Release date: 5/10/2013

San Francisco Opera Guild Announces Details of 91st Season Opening Night Gala, September 6, 2013 Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good & Evil

Opera Ball 2013 Marks Bay Area Debut of Celebrity Event Planner Colin Cowie

San Francisco Opera's 2013-14 Season Opens with Arrigo Boito's Mephistopheles

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera celebrates the opening of its 91st season on September 6, 2013 with a gala opening night like none other. San Francisco Opera Guild’s 2013 Opera Ball: The Garden of Good and Evil will be created by celebrity event designer Colin Cowie to reflect the celestial and devilish themes of the evening’s performance––late 19th-century Italian composer Arrigo Boito’s Mephistopheles.  Boito’s monumental and thrilling retelling of the Faust legend will star acclaimed international performers Ildar Abdrazakov, Patricia Racette and Ramón Vargas in one of the most impressive productions ever seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage.
Always a highlight of the City’s cultural and philanthropic season, Opera Ball is an extraordinary event that brings together local and national corporate, political, civic and philanthropic leaders. The proceeds from this celebrated signature fundraising event support San Francisco Opera’s and San Francisco Opera Guild’s award-winning education and community programs throughout the Bay Area. Opera Ball 2013 is co-chaired by Ann Girard and Mai Shiver; Karen Kubin is president of San Francisco Opera Guild.
"When my co-chair Mai and I learned that the season opening opera was to be Mephistopheles, we knew that Opera Ball needed to truly match the extraordinary level of drama and pageantry that will be seen on the stage,” stated Opera Ball co-chair Ann Girard. “ We couldn’t be more pleased to work with Colin Cowie and we are certain that this year’s Opera Ball will be sensational––a garden full of surprises and elegance, tinted with just the right amount of evil.” Girard continued, “Similar to enjoying a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge or cheering for our World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants, the opportunity to attend opening night at San Francisco Opera is one of the most unique experiences available in the Bay Area.” "We are also excited to present this year’s gala in the magnificence of San Francisco City Hall,” added Opera Ball co-chair Mai Shiver, “Its grand and interesting spaces will be sure to contribute to the drama of the evening.”  Shiver continued, “We extend our appreciation to Colin Cowie and his team of professionals for inspiring us with their vision and contributing generously to the Opera Guild's educational programs.”
Colin Cowie is one of the most recognizable and sought-after event planners in the industry. Well known for his stunning celebrity weddings, Grammy Awards and Oscar Awards parties, luxury hotel openings and other high profile celebrations around the world, Cowie now adds San Francisco to his impressive roster of event locations. Colin Cowie’s celebrity client list spans from Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise to Jennifer Lopez and Lil Wayne. The designer is regular guest on the Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Also a prolific author, Cowie has written nine books, including six wedding books, two entertaining cookbooks, a book on living with style and three books on design.
Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil begins with a heavenly pre-performance cocktail reception in the North Light Court of San Francisco’s historic City Hall at 5 p.m., created to mirror the spectacular production of Mephistopheles. An indulgent dinner created by acclaimed chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCalls Catering and Events follows at 6 p.m. in the Beaux-Arts style rotunda, and at 8 p.m. the curtain rises on the gala opening night performance of Mephistopheles at the War Memorial Opera House.  Returning to City Hall following the performance, guests will experience decadent cocktails, desserts and dancing in an atmosphere dramatically transformed into an exotic sanctuary full of diabolical surprises. San Francisco Opera’s opening night festivities will take place at City Hall this year due to the closure of the War Memorial Veterans Building and War Memorial Campus for seismic retrofit and renovations.
“I am so excited to be part of this year's San Francisco Opera season opening,” stated Colin Cowie. “We are working with a fun and edgy theme, The Garden of Good and Evil, where our guests will experience the Garden of Good for cocktails and dinner, and the Garden of Evil for the post opera festivities.  As opera is such a wonderful contribution to our musical culture, I am thrilled to be a part of this very special event. We promise a fun and fabulous night!”
San Francisco Opera’s 2013-14 season opens September 6, 2013 with Arrigo Boito’s Mephistopheles, in one of the most impressive productions ever seen at the War Memorial Opera House. The title role of Mephistopheles is sung by Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in his stage role debut, soprano Patricia Racette appears as both Marguerite and Elena, and Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas makes his fully-staged role debut as Faust, the philosopher who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for perpetual youth. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this monumental work of “choral grandeur and melodic richness” (The New York Times). Robert Carsen’s impressive San Francisco Opera production, featuring designs by Michael Levine, is directed by Laurie Feldman.
Tickets for Opera Ball 2013: The Garden of Good and Evil are priced at $1,000; $1,500; $2,500; and $5,000; ticket availability is limited.  Opera Ball tickets may be purchased at or by calling (415) 565-3204.
Tickets for the performance of Boito’s Mephistopheles (not including Opera Ball 2013 gala) are priced from $23 to $385 and may be purchased at or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.