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The second largest opera company on the continent, this opera company is also one of the most courageous. Along with presenting the classics in lavish, huge productions, the SFO commissions new works each year, and sometimes these new operas can be quite controversial, such as the fall 2013 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Dolores Claiborne by American composer Tobias Picker. 2018 welcomes the new production Girls of the Golden West, which is based on letters describing the turmoil of living through the Gold Rush. All productions have English supertitles. The performance schedule is a bit odd: The season starts in September and runs for 14 weeks, then takes a break for a few months before starting again in June for 2 months. It’s usually possible to get less-coveted seats as late as the day of performance, although prime seats can go months in advance.