Release date: 2/8/2012

San Francisco Opera Honors Board Member Sylvia Lindsey at Annual Medallion Society Luncheon

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (February 8, 2012)—San Francisco Opera today honored Sylvia Lindsey with the Spirit of the Opera Award, the Company’s highest honor bestowed upon its supporters, which was presented at the Company’s 29th annual Medallion Society luncheon.  San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley presented Lindsey, a member of San Francisco Opera’s Board of Directors since 1987 and a long-time advocate of the arts in the Bay Area, with the award before a gathering of 680 Medallion Society members at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
The Spirit of the Opera Award was created in 1995 as a tribute to those who go above and beyond contributions by giving back in unique and meaningful ways that assist in San Francisco Opera’s many endeavors. Presented to individuals whose devotion to San Francisco Opera epitomizes a high level of commitment to advancing the success of the Company and supporting the art form, past recipients include Bob and Terri Ryan, Jeannik Littlefield, Joe Brucia, Patricia Yakutis, Diana Knowles, Harriet Quarre, Dede Wilsey, Maggie Wetzel, Barbara Jackson, Susan Anderson-Norby, and Kary Schulman.
Sylvia Lindsey’s involvement with San Francisco Opera goes back over three decades. She has served on the Company’s Board of Directors since 1987 and been active on the Medallion Society Fundraising Committee since 2004.  Her stalwart support of the performing arts and their importance in people’s lives is exemplified by her advocacy of San Francisco Opera’s core values, and in her commitment to introducing people from all walks of life to the exciting world of opera. Lindsey is also a current member of the Board of Directors of the Merola Opera Program and the Dance Theater of Harlem (NY), as well as a founding trustee of Cal Performances where she created and chaired their audience development committee.  In addition, she has been a field training Preceptor for the graduate program leading to the Master of Public Health Degree at UC Berkeley.  Now retired from her long career as Chief Nutritionist of Food Services at the Veterans Administration of Martinez, she originally hails from North Carolina.
Since 2003, Lindsey has chaired the African American Theater Party.  This on-going event aims to build opera affinity within the African American community (including students) and honors featured artists at a post-performance dinner.  Past honorees have been bass-baritones Willard White and Eric Owens and bass Mark Coles.  The intensive but rewarding effort brings all of Lindsey’s passions together— public outreach, building new audiences, engaging young people, artist hospitality and food.  Her invaluable work with young people also includes sponsoring under-served students to attend performances at the War Memorial Opera House as well as the Company’s annual free outdoor events.  Most recently, she brought a group of forty children to the Company’s Fall 2011 presentation of Carmen for Families.  Sylvia Lindsey’s generosity has also included support for the Company’s Porgy and Bess opening celebration in 2009, as well as hosting one of her legendary barbeques for the cast of the Ring cycle last summer.  
Established in 1983, the Medallion Society is comprised of the Company’s most dedicated supporters—donors who give more than $3,000 annually to San Francisco Opera.  The extraordinary generosity of Medallion Society members is a primary source of support for the Company’s productions, arts education and community outreach programs, and the development of young artists.  Medallion Society members represent 10% of San Francisco Opera’s donor base but give more than 70% of the contributed revenue the Company receives each year.  Last year, the Medallion Society raised more than $22.8 million for San Francisco Opera.  Cathy MacNaughton is the current Medallion Society president.
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This press release and related photographs are available at For more information, contact:
Jon Finck (415) 565-6472 /
Robin Freeman  (415) 565-6451 /