23,000 Attend San Francisco Opera's 11th Free Opera at the Ballpark Simulcast at AT&T Park

Release date: 7/1/2017    


Opera at the Ballpark 2017 recap.pdf  Photos Available  

On Friday, June 30, more than 23,000 people of all ages kicked off the 4th of July weekend with an evening of opera at AT&T Park with Opera at the Ballpark, a free live simulcast from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to the 103-foot wide scoreboard at the home of the San Francisco Giants. The chilly temperature and swirling winds of a typical summer night in San Francisco did not deter the large audience from enjoying an evening of fun, food and opera al fresco. In collaboration with the San Francisco Giants and presenting sponsor Taube Philanthropies, the June 30 simulcast was the Company’s 11th Opera at the Ballpark and its 15th simulcast event overall since the founding of the popular initiative in 2006. Along with a near capacity audience attending Mozart’s Don Giovanni three miles across town in the War Memorial Opera House, this San Francisco Opera performance was seen by an audience of nearly 26,000.

San Francisco Opera’s simulcasts have brought more than 306,000 music lovers to AT&T Park and other Bay Area venues for its opera performances over the last eleven years. The simulcasts are made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Company’s high-definition video production facility, the Koret/Taube Media Suite.

Friday’s event—co-hosted at the ballpark by Dianne Nicolini and Hoyt Smith of Classical KDFC Radio—featured several attractions prior to the live performance, including Oakland native Antoinette Bush, the winner of the “KDFC Star-Spangled Sing-Off” public singing contest, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” from the field. An alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Bush was selected as the winner out of 28 video submissions and 23,000 cast votes. Moments before the performance, San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock addressed the Opera House and ballpark audiences from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House wearing an orange San Francisco Giants baseball cap.

The intermission began with an Open Curtain Q&A in which audience members submitted questions via Twitter and had them answered live by San Francisco Opera staff while also watching the crew changing the sets. The AT&T Park audience heard Tammy Nelson from Beach Blanket Babylon launch the second half of the evening with an opera-themed, sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The Don Giovanni cast took their final bows wearing San Francisco Giants apparel and waving foam fingers.

The performance featured renowned Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo in his celebrated portrayal of the libertine, Don Giovanni, along with Erin Wall as Donna Anna, Ana María Martínez as Donna Elvira, Sarah Shafer as Zerlina, Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Don Ottavio, Erik Anstine as Leporello, Michael Sumuel as Masetto and Andrea Silvestrelli as the Commendatore. The production, which featured innovative projections by German artist Tommi Brem, was directed by acclaimed Italian director Jacopo Spirei. French conductor Marc Minkowski led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Among the first innovations introduced during the tenure of the Company’s former General Director David Gockley, the live opera simulcasts continue to engage the Bay Area community and introduce new audiences to the art form. The first simulcast was held in May 2006 at Civic Center Plaza and attracted 8,000 to hear Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Subsequent simulcasts in additional Bay Area locations followed until September 2007 when the relationship with the San Francisco Giants was formally launched with a simulcast of Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila at AT&T Park heard by 15,000 fans. Attendees have since experienced free, live performances of many of the great masterpieces of opera, including Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; Puccini’s Tosca and Turandot; Verdi’s Aida, Falstaff, Rigoletto, La Traviata and Il Trovatore; Bizet’s Carmen; and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.