jagel, Petrov c.Merola

Sept 8, 1946 Bizet Carmen selections broadcast on the Standard Hour (Djanel, Kullmann c.Merola) sides 1 & 3 only 31 mins

Sept 15, 1946 Puccini La Boheme selections broadcast on the Standard Hour(Albanese, Peerce c.Merola) 2nd in series from Seattle [no.1010] sides 1 & 2 only 30 mins

Sept 22 1946 Boris Godunov selections broadcast on the Standard Hour (Pinza, Glaz c.Merola)

Sept 29, 1946 Verdi Rigoletto selections broadcast on the Standard Hour (Peerce, Conner c.Merola) [no.1012] sides 1 & 3 only 30 mins

Oct 13, 1946 Gounod: Romeo and Juliet selections broadcast on the Standard Hour (Jobin, Sayao c.Merola) [no.1014] sides 1 & 3 only 30 mins

October 20, 1946 Forza del Destino selections broadcast on the Standard Hour Roman, Moscona, c.Merola

Sept 21 1947 Traviata selections broadcast on the Standard Hour Albanese, Peerce sides 1 & 2 only 30 mins

Sept 28 1947 Marriage of Figaro selectionsbroadcast on the Standard Hour (Quartararo, Conner, Pinza, Baccaloni c.Merola) 15 mins only

12 Oct 1947 Puccini La Boheme selections broadcast on the Standard Hour (Sayao, Kullmann c.Merola)

19 Oct 1947 La Gioconda selectionsbroadcast on the Standard Hour(Roman, Thebom, Baum c.Merola) sides 1, 2 and 4 40 mins

25 Oct 1947 Otello selectionsbroadcast on the Standard Hour[Svanholm, Albanese, Warren c.Merola]

Nov 2 1947 Romeo selectionsSayao and Jobin broadcast on the Standard Hourc.Merola 47 mins

17 Oct 1948 Carmen selections broadcast on the Standard HourResnik, Baum, Valentino c.Merola [mp3]

There was a long hiatus in live broadcasts from San Francisco, they did not resume until 1970. The opera house attracted the world's leading artists during the 1970s, often in repertoire they did not perform at the Met. The list below is relatively complete between 1971 and 1982

28 November 1970 Puccini Tosca Dorothy Kirsten, Placido Domingo, Louis Quilico James Levine
17 September 1971 Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Christa Ludwig, Sena Juninac, Helen Donath, Manfred Jungwirth Silvio Varviso
24 September 1971 Puccini Madama Butterfly Teresa Kubiak, Stuart Burrows, Helen Vanni James Levine
1 October 1971 Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Theo Adam, Arlene Saunders, Geraint Evans, James King Otmar Suitner
8 October 1971 Massenet Manon Beverly Sills, Nicolai Gedda, Ragnar Ulfung, Allen Monk Jean Perisson
22 October 1971 Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin Evelyn Lear, Thomas Stewart, Ara Berberian, Stuart Burrows Charles Mackerras
29 October 1971 Verdi Il Trovatore Leontyne Price, Ramond Wolansky, James King, Margarita Lilowa Carlo Felice Cillario
11 November 1971 Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera Luciano Pavarotti, Martina Arroyo, Franco Bordoni, Irene Dalis Charles Mackerras
16 November 1971 Donizetti Maria Starda Joan Sutherland, Huguette Tourangeau, Stuart Burrows, Ara Berberian Richard Bonynge
19 November 1971 Berg Lulu Anja Silja, John Reardon, Josef Hopferweiser, Ragnar Ulfung Christoph von Dohnanyi
26 November 1971 Puccini Il Tabarro Gabriel Bacquier, Leontyne Price Nino Sanzogno
22 September 1972 Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro Geraint Evans, Ingvar Wixell, Judith Blegen, Frederika von Stade Reynald Giovaninetti
6 October 1972 Bellini Norma Joan Sutherland, Huguette Tourangeau, John Alexander, Clifford Grant Richard Bonynge
17 October 1972 Wagner Das Rheingold Thomas Stewart, Richard Holm, Marius Rinzler, Margarita Lilowa Otmar Suitner
20 October 1972 Wagner Die Walküre Jess Thomas, Berit Lindholm, Birgit Nilsson, Thomas Stewart Otmar Suitner
22 October 1972 Wagner Siegfried Jess Thomas, Wolf Appel, Thomas Stewart, Berit Lindholm Otmar Suitner
24 October 1972 Wagner Götterdämmerung Jess Thomas, Birgit Nilsson, Clifford Grant, Thomas Stewart, Marita Napier Otmar Suitner
27 October 1972 Puccini Tosca Hanna Janku, Placido Domingo, Ingvar Wixell, Marius Rinzler Nino Sanzogno
3 November 1972 Meyerbeer L'Africaine Shirley Verrett, Placido Domingo, Simon Estes, William Wildermann Jean Perisson
10 November 1972 Von Einem The Visit of the old Lady Regina Resnik, Richard Cassilly, Raymond Wolansky, Allan Monk Maurice Peress
17 November 1972 Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor Beverly Sills, Luciano Pavarotti, Simon Estes, Raymond Wolansky Jesus Lopez-Cobos
7 September 1973 Donizetti La Favorita Maria Luisa Nave, Luciano Pavarotti, Renato Bruson, Bonaldo Giaotti Carlo Felice Cillario
14 September 1973 J. Strauss Der Fledermaus Joan Sutherland, Ragnar Ulfung, Judith Blegen, Nolan van Way Richard Bonynge
28 September 1973 Verdi Rigoletto Sherrill Milnes, Giacomo Aragall, Isabella Nawe, Clifford Grant Kazimierz Kord
5 October 1973 Mozart Cosi Fan Tutte Evelyn Lear, Frederika von Stade, Ryland Davies, Geraint Evans John Pritchard
12 October 1973 Wagner Tannhäuser Jess Thomas, Marita Napier, Thomas Stewart, Leonie Rysanek Otmar Suitner
19 October 1973 Mussorgsky Boris Godunov Martti Talvela, Ragnar Ulfung, Evelyn Lear, Alberto Remedios Kazimierz Kord
26 October 1973 Strauss Elektra Ingrid Steger, Marita Napier, Irene Dalis, Thomas Stewart, Ragnar Ulfung Otmar Suitner
9 November 1973 Britten Peter Grimes Jess Thomas, Ava June, Geraint Evans, Michael Langdon John Pritchard
16 November 1973 Puccini La Boheme Jose Carreras, Teresa Stratas, Ariel bybee, Bruce Yarnell Jean Perisson
23 November 1973 Verdi Don Carlo Alberto Remedios, Gwyneth Jones, Norman Mittelmann, Martti Talvela Silvio Varviso
13 September 1974 Puccini Manon Lescaut Leontyne Price, Giorgio Merighi, Julian Patrick, Renato Capecchi Reynald Giovaninetti
20 September 1974 Wagner Parsifal Kurt Moll, Jess Thomas, Thomas Stewart, Eva Randova, Peter van Ginkel Otmar Suitner
4 October 1974 Strauss Salome Leonie Rysanek, Hans Hopf, Siegmund Nimsgern Otmar Suitner
11 October 1974 Wagner Tristan und Isolde Birgit Nilsson, Jess Thomas, Yvonne Minton, Jef Vermeersch, Kurt Moll Silvio Varviso
18 October 1974 Puccini Madame Butterfly Renata Scotto, Jose Carreras Kurt Herbert Adler
1 November 1974 Rossini Cenerentola Frederika von Stade, Ugo Benelli, Renato Capecchi, Paolo Montarsolo John Pritchard
8 November 1974 Massenet Esclarmonde Joan Sutherland, Giacomo Aragall Richard Bonynge
15 November 1974 Verdi Otello James King, Pilar Lorengar, Wassili Janulako, Clifford Grant Jesus Lopez-Cobos
22 November 1974 Mozart Don Giovanni Roger Soyer, Anna Tomova-Sintov, Gösta Winberg, Rachel Yakar John Pritchard
26 November 1974 Donizetti Fille du Regiment Beverly Sills, William Harness, Spiro Malas Anton Guadagno
29 November 1974 Verdi Luisa Miller Luciano Pavarotti, Katia Ricciarelli, Louis Quilico Jesus Lopez-Cobos
19 September 1975 Monteverdi L'Incoronazione di Poppea Tatiana Troyanos, Eric Tappy, Maureen Forrester, Peter Meven Raymond Leppard
3 October 1975 Verdi Il Trovatore Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Elena Obratzova, Ingvar Wixell, Richard Bonynge
10 October 1975 Donizetti L'Elisir D'Amore Jose Carreras, Judith Blegen, Ingvar Wixell Carlo Felice Cillario
24 October 1975 Tchaikovsky Pique Dame Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Gougaloff, Regina Resnik, Anita Terzian Mstislav Rostropovich
26 October 1975 Wagner Der Fliegende Holländer Theo Adam, Marita Napier, William Lewis Marius Rinzler Kenneth Schermerhorn
31 October 1975 Bellini Norma Christina Deutekom, Tatiana Troyanos, Robletto Merolla, Clifford Grant Carlo Felice Cillario
7 November 1975 Massenet Werther Giacomo Aragall, Heather Harper Elyakum Shapirra
14 November 1975 Verdi Simon Boccanegra Ingvar Wixell, Martti Talvela, Giorgio Merighi, Kiri te Kanawa Paolo Peloso
21 November 1975 Giordano Andrea Chenier Placido Domingo, Cornell MacNeil, Josella Ligi Emmerson Buckley
25 November 1975 Mozart The Magic Flute William Harness, Pamela South, Allen Titus, Zdzislawa Donat Kurt Herbert Adler
10 September 1976 Massenet Thais Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Claes H Ahnsjö John Pritchard
11 September 1976 Wagner Die Walküre Jon Vickers, Leonie Rysanek, Hans Sotin, Roberta Knie, Clifford Grant Otmar Suitner
24 September 1976 Verdi La Forza del Destino Anna Tomova-Sintov, Barry Morell, Renato Bruson, Paul Plishka Kurt Herbert Adler
8 October 1976 Puccini Tosca Janis Martin, Giacomo Aragall, Ingvar Wixell, James Johnston Paolo Peloso
15 October 1976 Strauss Die Frau Ohne Schatten Leonie Rysanek, Matti Kastu, Ruth Hesse, Walter Berry, Ursula Schröder-Feinen Karl Böhm
22 October 1976 Britten Peter Grimes Jon Vickers, Heather Harper, Geraint Evans, Paul Crook John Pritchard
29 October 1976 Janacek The Macropoulos Case Anja Silja, Geraint Evans, William Lewis Christoph von Dohnanyi

5 November 1976

12 November 1976





Cavalleria Rusticana

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Bruno Prevedi, Raina Kabaivanska, Peter Glossop, Brent Ellis

Tatiana Troyanos, Placido Domingo

Timothy Nolan, John Brecknock, Frederica von Stade

Kenneth Schermerhorn

Silvio Varviso

16 September 1977

Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur Renata Scotto, Giacomo Aragall, Giuseppe Taddei, Elena Obratzova Gianandrea Gavazzeni
23 September 1977 Mozart Idomeneo Christiane Eda-Pierre, Carol Neblett, Maria Ewing, Eric Tappy John Pritchard
30 September 1977 Janacek Katya Kabanova Elizabeth Söderström, Beverly Wolff, William Cochran, Barry McCauley Rafael Kubelik
14 October 1977 Gounod Faust Giacomo Aragall, Nancy Shade, Giorgio Tozzi, Giorio Zancanaro Jean Perisson
21 October 1977 Verdi Aida Maria Parazzini, James McCracken, Fiorenza Cossotto, William Wildermann Gianandrea Gavazzeni
28 October 1977 Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos Leontyne Price, Alan Cathcart, Patricia Welting, Tatiana Troyanos Janos Ferencsik
4 November 1977 Puccini Turandot Montserrat Caballe, Luciano Pavarotti, Leona Mitchell, Giorgio Tozzi Riccardo Chailly
11 November 1977 Bellini I Puritani Beverley Sills, Carol Vaness, Giorgio Zancanaro, Cesar Antonio Surez Paolo Peloso
25 November 1977 Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera Jose Carreras, Katia Ricciarelli, Yuri Mazurok, Kathleen Battle, Pat. Payne Kurt Herbert Adler
15 September 1978 Bellini Norma Shirley Verrett, Alexandrina Milcheva, Nunzio Todisco, Clifford Grant Paolo Peloso
27 September 1978 Britten Billy Budd Dale Duesing, Richard Lewis, Forbes Robinson, Raimund Herincx David Atherton
6 October 1978 Wagner Lohengrin Guy Chauvet, Anne Evans, Raimund Herincx, Janis Martin, Gwynne Howell Kurt Herbert Adler
20 October 1978 Puccini Tosca Montserrat Caballe, Luciano Pavarotti, Giuseppe Taddei Paolo Peloso
3 November 1978 Massenet Werther Jose Carreras, Maria Ewing, Kathleen Battle, Allan Monk Antonio de Almeida
10 November 1978 Puccini La Boheme Giacomo Aragall, Illiana Cotrubas, Brent Ellis, Julia Migenes Silvio Varviso
17 November 1978 Strauss Der Rosekavalier Leonie Rysanek, Hanna Schwarz, Carol Malone, Walter Berry, F Edgerton Janos Ferencsik
6 September 1979 Verdi La Forza del Destino Leontyne Price, Veriano Luchetti, Renato Bruson, Martti Talvela, Giuseppe Taddei Kurt Herbert Adler
21 September 1979 Ponchielli La Gioconda Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Scotto, Norman Mittelmann, Feruccio Furlanetto Bruno Bartoletti
28 September 1979 Strauss Elektra Danica Mastilovic, Leonie Rysanek, Anny Schlemm, Franz Mazura Berislav Klobucar
5 October 1979 Verdi Don Carlo Giacomo Aragall, Wolfgang Brendel, Anna Tomova-Sintov, Evgeny Nesterenko Silvio Varviso
12 October 1979 Wagner Der Fliegende Holländer Simon Estes, Marita Napier, William Lewis, Marius Rinzler Christof Perick
19 October 1979 Dallapiccola Il Prigioniero Janis Martin, Michael Devlin, Werner Götz, Francis Egerton Reynald Giovaninetti
19 October 1979 Poulenc La Voix Humane Magda Olivera Reynald Giovaninetti
19 October 1979 Puccini Gianni Schicchi Giuseppe Taddei, Fedora Barbieri, Yordi Ramiro, Sheri Greenawald Reynald Giovaninetti
26 October 1979 Donizetti Roberto Devereux Montserrat Caballe, Carlo Bini, Juan Pons Gianfranco Masini
2 November 1979 Puccini Fanciulla Del West Carol Neblett, Placido Domingo, Benito Di Bella Giuseppe Patane
6 November 1979 Verdi La Forza del Destino Leontyne Price, Veriano Luchetti, Renato Bruson, Martti Talvela, Giuseppe Taddei Kurt Herbert Adler
9 November 1979 Verdi La Forza del Destino Leontyne Price, Veriano Luchetti, Renato Bruson, Martti Talvela Kurt Herbert Adler
26 September 1980 Verdi Simon Boccanegra Renato Bruson, Margaret Price, Giorgio Lamberti, Cesare Siepi Lamberto Gardelli
?? September 1980 Strauss Die Frau Ohne Schatten Leonie Rysanek, James King, Gerd Feldhoff, Birgit Nilsson Berislav Klobucar
3 October 1980 Donizetti Don Pasquale Geraint Evans, Ruth Welting, David Rendall, Timothy Nolan Uwe Mund
10 October 1980 Janacek Jenufa Elizabeth Söderström, Sena Jurinac, William Lewis, Allan Cathcart Albert Rosen
17 October 1980 Verdi La Traviata Valerie Masterson, Beniamino Prior, Lorenzo Saccomani Antonio de Almeida
24 October 1980 Saint-Saens Samson et Dalila Placido Domingo, Shirley Verrett Julius Rudel
31 October 1980 Mozart The Magic Flute Perry Price, Sheri Greenawald, Rita Shane, Dale Duesing Ulrich Weder
14 November 1980 Strauss Arabella Kiri te Kanawa, Ingwar Wixell, Barbara Daniels, Alexander Malta Wolfgang Rennert
21 November 1980 Wagner Tristan und Isolde Spas Wenkoff, Gwyneth Jones (1st) Ruza Baldani, Thomas Stewart, Simon Estes Kurt Herbert Adler
28 November 1980 Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana Olivia Stapp, Mikhael Svetlev, Benito di Bello Niksa Bareza
28 November 1980 Leoncavallo Pagliacci James King, Benito di Bella, Emily Rawlins Niksa Bareza
5 December 1980 Puccini Madame Butterfly Yasuko Hayashi, Luis Lima, Judith Forst, Allan Monk Myung-Wha Chung
12 June 1981 Reimann Lear Thomas Stewart, Helga Dernesch, Rita Shane, Robert Lloyd, William Lewis Gerd Albrecht
1 July 1981 Verdi Rigoletto Matteo Manuguerra, Patricia Wise, Peter Dvorsky, Kurt Rydl Niksa Bareza
13 July 1981 Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Karl Ridderbusch, William Johns, Hannelore Bode, Gottfried Hornik Kurt Herbert Adler
25 September 1981 Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Anja Silja, William Lewis, Jacque Trussel Calvin Simmons
26 September 1981 Rossini Semiramide Montserrat Caballe, Marilyn Horne, James Morris, Dalmacio Gonzalez Richard Bonynge
10 October 1981 Massenet Manon Reri Grist, Stuart Burrows, Dale Duesing Alexander Malta Julius Rudel
17 October 1981 Massenet Le Cid William Lewis, Carol Neblett, Feruccio Furlanetto, Timothy Noble Julius Rudel
30 October 1981 Bizet Carmen Teresa Berganza, Franco Bonisolli, Kurt Herbert Adler
18 November 1981 Verdi Aida Leontyne Price, Luciano Pavarotti, Simon Estes, Stefania Toczyska Garcia Navarra
20 November 1981 Wagner Die Walküre James King, Leonie Rysanek, Manfred Schenk, Birgit Nilsson Otmar Suitner
20 June 1982 Verdi Nabucco Matteo Manuguerra, Olivia Stapp, Paul Plishka, Gorgon Greer Kurt Herbert Adler
3 September 1982 Handel Giulio Cesare Tatiana Troyanos, Valerie Masterson, Sarah Walker, James Bowman Charles Mackerras
10 September 1982 Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera Luciano Pavarotti, Silvano Carroli, Montserrat Caballe Kurt Herbert Adler
1 October 1982 Puccini Turandot Linda Kelm, Niccola Martinucci, Barbara Daniels Myung-Wha Chung
15 October 1982 Mozart Il Nozze di Figaro Hermann Prey, Lucia Popp, Helena Döse, Tom Krause, Faith Esham Silvio Varviso
22 October 1982 Rossini Cenerentola Marilyn Horne, Francisco Araiza, Sesto Bruscantini, Paolo Montarsolo Mario Bernardi
29 October 1982 Poulenc The Carmelites Carol Vaness, Regine Crespin, Virginia Zeani, Leontyne Price Henry Lewis
5 November 1982 Stravinsky The Rake's Progress Dennis Bailey, Diana Soviero, Donald Gramm, Mignon Dunn David Agler
13 November 1982 Massenet Cendrillon Sheri Greenaway, Delia Wallis, Donald Gramm, Maureen Forrester Mario Bernardi
19 November 1982 Wagner Lohengrin Peter Hofmann, Pilar Lorengar, Leonie Rysanek, David Ward, Hermann Becht Heinrich Hollreiser
9 September 1983 Verdi Otello Placido Domingo, Margaret Price, Silvano Carroli Marek Janowski
17 November 1983 Puccini Manon Lescaut Mirella Freni, Ermanno Mauro, Vincente Sardinero, Renato Capecchi Maurizio Arena
30 November 1983 Ponchielli La Gioconda Maria Slatinaru, Franco Bonisolli, Matteo Manuguerra, Andrew Meltzer
2 June 1985 Wagner Das Rheingold James Morris, Walter Berry, William Lewis, Hanna Schwarz, Roland Bracht Edo de Waart
4 June 1985 Wagner Die Walküre Peter Hofmann, Jeannine Altmeyer, John Tomlinson, James Morris, Gwyneth Jones Edo de Waart
5 June 1985 Wagner Siegfried Rene Kollo, Helmut Pampuch, Thomas Stewart, Walter Berry, Eva Marton Edo de Waart
8 June 1985 Wagner Götterdämmerung Eva Marton, Rene Kollo, Michael Devlin, John Tomlinson, Helga Dernesch, Walter Berry Edo de Waart