Curtain rises for SF Opera homecoming performance at War Memorial and Oracle Park

"It is just so life affirming to have all the energy of opera coming back to life - the orchestra, soloists, the stage."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a pandemic long hiatus, the curtain has risen at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, where Opera fans gathered for a homecoming performance.

"Life is just not the same without music and people around you," said Moraga resident, Helen Sheaff, who has been attending the San Francisco Opera for decades.

"It just kind of signals that perhaps we're nearing the end of the pandemic," said opera fan, Janet Pease.

Vaccine verification and masks are mandatory to get inside War Memorial, but the experience remains.

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"It is just so life affirming to have all the energy of opera coming back to life - the orchestra, soloists, the stage," said San Francisco Opera General Director, Matthew Shilvock, who explained how the return to performing arts is a powerful thing:

"There is still so much going on in the world, that we can bring people back together and allow people to find this catharsis through music - that's what we do, that's the heart that we bring to the community."

There were almost 2,000 people at War Memorial Friday night, but it turns out most of the audience was at Oracle Park. Opera officials say 7,000 people turned out to watch the simulcast, for the Opera at the Ballpark event.

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"I really like opera," said Carol Shariat, who drove all the way from San Jose for the event. "I'm totally excited about this!"
"It's very COVID safe, everybody is outside, masks on, or at least six feet apart," said Jennifer Estrada, who is visiting San Francisco from Tampa, Florida.

"I mean you have garlic fries and opera - that's perfect," exclaimed Melissa Yeh.

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Yeh, a mom, brought her kids and newborn to Oracle. She set-up a family friendly picnic on the outfield for the free event. "It's music, our kids love music. We used to come to this event all the time before COVID, so it's a great night to be out!"

"Being on Oracle field is pretty amazing," said San Francisco resident, Emil Irimpan. "You get a sense of wonder just being here."

Irimpan feels accessible opera is good for everyone. "I have missed the opera. I think it is a place to come and unwind and just understand a little bit more about who you are as an individual, but also just larger as a community."

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