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Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers to Receive San Francisco Opera Medal on the 25th Anniversary of his Company Debut

09.23.15
Patrick Summers
San Francisco Opera

Currently thrilling San Francisco Opera audiences with razor-sharp performances of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers will be awarded the San Francisco Opera Medal at the end of tonight’s performance for 25 years of exemplary Company service.
 
“The San Francisco Opera Medal is the highest honor that this company awards to an artistic professional, and it would be hard for me to think of anyone more deserving than Patrick Summers,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “San Francisco Opera has always been a welcoming and special theater for him.”
 
Summers has led a vast repertory for San Francisco Opera, including Ariodante; Samson et Dalila; Iphigénie en Tauride; Il Trittico, Xerxes, Der Fliegende Holländer, Le Nozze di Figaro; the world premieres of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1998), Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (2000) and Christopher Theofanidis and Donna Di Novelli’s Heart of a Soldier (2011); the West Coast premiere of Heggie’s Three Decembers (2008); and Heggie’s Moby-Dick (2012). Summers has twice received Merola Opera Program’s Otto Guth Award and was named its “Distinguished Alumnus” in 2001.
 
In addition to his work at San Francisco Opera, Summers is Houston Grand Opera’s Artistic and Music Director and has overseen many of that company’s important artistic advances, including the formation of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. During his tenure, he has supervised and conducted seven world premieres as well as many seminal opera works not previously mounted by the company. Summers has conducted at the world’s preeminent opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, Lisbon Opera, Bordeaux Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bregenz Festival, Welsh National Opera, Opera Australia, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera and the Dallas Opera. Other world premieres include Previn’s Brief Encounter at Houston Grand Opera and Paul Moravec’s The Letter at the Santa Fe Opera.
 
The Opera Medal that Summers receives tonight dates back to 1970 when General Director Kurt Herbert Adler bestowed the first medal to soprano Dorothy Kirsten. Since then, recipients have included sopranos Leontyne Price and Joan Sutherland, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, tenor Plácido Domingo, baritone Thomas Stewart, conductors Donald Runnicles and Charles Mackerras and, most recently, director Francesca Zambello.