A Night at the Opera
Except in this case, the opera isn’t just in the opera house, but also just outside City Hall. The San Francisco Opera opened their summer season tonight with Madama Butterfly, and they had a live video simulcast of the proceedings on Civic Center Plaza. More pictures and impressions after the jump.
It was a big crowd. I understand they were wondering whether it would go over well enough to warrant doing again, which doesn’t seem to be a question any more. If you’re intersted, you can get a better view of the audience in a panorama I made, but it’s way too big to post at any reasonable size.
The simulcast idea is a new wrinkle that the incoming General Director introduced, having had good success with it in Houston. San Francisco’s cooler climate makes it a little less inviting–I walked the four blocks back to my home towards the end of the first act for a warmer jacket–but on the other hand, it moved quite a few of the SF Opera sweatshirts from the concession stand.
All the technology involved worked nearly perfectly–the sound was clear but not overpowering, and the screen was visible from all parts of the plaza. (I took the picture at the beginning of this post from the same place I sat for the opera, which was about 50° from the perpendicular.) The only flaw was the occasional dropout or flicker on the video, all of which looked like MPEG artifacts to me. Nothing too disruptive, though.
For some reason, a few of the security guards were wearing horned helmets. I don’t know, maybe they got an outdated version of the schedule and were expecting Wagner.
All in all, it was quite fun–wine, cheese, opera, and a beautiful evening. I’d certainly come to more of this; we’ll see what our new opera overlords bring us.