Eun Sun Kim breaks ground as first female music director at San Francisco Opera

Posted on: October 21, 2021

San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim during a recent Fidelio rehearsal. Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

“The curtain had just fallen on San Francisco Opera’s production of Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio,’ and the mood was celebratory,” writes Javier Hernández in Tuesday’s (10/19) New York Times. “But as she exited the theater after the performance … the company’s music director, Eun Sun Kim, was … already considering areas she wanted to work on…. The stakes are high for Kim, who in August became the first woman to hold the post of music director at one of the country’s largest opera companies. Born in South Korea, she is also the first Asian to assume such a role.… The challenges are formidable…. San Francisco Opera faced financial pressures even before the pandemic. Attendance has been steadily declining…. The company’s audiences are about 70 percent white, according to a 2018 survey, while the city of San Francisco is 53 percent white. There is a noticeable dearth of Black and Latino patrons. The company hopes the appointment of Kim will help broaden its appeal…. Kim says she is ready for the challenge… ‘Opera is not boring or old,’ she said. ‘It’s the same human beings, the same stories, whether it was 200 years ago or nowadays.’ ”