Take me out to the Vale of Sorek

And now, hear this: San Francisco Opera will simulcast Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Samson and Delilah” (the Biblical story taking place in Gaza and the Vale of Sorek) to the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. No double-header, the live telecast, featuring Clifton Forbis as Samson and Olga Borodina as Delilah, will take place in the ballpark beginning at 8 p.m. on Sept. 28.

There will be seating on the field and in the stands. The event is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance for admission. Visit the Opera Web site (www.sfopera.com) starting July 9.

Opera General Director David Gockley, who announced the event at a home-plate ceremony prior to Monday night’s Giants-Astros game, is the former head of the Houston Grand Opera. He had initiated free outdoor simulcasts last season, and will add freeindoor multicasts as well. On June 22 at 8 p.m., the opera’s performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” from the War Memorial will be seen simultaneously in Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall, Mondavi Center in Davis, and the Ruth Finley Person Theater in Santa Rosa.

These simulcasts are the first to utilize the Opera’s new Koret Media Suite, a high-definition video production facility installed on the fifth floor of the Opera House. A grant from the Koret Foundation provided lead funding for this initiative, with additional support provided by Tad and Dianne Taube and Charles Schwab & Company. The media suite represents the first permanent high-def broadcast-standard facilities installed in an American opera house.

The simulcast will be transmitted via satellite to the three venues live from the Opera House, where a seven-camera shoot will be directed by Frank Zamacona, director of the company’s simulcast of “Rigoletto” last fall. The media suite utilizes Sony cameras and Cambotics robotics, which are operated by two robotic operators using remote control technology in the media control room.

Free live simulcasts are among the first innovations of Gockley’s 16-month-long tenure, and part of the company’s campaign to bring opera into the community and to wider audiences. The June 22 simulcasts are free, but tickets are required; contact each venue directly: Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988 after June 4, Mondavi Center at (530) 754-2787 after May 23, and Santa Rosa at (707) 546-3600, available now.


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