Amina Edris to Perform Cleopatra, Replacing Julia Bullock
San Francisco Opera announced a cast change for the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra, opening on September 10, 2022 as the first operatic presentation of the Company’s 2022–23 Centennial Season.
Soprano Amina Edris will create the role of Cleopatra, replacing Julia Bullock, who has withdrawn from the production. Bullock and her husband, conductor Christian Reif, are expecting the birth of their first child this fall. While Bullock will not debut the role in San Francisco, she remains connected with the project for future engagements.
San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “Julia has been such an inspiration in the creation of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra and we will miss her dearly from the premiere, but it is for the happiest of reasons imaginable! We wish Julia and Christian great joy as they begin a family together. We are so grateful to Amina for joining us to create this extraordinary role and excited for the depth of character and beautiful artistry she will bring to Cleopatra. Amina is having such success around the world, and we’re thrilled to welcome her back to San Francisco Opera to help us launch our second century in such a special way.”
Julia Bullock said, “I am deeply grateful to Matthew and San Francisco Opera for being so respectful and supportive as I came to the decision to withdraw from the premiere to prepare for the birth of our first child. Amina will be thrilling in the role of Cleopatra, and I wish the entire cast and crew my very best as they bring this new work to life.”
Born in Egypt and raised in New Zealand, soprano Amina Edris is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most exciting young stars on today’s operatic stage. Following post-graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Edris participated in the Merola Opera Program (2015) and Adler Fellowship Program (2016, 2017). As a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, she performed roles in Carmen, Dream of the Red Chamber, Rigoletto, Elektra and La Traviata on the War Memorial Opera House stage. In 2019 she returned to the Company, starring as Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, opposite the Roméo of her husband, tenor Pene Pati.
Edris made her Canadian Opera Company debut last month as Violetta in a starry cast for Verdi’s La Traviata and her performance was hailed as “beautiful of tone throughout her registers, with accurate coloratura and no shortage of power” and “the revelation of the night” (Bachtrack). She has performed Manon in Massenet’s opera to widespread acclaim at Opéra National de Bordeaux and Opéra National de Paris where Opera Forum said of her interpretation: “Amina Edris literally brought the Opéra Bastille to its knees with her superlative incarnation of the title role, both vocally and theatrically.” Recent appearances include Alice in Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable at Bordeaux, Micaëla in Carmen at Opéra du Rhin, Violetta for Opéra de Limoges. This summer, she returns to Europe for engagements with the Paris Opéra as La Folie in Rameau’s Platée and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma. Next spring, she makes her house debut at Barcelona’s Gran Theatre del Liceu as Manon.
Edris is a featured artist in San Francisco Opera’s 2022 Webby People’s Voice award-winning video portrait series, In Song. Filmed on location in her native Cairo, In Song: Amina Edris follows the soprano’s journey from a childhood infused with Arabic music to her emergence as an operatic soprano. The free, 19-minute episode showcases Edris performing the song “Ghanili Shway Shway,” first performed by iconic Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum, and the French art song “Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe” by Carmen composer Georges Bizet.
Edris joins a notable Antony and Cleopatra cast for San Francisco Opera. Bass-baritone Gerald Finley, an acclaimed Adams role creator for his performances as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic, is the Roman general and triumvir, Antony. Tenor Paul Appleby, who created the role of Joe Cannon in the Company’s 2017 premiere of Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, is the young Caesar, Octavius. Bass-baritone Alfred Walker is Antony’s confidante Enobarbus and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong portrays Octavia, Caesar’s sister and the wife of Antony. San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim opens the 100th season with this highly anticipated world premiere by the distinguished composer and Bay Area resident.
Created for San Francisco Opera’s centennial, Antony and Cleopatra is a co-commission and co-production with Barcelona’s Liceu Opera, Palermo’s Teatro Massimo and the Metropolitan Opera. With a libretto adapted from Shakespeare’s tragedy with supplementary passages drawn from Plutarch, Virgil and other classical texts, Adams, director Elkhanah Pulitzer and dramaturg Lucia Scheckner blend the mythic imagery of antiquity with the starry glamour of 1930s Hollywood. Pulitzer heads a production team of Tony Award-winning set designer and MacArthur Fellow Mimi Lien, costume designer Constance Hoffman, lighting designer David Finn, projection designer Bill Morrison and sound designer Mark Grey.
The seven performances of Antony and Cleopatra are scheduled for September 10 (7:30 p.m.), 15 (7:30 p.m.), 18 (2 p.m.), 23 (7:30 p.m.), 27 (7:30 p.m.); October 2 (2 p.m.), 5 (7:30 p.m.), 2022. 2022–23 subscription tickets are currently on sale; single (non-subscription) tickets go on sale June 28 at sfopera.com and by phone at (415) 864-3330