Monday, June 04, 2007

Unaware That This Just Isn't Done In America, San Francisco Opera Director David Gockley Lines Up Three Back To Back World Premiere American Operas

Pan Cogito, surreptiously joining George Will at his very early morning reading and imperial plotting haunt, is incredulous to read in the Washington Post that San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley has decided that back to back annual world premieres of American operas by Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton [Fall 2007], and by Stewart Wallace and Amy Tan [Fall 2008], are culturally insufficient; and that he has therefore decided to commission an additional new American opera [subject yet to be disclosed to the masses] from American composer Mark Adamo.

Perhaps all three works -- like Camille Saint-Saens's "Samson and Delilah" will be simulcast to huge screens in the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park!


"And now, hear this: San Francisco Opera will simulcast Camille Saint-Saens's "Samson and Delilah" (the Biblical story taking place in Gaza and the Vale of Sorek) to the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park. No double-header this, the live telecast, featuring Clifton Forbis as Samson and Olga Borodina as Delilah, will take place in the ballpark beginning at 8 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 28.

There will be seating both on the field and in the stands, and the event is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance for admission. Visit the Opera website ( for information, beginning July 9.

Opera General Director David Gockley, who announced the event at a home plate ceremony just prior to Monday night's Giants-Astros game (4:0), is the former head of the Houston Grand Opera and - presumably - a *former* Astros fan. He had initiated free outdoor simulcasts last season, and he will now add free indoor multicasts as well, of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" from the War Memorial on June 22. Beginning at 8 p.m., the performance will be seen simultaneously in Cal Performances' Zellerbach Hall, Mondavi Center in Davis, and the Ruth Finley Person Theater in Santa Rosa.

These simulcasts are the first to utilize the Opera's new Koret Media Suite, a high-definition video production facility installed on the fifth floor of the Opera House. A grant from the Koret Foundation provided lead funding for this initiative, with additional support provided by Tad and Dianne Taube, and Charles Schwab & Company. The media suite represents the first permanent high-definition broadcast-standard facilities installed in an American opera house.

The simulcast will be transmitted in 1920x1080 HD via satellite to the three venues live from the Opera House, where a seven-camera shoot will be directed by Frank Zamacona, director of the company's simulcast of "Rigoletto" last fall of 2006. The media suite utilizes Sony cameras and Cambotics robotics, which are operated by two robotic operators using remote control technology in the media control room.

Free live simulcasts are among the first innovations of Gockley's 16-month-long tenure, and part of the company's campaign to bring opera into the community and to wider audiences. The June 22 simulcasts are free, but tickets are required; contact each venue directly: Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988 after June 4, Mondavi Center at (530) 754-2787 after May 23, and Santa Rose at (707) 546-3600, available now."

(c) Janos Gereben/SF


Meanwhile, another day featuring absolutely no American classical music on Sharon Rockefeller's new Classical WETA-FM Lite, in the Nation's Capital.

OPERA America

The San Francisco Opera comes to China Basin, original home to San Francisco's Chinese-American community; a district here seen, below, in 1920.

China Basin is a neighborhood built on landfill along the San Francisco Bay. It is south of Mission Creek and the Mission Bay neighborhood, and north of the Dogpatch neighborhood. AT&T Park is across Mission Creek.

Photo credits: “Chinese Girl with Bound Feet” via The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco and With thanks.


The Chinese Xinhua News Agency announced, in 1998, that the last factory to manufacture shoes for bound-feet women in Harbin, China, had ended production.

Harbin, China, today is still very much influenced by its Russian past. A city once under Russian rule, it is now a center of trade with that country.

The influence of Russia came with the construction of the China Far East Railway, an extension of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and Harbin, known formerly as a fishing village began to prosper as the largest commercial, economical center of North Eastern Asia.

Tsarist Russia encouraged Russian settlement in their important Trans-Siberian-Railway outpost by waiving the then 25 year long military service. For Jews who settled there, the restrictions applying in Russia were also waived. (Wikipedia)


"In an era of extraordinary advances in scientific knowledge and methods, epidemiology and biostatistics provide essential tools for understanding disease etiology and for identifying effective and efficient approaches to prevention and treatment." University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics [China Basin Campus].


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