San Francisco's most venerated arts establishments are connecting with the next generation of audiences through modern, electrified programming, interactive events, and plenty of booze.
If a hunky black baritone—shirtless and stalking the stage in a shiny green bell-bottomed suit with big lapels and sparkly platform shoes is not your idea of a night at the opera—we get it. It wasn’t ours either. But that’s exactly what happens at the beginning of the second act of Champion, now playing at SFJAZZ.
The Merola Opera Program, the prestigious opera training program associated with the San Francisco Opera, held its annual Spring Benefit on Saturday April 30 at the St. Regis San Francisco. The evening began with a silent auction featuring fine wines and a number of unique dining and entertainment experiences. While they bid, guests were invited to indulge in a variety of culinary delights and cocktails, particularly a signature cocktail provided by Domaine Chandon. After the auction, the San Francisco Opera Adler fellows, all of whom are alumni of the Merola Opera Program, entertained guests in the ballroom. A lush dessert reception followed the concert and allowed guests to mingle with the Adler Fellows.
Chanticleer Goes Romantic
One of the world’s best male choruses, Chanticleer hits up its native San Francisco with bell-like harmonies and songs of desire, pain, and euphoria - basically, the sound of every emotion to ever trail hopefully after love.
Bonus: one their tracks graces the new Brad Pitt/Sean Penn movie, The Tree of Life. So if you want to hear this Grammy award-winning orchestra of voices live, check it out. (Amazing sound, no Brad Pitt - you'll have to weigh your priorities.)
June 3 and June 12. San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street. Tickets are $20-44 at (415) 392-4400. (Additional dates in Santa Clara, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and Napa.)
It might be a stretch to say that this summer’s Ring Cycle is the most epic opera event ever - but not by much. Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is widely considered one of the greatest operatic works ever created, featuring four operas worth of gods and heroes, great loves and tragic betrayal, dwarves and those ever-popular rings of power. Widely considered one of the leading producers of the cycle, San Francisco Opera pulls out all the stops with a brilliant roster of singers, one of the world’s most acclaimed Wagner conductors, and the vision of internationally celebrated director Francesca Zambello. Suffice it to say, the Ring Cycle’s singing Norse gods and Valkyries get the best treatment possible.
Wozzeck doesn't look, sound, or feel like your standard opera o' buxom women in blonde braids and Viking helmets. Thought to be the first avant garde opera of the 20th century and a classic example of atonality, Wozzeck is based on the true story of a man (named Wozzeck - title explained) who was accused of killing his mistress in 1821 and publicly executed for the crime three years later.
San Francisco Opera will hold its annual simulcast from Civic Center in AT&T Park this Friday, June 5. This year's piece is Puccini's three-act drama Tosca, a sordid tale of deception, sexism, and betrayal, complete with a love triangle! Admission is free, but if you RSVP ahead of time, print your ticket, and remember to bring it, you'll get "preferred" admission starting at 6:30 while the general public waits until 7. Pre-registering is also your best shot at getting a seat on the field. Show starts at 8(ish).