Founded 1923 by Gaetano Merola, who was dir. until 1953, then succeeded by Kurt Herbert Adler (1953–82); Terence A. McEwen (1982–8); Lotfi Mansouri (1988–2001); Pamela Rosenberg (2001–5); David Gockley from 2006. Ranks with Chicago in importance after NY Met. War Memorial Opera House, seating 3,252, opened Oct. 1932 with Tosca. Among modern works staged for the first time in USA at S. Francisco are Die Frau ohne Schatten, The Makropulos Affair, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Midsummer Marriage, King Priam, A Streetcar Named Desire, Dead Man Walking, and Doctor Atomic. First mus. dir. John Pritchard (1986–89), Donald Runnicles from 1992.