I didn’t attend last Friday’s “Centennial Celebration Concert” in person; however I did buy the livestream (sold at the SF Opera website for $27.50) and I watched the whole presentation (running for about 2 hours without intermission) live. Hence I thought to include my (short) observation of the concert below.

Apparently, SF Opera changed their livestream provider starting this season. Problems arose from the moment I tried to use the website. I couldn’t log in with my credential (despite of the website assured me that my sfopera.com login information worked with them). I finally managed to get in via “login with Authentication Code”, which sent a unique code to my email.

Unfortunately, the livestream for “The Centennial Celebration Concert” was having big problem with the volume level, as it was barely audible! I maxed out the volume on my laptop, and it was still very hard to hear, especially the multiple speeches/talks throughout the concert. I double checked with a friend, and she had the same problem as well (she ended up requesting for a refund the next day!)

It was such a pity, because the concert itself—starring Michael Fabiano, Nadine Sierra, Pene Pati and Lucas Meachem—seemed to be a beautiful affair that I would have loved to see it in a person. However, one thing that struck me as odd was that for a concert that looked back to the first 100 years of the Company, the lack of any pictures or video clips from the past was unfortunate.

I won’t go into detail for every single detail of the Concert since I wasn’t in “the room where it happened”. Nevertheless, below were a few highlights from what I saw and what I could hear:

The most touching point of the concert was the moment when Pati, shirtless, barefoot, in a traditional skirt, offered Haka and traditional folk song “A Te Tarakihi” to bless the opera house. He was extremely grateful for the opportunity, as he said “Thank you for allowing me to be me on this stage!” and afterwards, seen in close-up he shed a tear of happiness and gratitude. That’s truly the moment when I realized, opera changes lives!

The concert was practically a homage to the late Luciano Pavarotti as well, as he kept being mentioned throughout. Pati once again (in tux this time) offered “Ah! mes amis” from La fille du régiment with an extraordinary ease attacking those 9 high Cs. Can we book him to debut the role here, please, SF Opera?

Sierra and Meachem did the final scene from Thaïs. I checked the Archive, and so far, SF Opera had only performed the opera once, starring Beverly Sills!

Sierra and Fabiano took a lovey-dovey approach to “Tonight” from West Side Story

And the campiest of them all, the four singers did Irving Berlin’s “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)” with lyrics adjusted to opera singing!

Photox: Kristen Loken/San Francisco Opera