Dolores Claiborne Ancillary Events

"Sometimes, an accident can be an unhappy woman’s best friend."
—Vera Donovan from the novel Dolores Claiborne


Join us for the exciting world premiere of Dolores Claiborne. Based on the novel by Stephen King, this is the latest opera from critically acclaimed composer Tobias Picker, called "our finest composer for the lyric stage" by The Wall Street Journal. We invite you to special events hosted by our community partners for an intense exploration of various issues addressed in the story and the making of the opera—with interviews, lectures and activities leading up to the opera’s premiere and beyond.

Desperate. Passionate. Trapped. Dolores Claiborne is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself and her daughter—even if that means taking a life. The feisty Maine housekeeper—one of the most compelling characters to emerge from Stephen King’s imagination—and King's haunting novel are reconceived in a powerful theatrical presentation. American composer Tobias Picker, who "embraces opera as a populist art form" and "does so with undeniable skill" (The New York Times), teams with renowned poet J. D. McClatchy to bring King's chilling work to the opera stage. Memorably played by Kathy Bates in the 1995 movie, Dolores will be sung by Patricia Racette (Sep 18, 22, 25, 28), "an artist at the peak of her powers" (Opera News) and Catherine Cook (Oct 1, 4), a singer who knows how to "delight with a treasure chest of voice and gesture" (Bay Area Reporter).

Peninsula Chapter: An Afternoon with Tobias Picker

Location: Green Gables Estate, Woodside


Sunday, August 25, 4:00pm

San Francisco Opera Guild, Peninsula Chapter
Fundraiser to Benefit Music-in-the-Schools and Young-Singer Programs

San Francisco Opera’s Director of Music Administration Dr. Clifford (Kip) Cranna will interview critically acclaimed composer Tobias Picker about the making of his new opera, Dolores Claiborne, which will receive its world premiere this September. Picker has been called “our finest composer for the lyric stage" (The Wall Street Journal). “Dolores is a kind of American Tosca,” he commented. “She is forced to make cataclysmic choices to save the one she loves.”

The festivities include a mini-concert of opera arias featuring the phenomenally gifted Adler Fellows, the young resident artists of the San Francisco Opera. 
After check-in, enjoy champagne, wine and hors d’oeuvres while exploring the exquisite grounds of historic Green Gables. All proceeds benefit the San Francisco Opera Guild’s Music-in-the-Schools programs and the Merola Opera Program for young singers.
Reservations required by August 19. Click here to download the order form. Mail the form with your check to Andrea Julian, 265 Marmona Court, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
Confirmation: You will receive a confirmation with directions.  Since this is not a ticketed event, names will be held at the door. 
Tickets: $50–$150.  Invite friends—non-members are welcome!

Location: Green Gables Estate, Woodside.
Contact Judy Kahn at 650-948-8881 or

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East Bay Chapter: An Insight into Dolores Claiborne

Location: Sequoyah Country Club in the Oakland Hills
4550 Heafy Road
Oakland, CA 94651


Sunday, September 1, 12:30pm

The San Francisco Opera Guild, East Bay Chapter

Presents an insight into
Join us for an exciting presentation with Dr. Kip Cranna, San Francisco Opera’s Director of Musical Administration.  Dr. Cranna will interview composer Tobias Picker about the creation of his new opera, Dolores Claiborne, which will receive its world premiere in September.  Conductor George Manahan and Director James Robinson might also be panelists.  Susannah Biller, soprano, portraying Selena St. George, will sing an aria from Dolores Claiborne and take part in the discussion.  The audience can engage the panelists in conversation and ask questions.
This event is open to all. Reservation deadline: August 24, 2013
Ticket price: $65. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Opera Guild’s in-school opera programs, and the Merola Opera and Adler Fellowship Programs for young singers.
Download your order form here. Mail completed reservation forms along with a check payable to SFOG, EBC to:
Clyde Allen
1463 Indian Head Circle
Clayton, CA 94517

This is not a ticketed event. 
For additional information, contact Silvia Lin at 925-838-9255 or

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Dolores Claiborne Litquake Event

September 9, 2013, 7:00pm

Location: Glass Door Gallery, North Beach
245 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
(across the street from Tosca Cafe)


FREE EVENT: As part of the Litquake literary festival, San Francisco Chronicle Executive Features Editor David Wiegand will interview noted librettist and author J. D. McClatchy about the challenges of adapting the unique narrative of Stephen King’s intensely powerful novel for the opera stage.

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San Francisco Opera Guild Opera Previews—Dolores Claiborne

Location: Multiple locations


September 9–11

Dolores Claiborne Guild Opera Previews

Guild Opera Previews feature renowned musicologists and other experts who offer fresh, in-depth looks into the season’s upcoming operas with lecturer Dr. Lynne Morrow:

Marin Chapter: Mon, Sep 9, 8:00pm

San Jose Opera Guild: Tue, Sep 10, 10:00am

Peninsula Chapter: Tue, Sep 10, 7:30pm

San Francisco Chapter: Wed, Sep 11, 12:00pm

East Bay Chapter: Wed, Sep 11, 8:00pm

Admission fee varies per chapter 

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Insight Panel Discussion—Dolores Claiborne

Location: Kanbar Performing Arts Center Chorissima Hall, 44 Page Street, San Francisco


Wednesday, September 11, 6:00pm

Renowned artists and personalities involved in the production of the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne, share their insights and experiences during informal panel discussions.

Insight panels are free for Opera members & subscribers and $5 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to discussions.

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Alliance for Girls—Dolores Claiborne Panel Discussion

September 16, 2013, 6:00pm

Location: YWCA of San Francisco and Marin County

940 Powell St.


Alliance for Girls partners with San Francisco Opera to explore the vital issues that are raised in Stephen King’s novel about the treatment of girls. Fiona Ma, former Speaker Pro-Tempore of the California State Assembly will moderate a discussion with librettist J. D. McClatchy and stage director James Robinson that describes how the opera deals with this important topic.

Tickets: $15, includes refreshments. Visit to purchase tickets and for more information.

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Pre-Opera Talks with Composer Tobias Picker and John Churchwell

Location: War Memorial Opera House


Enrich your opera experience by attending a pre-performance talk with the composer of Dolores Claiborne. San Francisco Opera’s Head of Music Staff John Churchwell and Tobias Picker will discuss the making of the opera. Talks are scheduled 55 minutes prior to curtain in the Opera House auditorium.

September 18
September 22
September 25
September 28
October 1
October 4

FREE to ticket-holders

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Opera on the Couch—Dolores Claiborne

September 22, 2013, 5:00pm

Location: Books Inc., Opera Plaza


Immediately following the Sunday matinee performance of Dolores Claiborne, members of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis will discuss the opera’s theme from a psychoanalytic perspective.

FREE and open to the public.



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