Posted by Kristin
Ensemble Parallele’s (now Opera Parallèle’s) production of The Great Gatsby was my first fully-staged contemporary opera production. I’d like to think I know a little bit about classical music, but I will admit that I know next to nothing about opera. I was expecting musical theater with more vibrato and the audience to be wearing bedazzled gowns—after all, opera people are “cultured.” I was surprised that the crowd seemed pretty young and definitely not stuffy. My career came full circle last Friday when I was thrilled to be among the audience in the atrium of the de Young museum waiting to watch Opera Parallèle – now “my” client in my job here. They were performing an “An Evening of Opera Arias” as part of the Friday Nights at the de Young series. There were a lot of people in the audience that clearly were having their first operatic experience and I found myself with fingers crossed that Opera Parallèle would convince them to take this new relationship with opera a bit further. I noticed three 40-somethings in front of me were whispering to each other during the performance, “What are you drinking, Sangria?!” (Where is the Opera Tattler when we need her?) The arias varied greatly and the three 40-somethings kept peeking at one another as though to ask, Do we like this? I think we do. In the middle of one aria, the man raised his beer to the two women and said, “We’re getting cultured!”
From that first day when I watched The Great Gatsby, I have attended many cultural performances but I realize that I have only seen the “tip of the iceberg” of the arts scene this city has to offer. I’ve been to baroque music concerts of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at Herbst Theater, listened to the worldly music of Jordi Savall presented by Cal Performances, heard young opera singers from Merola perform in the Opera House and there is so much more I want to do. I want my work to help get the word out further so that more folks in their 20s realize that there is a treasure trove of cultural arts in San Francisco just out there waiting.