San Francisco Opera's BRAVO! CLUB is a group of young adults dedicated to building a new audience for San Francisco Opera with other arts lovers aged 21–40. Founded in 1991, the group has an annual membership of over 500 Bay Area professionals and hosts a variety of educational and performance-related events in support of San Francisco Opera. BRAVO! CLUB board president, Barclay Rogers, shares his story on why he joined the group.
I’m often asked why I’m an opera-goer and a BRAVO! member. When I came to San Francisco a couple of years ago, I was keen to become more involved in the arts. I like beautiful things and I felt that opera was the pinnacle of the arts. Opera combines so many elements—singing, music, drama and dancing—that it’s like going to a concert, a symphony and a play all at the same time. But I have to admit that I was intimidated to become an opera-goer. I didn’t know anyone who went to the opera, and as soon as I met someone who did, the first question they asked me was “what’s your favorite opera?” Honestly, I had no idea. [Above: BRAVO! CLUB’s 2011 Holiday Party.]
A friend recommended that I check out the group, and I learned that BRAVO! helps people under 40 overcome the very things I was struggling with: a sense of intimidation with the art form (turns out a lot of other folks don’t know what their favorite opera is either) and a lack of a community to enjoy the opera with (since not everyone has a group of art-loving friends). I joined BRAVO!, started attending their events and going to the opera with other members. It was terrific—I got to enjoy this incredible art form while socializing with like-minded people. [Left: David Gockley and BRAVO! Board members at 2011 Sneak Peek Event.]
It gets even better. I then stumbled upon something that I didn’t even know existed: BRAVO! Tix for members, which are heavily discounted opera tickets—$50 for Orchestra seating, $35 for Dress Circle. While going to the opera used to be a limited treat because it was so expensive, I am now able to go all the time because a trip to the opera house isn’t that much more expensive than going to the movies. It’s the best deal in town as far as I’m concerned.
I’m not an opera expert, and not all my friends go to opera all the time. But you know what, I’m zeroing in on my favorite opera, and making new opera-going friends every day. And I’m doing it without breaking the bank thanks to BRAVO! Tix. Luckily, it turns out San Francisco Opera and BRAVO! are for people just like me.