You Don’t Have to Love Opera to Love Opera in the Park in San Francisco
Soaring arias delivered by coloratura sopranos and resonant baritones may not be your thing, but if you’re not a fan of opera, an afternoon spent with the San Francisco Opera in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow might inspire you to re-think your position. Each September, the SFO kicks off their season with a free outdoor concert that attracts people from all over the Bay Area and the world to hear world-class sopranos, altos, tenors and bass singers deliver some of the most beautiful music ever written. Since the first Opera in the Park was held in 1971, this annual event has become the official start of the opera season and attracts more than 20,000 people every year.
Many attendees have been packing a picnic lunch, a bottle or two of wine and a blanket and heading to Golden Gate Park for years. If spending an afternoon eating, drinking, relaxing, basking and listening to superb singers sounds like your idea of a good time, here are some tips to get the most out of the experience:
- Arrive early –
There are two reasons to show up early: 1. Getting to the Park early ensures that you’ll have a good spot to view the performers. 2. The performers start warming up around 10 a.m., so you’ll get a rare chance to hear world-class singers warm up their voices, eat a leisurely lunch and then enjoy the performances starting at 1:30 p.m.
- Be considerate of others –
Bringing lawn chairs that obstruct the views of those behind you is frowned upon. If you need a chair with a back, make it a chair with short legs or spread out on your blanket and go chairless!
- Picnic baskets are recommended but optional –
Many attendees go all out for this event, complete with short dining tables, linen napkins, place settings, candles and…you get the idea. It’s a great idea to pack a picnic lunch with lots of tasty things to eat and drink, but if prefer to travel light, there are lots of booths selling tasty things to eat and drink as well.
- Dress in layers –
This day is usually warm and sunny but since this is San Francisco, make sure to have an extra layer or two to put on just in case.
- Bring sun block –
Do yourself a huge favor and pack some sun block with your picnic. A lazy afternoon eating, drinking and napping can be idyllic until the headache and soreness of sunburn starts kicking in.
- Take public transportation –
While there is some parking in Golden Gate Park, unless you’re planning an elaborate setup, you’re better off taking public transit to and from the event.
Sharon Meadow is on the east end of Golden Gate Park near the tennis courts. This event is very handicap accessible and bicyclists can enjoy free bicycle valet services provided by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. For more information about this event, visit the official SFO Opera in the Park website at http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/Opera-in-the-Park.aspx.