Monday, August 01, 2005
Opera in the Park on a Sunday afternoon
It is the 68th year of Stern Grove Festival. An unique, admission-free program in a wonderful setting.
After a gap of about 20 years I joined a few friends to attend the concert on Sunday, July 31st. Before the program we went to Greens at Fort Mason for brunch. The restaurant offers a great view of the San Francisco Bay; the Golden Gate Bridge was partly obscured by fog but we watched sail boats in the bay, and then drove to the Presidio for a short walk near the bridge. Not a very clear day but it was not too windy and cold.
When we got to the amphitheater around 1:00 PM it was already full of people who had arrived early and were happily enjoying food and wine or sprawled on blankets. We found a spot which did not allow a clear view of the stage but that was not important. We settled down, opened a bottle of wine, and nibbled on cheese and bread.
Soon the performance began with the polonaise from Chaikovosky's Eugene Onegin. Sunday's program was mostly operatic. I am not an opera buff but the company of friends, the setting, the infectious spirit of the people all around us, made it an enjoyable experience. The two hours went by very quickly and then it was time to pack up and leave the park.
Stern Grove went through extensive renovation and the result is impressive. A new, larger stage, expansion of the lawn area, and additional rest rooms have greatly enhanced the ambience.
Next Sunday (Aug.7th), the program will feature Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Portugese and Spanish songs by Waldemar Bastos and Maria Barros
The concerts will run through August 21.
Who is Dusti Rhodes? Not someone I personally know. She is one of the DJs in the local classical music station KDFC (102.1 FM). I often listen to her on radio and was happy to see her appear on stage to make some announcements.
Photo credit: Alan Geller
For details about the concerts, link to: Stern Grove