|UND graduate to receive San Francisco opera medal|
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley has announced that San Francisco opera director of music administration Clifford (Kip) Cranna will receive the San Francisco Opera Medal, the highest honor awarded by the company to an artistic professional. Cranna began his 30th year with the company on June 4. In addition to his tireless and exceptional service to San Francisco Opera for nearly three decades, Cranna is one of the Bay area’s most respected musicologists and educators. The Opera Medal will be presented to Cranna on stage at the War Memorial Opera House prior to the June 20 performance of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which will also be seen by audiences attending the free live simulcast of the opera to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
“Kip Cranna is a truly extraordinary person who contributes gracefully and quietly behind the scenes day in and day out,” said David Gockley. “With the greatest respect to our neighbors at Lucasfilm, Kip Cranna is San Francisco Opera’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wise and benevolent force behind the scenes at the complicated, political, and dramatic galaxy called San Francisco Opera. He has served many leaders well and that is because his loyalty is to the Company, to the art form of opera, and above all to the artistic excellence of each individual production that we present. On behalf of everyone who has worked with Kip since 1979, it is my tremendous honor to announce that he will receive the company’s Opera Medal, in this case a well-deserved and well-earned honor, for a wise and kind artistic professional.”
“Kip Cranna is a rare individual, one whose loyalty is first and foremost to San Francisco Opera,” said former general director Lotfi Mansouri. “The fact that he has survived five general directors gives an indication of the musical and personal values he brings to the leadership of the company. Without Kip as my partner, there is no way we could have presented innovative new works at the level of artistic excellence that we achieved. Kip was the midwife in the challenging birth process of many new works, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Arshak II," "The Dangerous Liaisons," "Dead Man Walking" and "The Death of Klinghoffer." I salute Kip for his years of service and wish the company many more years with Kip Cranna.”
“I want to add my voice to those saluting Kip Cranna,” said Pamela Rosenberg, former general director of San Francisco Opera and current executive director of the Berlin Philharmonic. “Throughout my tenure, Kip was an unending source of information not only about the history of San Francisco Opera but about opera literature in general. He is probably one of the most musically erudite of all the people I’ve had the privilege of working with, and he is certainly one of the kindest and most generous. Kip Cranna is always ready to serve the company, and above all, to serve the music.”
The San Francisco Opera Medal was established by former general director Kurt Herbert Adler in 1970. Past honorees include Dorothy Kirsten (1970), Leontyne Price (1977), Joan Sutherland (1984), Marilyn Horne (1990), Plácido Domingo (1994), Charles Mackerras (1995), Frederica von Stade (1997), James Morris (2001), Samuel Ramey (2003), and San Francisco Opera General Directors Kurt Herbert Adler (1978), Lotfi Mansouri (2001) and Pamela Rosenberg (2005). On July 6, 2008, the company honors soprano Ruth Ann Swenson with the Opera Medal in celebration of her 25th San Francisco Opera anniversary.
Clifford (Kip) Cranna was named director of music administration May 30, 2008, and has served as musical administrator of San Francisco Opera since 1982; he first joined the opera's staff in 1979. Cranna oversees the Company's musical operations, including the commissioning of new operas and scheduling for future seasons. He currently manages the company’s music staff and libraries and serves as staff musicologist and editor-in-chief of supertitles. Cranna holds a bachelor’s degree in choral conducting from the University of North Dakota and a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University. He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. For over 20 years he was program editor and lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. Cranna lectures and writes frequently on music, and he has served as radio host for San Francisco Opera broadcasts. He hosts the Opera Guild's Insight panel discussions and has been a music study leader for Smithsonian Tours. He has taught opera appreciation in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Adult Extension since 2000; he joined the collegiate faculty in 2007. For over 20 years, Cranna has served on the board of the professional male vocal ensemble, Chanticleer, and recently joined the board of Humanities West. An avid cyclist, he has ridden on tours in Provence, Tuscany, New Zealand, and British Columbia. Kip and his partner of 35 years, choral conductor Bruce Lamott, live in San Francisco’s Noe Valley.