Saturday, September 26, 2015
SF Symphony Opening Gala
The San Francisco Symphony opened its 104th season on Thursday at Davies Hall with the usual hoopla: dinners, wine, parties, a few musical bon-bons performed by the orchestra and a quartet of vocal soloists, more parties, and dancing.
The press were wined and dined in a room of their own, including Stephen Smoliar and his wife Linda above. Like the San Francisco Symphony, she had just returned from a European tour.
The concert's first half was the orchestra sounding in superior form playing Respighi's flashy Roman Festivals, with principal trumpeter Mark Inouye leading the way in the huge brass fanfares. The second half was devoted to Broadway musicals, featuring selections from Carousel, South Pacific and My Fair Lady. Nathan Gunn sounded unusually woolly in Some Enchanted Evening, Alexandra Silver as Eliza Doolittle was fun to watch but sang off-pitch, and Kelsey Grammer was unexpectedly good as Henry Higgins. The musical highlight was "special surprise guest" Stephanie Blythe above who knocked everyone out with a hall-ringing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone.
Afterwards, there was an outdoor party on Grove Street between Davies Hall and the SF Opera House, along with a lavish tent affair...
...complete with cocktails, more food...
...and a Michael Jackson cover band called Neverland who were surprisingly good.
Lindsey Bacolini above posed for a photo with her Haight-Ashbury neighbor Norman who attends seemingly every classical music concert in San Francisco.
The evening was tremendously fun from beginning to end.