OVER 28,000 ATTEND SAN FRANCISCO OPERA’S 10th FREE SIMULCAST OF BIZET’S CARMEN AT AT&T PARK
San Francisco Opera Partners with San Francisco Giants
and Presenting Sponsor Taube Philanthropies
SAN FRANCISCO (July 7, 2016)—On Saturday, July 2, more than 28,000 people of all ages enjoyed an evening of fun, food and opera under the stars at San Francisco Opera’s free, live simulcast of Bizet’s Carmen at AT&T Park. Carmen was the tenth Opera at the Ballpark simulcast and the Company’s 14th simulcast event overall since San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley introduced the initiative in 2006 to bring opera into the community. Including the near-capacity audience attending three miles across town at the War Memorial Opera House, this San Francisco Opera performance of Carmen was experienced by an audience of 31,000.
In partnership with the San Francisco Giants and presenting sponsor Taube Philanthropies, Opera at the Ballpark has brought nearly 298,000 music lovers to AT&T Park to experience San Francisco Opera performances over the last ten years. Utilizing the Company’s high-definition video production facility, the Koret/Taube Media Suite, the evening’s performance was transmitted live from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park’s 103-feet wide Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard and enjoyed by an audience watching from the stands and on the field.
The evening’s simulcast—co-hosted by Dianne Nicolini and Hoyt Smith of Classical KDFC Radio—featured several attractions prior to the performance of Carmen. Video highlights of past San Francisco Opera productions were shown on the scoreboard and audiences were entertained with educational and interactive content related to Bizet’s popular opera. San Francisco Opera and Classical KDFC partnered again this year to host the “KDFC Star-Spangled Sing-Off,” a public singing contest to select a winner to sing the National Anthem prior to Opera at the Ballpark. Out of 42 video submissions and 60,000 cast votes, Bay Area musician and Sunnyvale native Juanita Harris was the winner and gave a rousing performance from the pitcher’s mound. During intermission, members of the simulcast audience had the opportunity to watch the onstage set changeover taking place on-screen. Tammy Nelson, star of the Bay Area’s longest-running musical, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” kicked off the second half of the evening with an opera-themed, sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Keeping in the spirit of the evening, the cast took their final bows sporting San Francisco Giants apparel.
Calixto Bieito’s production of Carmen, which transports the action to the autonomous Spanish city of Ceuta in North Africa after the Franco regime, was staged in revival by Joan Anton Rechi. Mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts performed the title role and tenor Brian Jagde was Don José, the soldier whose obsession with Carmen leads to a tragic conclusion. The cast also included Zachary Nelson as the bullfighter Escamillo, Ellie Dehn as Micaëla, Amina Edris as Frasquita, Renée Rapier as Mercédès, Edward Nelson as Moralès, Brad Walker as Zuniga, Daniel Cilli as El Dancairo, and Alex Boyer as El Remendado. Carlo Montanaro conducted the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Among the first innovations introduced during Gockley’s tenure, the annual live opera simulcasts continue to serve the community and introduce new audiences to the art form. The first simulcast at AT&T Park in September 2007 drew 15,000 fans to hear Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila. 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, Rigoletto, La Traviata and Il Trovatore; Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Bizet’s Carmen.
San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by Company Sponsors: The Dolby Family, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Edmund W. and Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Fund, Steven M. Menzies, Bernard and Barbro Osher, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, Dianne and Tad Taube, Phyllis C. Wattis Endowment Funds, Diane B. Wilsey and two anonymous donors. Major support is provided by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. San Francisco Opera is proud to recognize its Season Sponsor, Wells Fargo, and Corporate Partners: Chevron, fueling great performances everywhere, and United Airlines, the Official Airline of San Francisco Opera.
Carmen is made possible, in part, by John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn. Maestro Montanaro’s appearance is made possible by the Conductors Fund, and Mr. Jagde’s appearance is made possible by the Emerging Stars Fund, both established by Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.
Opera at the Ballpark is made possible by Presenting Sponsor, Taube Philanthropies. Major support is also provided by Platinum Sponsor, Chevron; Gold Sponsors, Charles Schwab and United Airlines; and PG&E. San Francisco Opera simulcasts are made possible through the extraordinary technology of the Company’s Koret/Taube Media Suite. Media sponsors include the San Francisco Examiner, Classical KDFC 89.9/90.3/92.5/104.9, KPIX and KCWB, Clear Channel Outdoor and SFCV.org.
OperaVision, high-definition projection screens featured in the Balcony level, is made possible by the Koret/Taube Media Suite. Yamaha is the official piano of San Francisco Opera. Pianos provided by Piedmont Piano Company.