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From Madama Butterfly To Barry Bonds

September 27, 2007

San Francisco Opera has been experimenting with offering free, live simulcasts of its productions to opera lovers sitting in the park outside City Hall. I've only attended one of these events - the simulcast for Madama Butterfly about a year and half ago. It was terrific. The atmosphere was casual and fun. We could sit out there and drink wine and eat snacks. The company had strung up beautiful red Chinese lanterns in the trees around the park. When it became dark, the lights glowed cozily. Besides a few ill-advised close-ups of some of the performers' triple chins, the experience made for a pretty great way to spend an evening.

Now, SF Opera is going a step further. Tomorrow night, Friday, the company will broadcast its production of Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah at the Ball Park. The production will be simulcast for free at AT&T Park at 8pm at the same time as the opera kicks off in the War Memorial Opera House. The performance will be preceded at 7.30 pm with backstage interviews with the artists, broadcast live via HD cameras. The simulcast will be broadcast on the ball park's 3200-square-foot Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard.

I don't suppose there's much of a crossover audience for baseball and opera. But the fact that more than 27,000 tickets to the event had already been reserved online at www.sfopera.com/giants suggests otherwise.

In other news, I'll be in Chicago for the next few days, scurrying about at a conference and catching some theatre in my free time. Posting will resume when I return on Tuesday.

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