Ars Minerva is a San Francisco-based, 501(c)3 performing arts organization created in 2013 by Céline Ricci. Its mission is to engage new audiences for classical music through innovative productions of Baroque operas.
Ars Minerva is proud to bring forgotten music back to life, in collaboration with artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reviving Baroque operas is a rare and captivating experience, which we are happy to share with the diverse local community.
Since its inception, Ars Minerva has presented the modern world premieres of six long-forgotten Venetian operas in San Francisco.
-March 2015: La Cleopatra, composed by Daniele da Castrovillari for the 1662 Venice carnival season.
-May 2016: The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles, composed by Carlo Pallavicino in 1679.
-September 2017: La Circe, composed by Pietro Andrea Ziani in 1665.
-November/December 2018: Ifigenia in Aulide, composed by Giovanni Porta in 1738.
-November 2019: Ermelinda, composed by Domenico Freschi in 1680.
November 2021, Messalina, an opera composed by Carlo Pallavicino in 1679.
In 2020 Ars Minerva has started a collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus: Juditha - The Journey of a Warrior Woman, based on Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans. The full staged production will be presented in 2023.
In addition, Ars Minerva has collaborated with other Bay Area organizations such as Humanities West, The Museum of Performance + Design, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, and The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco.
In July 2017, Ars Minerva performed at the historic Lick Observatory as part of their Music of the Spheres concert series.
Ars Minerva also created Baroque for Kids, an outreach program for high school students, with the Italian class of the Ruth Asawa School for the Arts.
Céline Ricci, Founder / Executive Artistic Director
Céline is Ars Minerva's Founder / Executive Artistic Director. She stage directed Ars Minerva's productions La Cleopatra, The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles, La Circe and Ifigenia in Aulide, Ermelinda and Messalina.
Her recent staging of Carlo Pallavicino's Ermelinda garnered great critical praise: “Messalina was steamy, tuneful, and above all imaginative" San Francisco Classical Voice.
Céline, born in Florence of Italian and French parents, studied in Paris and continued her post-graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Selected by renowned conductor William Christie for his academy, Le Jardin des Voix, she was named one of opera's promising new talents in 2005 by Opernwelt. During the 2016-2017 season, she joins West Edge Opera as Nero in Agrippina and returns to Akademie für Alte Musik for performances in Rome.
Recent performances include Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas with Akademie für Alte Musik, with performances in Berlin, Buenos Aires and Rome, concerts with Philharmonia Baroque at Lincoln Center and Tanglewood, with Ars Lyrica at the Berkeley Early Music Festival and in Houston, and with Romabarocca at Palazzo Braschi in Rome among other projects.
Ms. Ricci has an impressive discography that includes a number of audio recordings and two DVDs. She has performed with many distinguished conductors, including Nicolas McGegan, William Christie, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Martin Haselbock, Martin Gester, Matthew Dirst, and Attilio Cremonesi, among others. In addition, she has worked with choreographer Sasha Waltz and director Deborah Warner on a number of projects. Her touring has taken her to New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Brussels, Israel, and Barcelona, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.