Saturday, September 08, 2007
San Francisco Opera's Opening Night
The little park between the San Francisco Opera House and the Veterans Building was roped off for an entire week for the construction of a huge tent.
It was being used as the setting for the 2007 San Francisco Opera Ball that included a cocktail reception, a sit-down dinner for 800 with 1,300 pounds of rack of lamb and 15 pounds of caviar among other delicacies, and after-dinner dancing to Bill Hopkins Rock'n Orchestra.
This was to celebrate Opening Night of the San Francisco Opera season which was starting off with an old, gaudy production of Saint-Saens' "Samson and Delilah," a sex-and-violence-and-lots-of-praying French Grand Opera spectacular from 1877.
I hosted a small party that included one handsome dude in a tuxedo...
...and three beautiful young women, and all it cost was $10 for standing room, which has to be the best deal in San Francisco.
We assembled in the box bar at intermission where we somehow snagged a table...
...and watched in amusement, horror and fascination at dozens of wealthy women who looked like nothing so much as drag queens with lots of money.
Upstaging most of the socialites, in fact, was my downstairs neighbor Morgan Jones channeling Josephine Baker.
The opera itself, what little I heard of it, looked pretty silly, with the diva Olga Borodina sounding fabulous and the debuting tenor Clifton Forbis sounding pretty awful. Still, the cheesy special effects finale with Samson bringing the infidel's temple down is always fun. For a very loosely translated and funny synopsis, click here for chorister Tom Reed's tour through mangled French.
In Kosman's review at SFGate this morning (click here), he writes "The Israelites and Philistines hurled their competing theological viewpoints at one another, and though of course the listener rooted for Jehovah's troops, it was perhaps more out of sentiment than dramatic urgency." To which I must add, speak for yourself, Mr. Kosman. The Philistines were much more fun than the Hebrews, with wild costumes, dances and orgies, not to mention a religious icon of their god Dagon that wouldn't have looked out of place in a Maria Montez movie. "Glory to Dagon!" indeed.