Free at Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco…September 12, 2010.
After some confusion over bus routes, we found our way to the familiar, raucous, untidy Haight and across the grass towards the towering pines of Golden Gate Park. It was wonderful to see that skyline again…The huddled groups of hippies were still there, their bags and their blankets and their dogs spread around them on the grass.
A little further on we found a different kind of gathering, dotted with food booths, portable toilets, a bicycle park, several white tents, bunches of balloons – and, at one end of course, the stage, complete with a row of marigolds in pots. In the space within, San Franciscans of every age and hue and persuasion lounged on quilts and blankets and bath towels. Some opera-goers were highly organized, with ranges of pots of different sizes containing hummus and salad and cold meats. Champagne, wine and other beverages flowed. Others, less organized, like ourselves, squelched into Italian sausages with onions and relishes, and got in a mess. The Petchary’s husband downed a bottle of nice Californian Merlot, and was helped along by our neighbor, Nancy from Chico – a pretty fortyish lady with a charming smile. She retired behind a black lacy shawl draped over her head to keep out the sun. Our rather noisy neighbors on the other side were celebrating their second wedding anniversary, ate and drank steadily through the performance and became more and more horizontal. Two gay couples just below us on the slope were horizontal from the start, draping their long pale limbs on a huge blanket. They all had identical short, prickly haircuts. A chic Chinese family arrived – two daughters in long summer frocks and big hats. And beyond them, a sea (some 15,000) of wide brimmed hats and headwear of all kinds, spilling down to the stage, blowing bubbles, waving their arms and shouting “Bravo!”
OUR FAVORITE PIECES:
- “La luce langue” from Verdi’s “Macbeth” sung by Dolora Zajick
- “Nemico della patria” from Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier” sung by Marco Vratogna
- “Pourquoi me reveiller?” from Massenet’s “Werther” sung by Ramon Vargas – so lush and romantic
- Overture from “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini
- “La donna e mobile” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” sund by David Lomeli
- All the glorious Puccini, but especially “Bimba, dagliocchi pieni” from “Madama Butterfly” – the richly emotional voice of Leah Crocetto moved the Petchary to tears…And Luca Pisaroni’s bass baritone was remarkably beautiful.
A beautiful day.
- Opera in Park means arias al fresco for 15,000 (sfgate.com)