Italy runs in San Francisco Opera's blood like vin santo down the throat of a tipsy padre. In 1923, it was an Italian, Gaetano Merola, who persuaded City Hall to support a full-time opera organization rather than depend upon touring troupes that had been visiting the city since the Gold Rush days. Merola then proceeded to feed audiences a diet of Verdi and Puccini sung by the greatest Italian divas of the age. The country's second-biggest opera company (after New York's Metropolitan Opera) is now returning to its roots. San Francisco Opera's 2009-2010 season includes such Italian... More >>>