For the first time in two years we yesterday evening entered the San Francisco Memorial Opera house for a banquet of that spectacle known as Grand Opera. I won’t say it was worth the wait because the wait seemed interminable and we are still in the midst of the surrounding danger and chaos. Nevertheless, there’s no denying OUR euphoria that we and–judging from the volume of cheers and number of standing ovations–the rest of the crowd floated in on similar emotions and sustained them throughout. It’s the first time I can recall when the chorus got a curtain call at the conclusion of Act I. Maybe it’s the way it always goes with Tosca, though I don’t remember its happening the other time I saw it, but it was still a treat.
Ailyn Pérez in the title role and Michael Fabiano as her ill-starred lover, Cavaradossi in our estimation tore the roof off the place. I’m sure it will be repaired forthwith.
Most notable, however, was the performance of SF Opera’s new musical director, Eun-Sun-Kim. I am no judge of such things, but it seemed to me that the energy and vibrancy she brought to her new role had every bit as much to do with the success of the production as did the voices and authenticity of the performers.
It’s a truncated season, so this is the only show we’ll see till the next round, but my lord, as they way, what a morning.
[FOOTNOTES: The main safety precaution was a requirement to show proof of vaccination. A guy patrolled the incoming lines, checked cards and i.d., then issued a sticker to be shown along with the ticket for admittance.
There were no programs. Whether that was a safety or an economic measure or both, I don’t know. I suspect the latter. There were easels here and there where you could download a program using a QR scanner on your “mobile device,” something we were ill-equipped to do. But there’s always next time.