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San Francisco Opera

Museums | Movie Theaters | Modern Arts Museum | Ballet | Opera


301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA, USA
Phone: 415/864-3330

Founded in 1923, this world-renowned company has resided in the Civic Center's War Memorial Opera House since it was built in 1932. Over its season, the opera presents approximately 70 performances of 10 to 12 operas from September through January and June through July. The opera uses supertitles: translations are projected above the stage during almost all non-English operas. Long considered a major international company and the most important operatic organization in the United States outside New York, the opera frequently embarks on coproductions with European opera companies. Ticket prices range from about $23 to $165. Standing-room tickets ($10) are sold at 10 AM for same-day performances, and patrons often sell extra tickets on the Opera House steps just before curtain time at face value or less. The full-time box office is at 199 Grove Street, at Van Ness Avenue.

History of San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera was founded by Gaetano Merola (1881-1953) and incorporated in 1923. The Company's first performance took place on September 26th, 1923, in the City's Civic Auditorium ( La Bohème , with Queena Mario and Giovanni Martinelli, conducted by Merola). Nine years later, the Company moved into its new home, inaugurating the newly built War Memorial Opera House with a performance of Tosca on October 15, 1932 (Claudia Muzio, Dino Borgioli, Giuseppe Gandolfi, conducted by Merola).

Following Gaetano Merola's death, the San Francisco Opera Company was led through 1981 by Kurt Herbert Adler; from 1982 to 1988 by Terence A. McEwen, and by Lotfi Mansouri from 1988 through 2001.  We are now under the exciting direction of Pamela Rosenberg. San Francisco Opera is now the second largest opera company in North America.

Since 1923, San Francisco Opera has presented the United States debut performances of numerous artists, including Vladimir Atlantov, Inge Borkh, Boris Christoff, Marie Collier, Sir Geraint Evans, Mafalda Favero, Tito Gobbi, Sena Jurinac, Mario del Monaco, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne and Margaret Price, Leonie Rysanek, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Giulietta Simionato, Ebe Stignani, Renata Tebaldi and Ingvar Wixell; conductors Gerd Albrecht, Valery Gergiev, Georg Solti and Silvio Varviso; and directors Francis Ford Coppola, Harry Kupfer and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

San Francisco Opera in the Park
Since 1971, San Francisco Opera has presented an annual free concert in Golden Gate Park on the Sunday following opening night of the Fall Season. It traditionally features artists from the opening weekend in full concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.The event is open to the public and draws some 20,000 listeners. The concert is presented in conjunction with the Friends of Recreation and Parks and San Francisco Examiner  Charities.

Other San Francisco Opera Theaters


Phone: 415/227-4797

This operatic alternative specializes in Gilbert and Sullivan but presents other light operas as well. The troupe performs at various venues including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.


Phone: 415/972-8930

This lively, modestly priced alternative to grand opera aims to bring opera to a broad audience. The concert performances of popular and seldom-heard works are mostly in English. Offenbach 's operettas are frequently on the bill during the February-June season. Concerts are held at various locations.


San Francisco hotels

The Argent Hotel San Francisco Argonaut Hotel Chancellor Hotel on Union Square Comfort Suites San Francisco Airport Commodore Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel Hotel Cosmo, A Kimpton Boutique Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Fishermans Wharf Dakota Hotel Hotel Diva Embassy Hotel