Release date: 7/6/2015
Opera at the Ballpark Figaro Recap.pdf
On Friday, July 3, a crowd of 30,130 flocked to San Francisco Opera’s ninth live simulcast at AT&T Park for a free evening of Mozart’s comedy The Marriage of Figaro. A diverse audience of all ages ranging from opera newcomers to long-time opera aficionados came together to share in a glorious night of fun, food and opera al fresco. The performance, which also entertained a full-house audience of 3,000 at the War Memorial Opera House three miles across town, continues General Director David Gockley’s mission to bring opera into the community and to wider audiences.
Opera at the Ballpark, a partnership with the San Francisco Giants and presenting sponsor Taube Philanthropies, has become one of San Francisco’s most popular traditions. Since 2006, San Francisco Opera simulcasts have drawn a combined crowd of more than 250,000 people to enjoy free, live opera in unconventional settings. Through state-of-the-art technology, the evening’s performance of The Marriage of Figaro was transmitted in 1920x1080 high definition (HD) to AT&T Park’s 103-feet wide Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard—one of the highest quality outdoor scoreboards in the nation—live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Opera simulcast transmissions are made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Company’s high-definition video production facility, the Koret-Taube Media Suite.For the opera’s performance, a dynamic, young cast of singers was headlined by bass-baritone Philippe Sly in the title role and soprano Lisette Oropesa as Figaro’s fiancée, Susanna. The performance also featured soprano Nadine Sierra as Countess Almaviva, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as Count Almaviva and mezzo-soprano Angela Brower as the page Cherubino. Company Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
The evening’s event—hosted by the Bay Area’s Classical KDFC Radio personalities Dianne Nicolini and Hoyt Smith—was punctuated by many highlights, including the Company’s collaborations with mobile apps Smule and Twitter’s Periscope. Interactive and educational on-screen content ranging from opera trivia and artist interviews to Beach Blanket Babylon’s Tammy Nelson entertained audiences leading up to the performance and during the intermissions. The night kicked off with “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by the Contra Costa Chorale. San Francisco Opera and Classical KDFC Radio partnered again this year to host the “KDFC Star-Spangled Sing-Off,” a public singing competition that accepted 50 video submissions and more than 33,000 votes in search of a winner to sing the National Anthem at AT&T Park prior to Opera at the Ballpark.
During the second of two intermissions, the simulcast audience had the opportunity to view a live feed of the onstage set changeover between Acts II and III of The Marriage of Figaro. San Francisco Opera Director of Production Daniel Knapp answered questions submitted by audience members via Twitter as the curtain of the War Memorial Opera House remained up throughout the intermission to reveal the behind-the-scenes magic of breaking down and resetting the opera sets and props. After the Countess had forgiven the Count, the curtain came down on San Francisco Opera’s ninth wildly successful Opera at the Ballpark. As has become the tradition, the cast members took bows sporting their choice of San Francisco Giants apparel, reminding audiences again of the partnership between these two great San Francisco institutions.
Free live simulcasts are among the first innovations of San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley’s tenure and part of the Company’s commitment to audience outreach. The first simulcast debuted in May 2006 with Puccini’sMadama Butterfly, drawing 8,000 people to San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. Subsequent simulcasts include Verdi’s Rigoletto at Civic Center Plaza and Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University; Mozart’s Don Giovanni at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa; and Verdi’s Falstaff at Frost Amphitheater. The first simulcast at AT&T Park in September 2007 delighted 15,000 fans with Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah.There have been eight additional Opera at the Ballpark events at AT&T Park to date: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in June 2008 (23,000); Puccini’s Tosca in June 2009 (27,000); Verdi’s Il Trovatore in September 2009 (25,000); Verdi’s Aida in September 2010 (32,000); Puccini’s Turandot in September 2011 (16,000); Verdi’sRigoletto in September 2012 (27,000); Verdi’s La Traviata in July 2014 (26,000) and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaroin July 2015 (30,130).