SAMSON vs DELILAH at AT&T Park – Can Stadium Survive Biblical Shearing?

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants will bring opera to the ballpark at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 28, 2007, with a live simulcast of Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic Samson and Delilah. The simulcast was announced by Giants Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer and San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley during a home plate ceremony just prior to the recent Giants vs. Houston Astros game at AT&T Park.

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OLGA BORODINA – as Delilah, between innings. Photo by Larry Merkle

Through state-of-the-art technology, the simulcast of Samson and Delilah will be transmitted in 1920×1080 high-definition live from the War Memorial Opera House stage to AT&T Park’s Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard. The highest quality outdoor scoreboard in the nation, it is also the first 32 by 9 aspect ratio outdoor high definition scoreboard in North American professional sports.

Baseball fans and opera fans will have a chance to experience this FREE event with seating both on the field and in the stands. However, all fans must have a ticket to enter the ballpark. For further information visit www.sfopera.com; specific information on ticketing will be posted on www.sfopera.com on July 9, 2007.

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DAVID GOCKLEY, San Francisco Opera General Director. Photo by Michael Winokur

Free live simulcasts are among the first innovations of David Gockley’s new tenure, and part of the Company’s campaign to bring opera into the community and to wider audiences. San Francisco Opera recently announced a June 22 live simulcast of Mozart’s Don Giovanni to three venues: Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. General Director David Gockley has already presented San Francisco Opera simulcasts to three separate audiences during his tenure of just over one year. The first was a simulcast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on May 27, 2006, drawing 8,000 people to San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. The second – a simulcast of Rigoletto on October 6, 2006 – was presented to an audience of approximately 14,000 at Civic Center Plaza and Frost Amphitheatre at Stanford University.

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MARY DUNLEAVY (Gilda) signs Rigoletto Playbill for SEÁN MARTINFIELD

“The Giants are proud of AT&T Park and the unique experiences we can offer to our fans year round,” said Larry Baer. “We are excited to bring a new twist to the traditional ‘opera in the park,’ that only we can, with one of the most technologically advanced ballparks in the country and a high-definition scoreboard rivaled by no others.”

“As someone with a lifelong love of baseball and a passion for opera,” said David Gockley, “I am so grateful to Larry Baer and to the Giants organization for this partnership. Working together, these two San Francisco institutions are able to offer the chance of a lifetime for the entire Bay Area – glorious opera in the world’s most beautiful ballpark. I’ll see you there!”

San Francisco Opera simulcasts are made possible by the Company’s Koret Media Suite, a high-definition video production facility installed on the fifth floor of the War Memorial Opera House. The media suite represents the first permanent high-definition (HD) broadcast-standard facilities installed in an American opera house. A grant from the Koret Foundation provided lead funding for the Koret Media Suite, with additional support provided by Tad and Dianne Taube.

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OLGA BORODINA, Mezzo-Soprano and CLIFTON FORBIS, Tenor

Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah stars Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina and tenor Clifton Forbis in the epic story of the Old Testament hero who loses his heart, his hair, and finally his strength. They are joined by Finnish bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo, and Merola Opera Program alumnus Oren Gradus. Patrick Summers conducts San Francisco Opera’s lavish production by Nicolas Joël, and Sandra Bernhard directs.

Seán’s recommended CDs and DVDs:
Saint-Saëns’s SAMSON ET DALILA – DVD, featuring Olga Borodina as “Dalila”
Wagner’s TRISTAN UND ISOLDE – DVD, featuring Clifton Forbis as “Tristan”
OLGA BORODINA, ARIAS – CD, Carol Rizzi conducts the Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Beethoven’s FIDELIO – CD, featuring Juha Uusital as “Pizarro”
Catán’s FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONAS – CD, featuring bass Oren Gradus
Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING – CD, Live Recording – Patrick Summers conducts the San Francisco Opera

See Seán’s recent articles and reviews::
JERSEY BOYS – Earth Angels invade San Francisco
TAKE ME OUT – At NCTC, San Francisco
LA VIE EN ROSE (La Môme) – Biography of Edith Piaf A Sensation at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo

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San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published over 2,000 responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing tecniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, visit Broadwaybelters.com, email Seán at seanmartinfield@att.net.

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