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“La Traviata at the San Francisco Opera - a wonderful evening”

San Francisco Opera
Ranked #81 of 547 things to do in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: We have been thrilling audiences in San Francisco since 1923. We are known for commissioning numerous world premieres, training some of opera's greatest young artists and being one of the world's leading opera companies. Come visit us during our fall season (September - early December) or our summer season (late May - early July) and enjoy an incredible night out.
Level 6 Contributor
227 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“La Traviata at the San Francisco Opera - a wonderful evening”
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Like in the movie Pretty Woman we went to San Francisco for this extraordinary opera - just such a wonderful feeling to sit there and see and listen to this fantastic Opera. It is just so overwhelming.

I cannot say enough good things about this Opera.

Visited June 2014
Thank Lamboswede
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Mixed Blessing”
Reviewed 12 June 2014

As someone with a long background with Show Boat, I feel comfortable offering an opinion of this version. As the title indicates, I have mixed feelings about this presentation.

The production values are outstanding. The choreography, while not extensive, is excellent. Simpson as Ravenal provides the requisitely beautiful vocal skills. And the score, with Til Good Luck Comes My Way and Hey Feller, is relatively complete. That's the good news.

The bad? The original, more powerful and brooding overture has been discarded in favor of a later "greatest hits" version. The scene where Magnolia and Gaylord meet has been truncated and modified so that Magnolia becomes the aggressor. The wonderful duet, I Might Fall Back On You, has been dropped. While the show itself satirizes the melodrama of the era, both Magnolia and Ellie are ironically allowed to overact on occasion. The finale has been significantly changed to the detriment of the show -- this ending is much less affecting.

Then there's Bill Irwin's Captain Andy. While his physical gyrations are undoubtedly entertaining, they also become quite inappropriate. It is like watching someone oddly afflicted with some form of motion-based Tourette's Syndrome. Most peculiar indeed.

Those who have seen the film versions of Show Boat and perhaps a prior staging or two should be quite pleased wth this production. But the fact remains that the Houston Opera's version from the 1980's was better, as was the wonderfully complete concert staging in the Dallas area a few years back.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank James S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
162 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Showboat: Wonderful”
Reviewed 2 June 2014

I had been to the SF Opera a few times in the past (more than ten years ago) because my aunt was an excellent singer who supported the SF Opera. Frankly, I felt then that the Australian Opera was much better (though we did have Joan Sutherland in those days). However, today, my daughter invited me to see the SF Opera's "Showboat" and it was superb.
"Showboat", based on an Edna Ferber novel with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein dates back to 1927. It treats many important topics like racism that permeate the history of the the United States (and elsewhere). Thus, one of the main characters, Julie, is of mixed black-white parentage though she passes as white. In 1927 Showboat was one of the first stage productions to have both black and white characters together.
Of course, the music is outstanding. "Ol' Man River" was written for the first Joe, Paul Robson, and it still remains an important and poignant song. But other songs, which I did not realize came from Showboat are also important. Thus, "Can't help lovin' that man of mine", which starts "Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly...", was sung by many artists over the years including Louis Armstrong.
Showboat is based on a tradition of shows played on river steamers. A few still existed in the 1920s and Edna Ferber's book was based on actual observation.
The SF Opera production has wonderful singers (some from opera and some from musical theatre) and actors. The scenery is excellent and clever. The dancing is not bad.
The quite long (nearly three hours) production is complex required substantial resources. Kern and Hammerstein went to Florenz Ziegfeld, who had the resources to produce the show. The SF Opera version likewise uses the company's many resources.
In watching the production, I felt like I was watching an important part of American history. The seats (like most opera) are not cheap. Our seats in the back of the dress circle cost $182, though the program is free! This is an expensive outing, but it is truly special.

Visited June 2014
3 Thank Bruce J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Centralia, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“You must see this at least once in your life”
Reviewed 20 May 2014

IMHO there are three great opera companies in the US: the Met, Chicago's Lyric Opera and the San Francisco Opera. We are truly blessed to enjoy such talent, and experience the best in staging lavish productions. I am always impressed with the variety of shows and productions available - throughout the years many well known productions have been staged there. But they also preview new works, perform lighter productions - all with incredible skill and musicality. Because of their success they are able to attract the finest soloists and principle players. The opera house itself is a marvel - oozing charm, history, and class. You'll see everything from tuxes to jeans - a sign of an eclectic audience. This is one great experience.

Visited February 2014
Thank pardoc2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Bay, near San Francisco
Level 6 Contributor
127 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“High quality, but pricey!”
Reviewed 21 April 2014

I, unfortunately, am not a "deep pockets" patron. I'm a Senior, on a limited income, and must choose carefully when purchasing live performance tickets. That said, I try to treat myself to one opera every year, sitting in the orchestra, when possible. The productions are truly magnificent in every way.........the voices the sets, the costumes, actually everything. It is a delight, in every way, to attend to SF Opera.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank MusicMajor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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