Eun Sun Kim, Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Jamie Barton
Left to Right: Music Director Eun Sun Kim, Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen, and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton celebrate the return of live opera with SFO in the War Memorial | Credit: San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera’s “Live and in Concert: The Homecoming” is a many-splendored event, taking place live on Sept. 10 in the War Memorial and telecast free to the SF Giants’ Oracle Park.

The name refers to both the Opera’s reopening after the painful pandemic hiatus and the reunion of Music Director Eun Sun Kim with two principal singers in the 2019 Rusalka, which was both her conducting debut in the War Memorial and the resounding success that led to her engagement as music director.

Eun Sun Kim’s conducting debut received unanimous acclaim by the orchestra, cast, critics, and audiences. A veteran orchestra musician said after Kim’s debut: “She is perhaps the best conductor we’ve had in a long time. So musical and she ‘looks’ like the phrasing. No ego, all music. And she speaks Czech!” She is the company’s first woman and Asian music director, her career is part of a long-delayed historical trend.

The concert will include orchestral selections; arias from Traviata, La favorite, and Rusalka; plus duets from Anna Bolena, Aida, and Norma. Tickets for the concert with Rachel Willis-Sørensen (who sang the title role of Rusalka), Jamie Barton (Ježibaba), and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra are not available online, only by calling the SF Opera box office at (415) 864-3330. Admission to Oracle Park is free, but online registration is recommended.

SF Opera at the Ballpark
The concert will be transmitted in high definition live from the stage of the War Memorial to the 71-foot-high Mitsubishi Electronic Diamond Vision Board | Credit: San Francisco Opera

There are special events organized with the concert, including pre-curtain and intermission receptions on the Loggia in the Opera House and a dinner following the concert in the Green Room of the Veterans Building. A previously scheduled “Homecoming Supper” has been canceled.

A paid simulcast option is available for a private luxury suite “with classic ballpark fare” in the Oracle Suite Level of Oracle Park, at $5,000 for 10 tickets, including complimentary parking in Lot A. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks are required in the War Memorial and in the ballpark.

In 1932, when the War Memorial Opera House opened with Tosca (above), there was audio “live streaming” of Lucia di Lammermoor, which followed, to the Civic Auditorium and Civic Center Plaza | Credit: SF Opera Archive

“The Homecoming” will be the 13th Opera at the Ballpark simulcast and part of a tradition that started in 1932 — yes 89 years ago — when Lily Pons in Lucia di Lammermoor was heard both in the new Opera House and — through cables and loudspeakers — in the Civic Auditorium. The innovative way to share the in-house experience with audiences outside continued with SF Opera’s live telecasts and with the 1985 Ring, which was transmitted to screens in Davies Symphony Hall, where Ring conductor Edo de Waart was SF Symphony’s music director.

In 2006, incoming General Director David Gockley initiated regular simulcasts of San Francisco Opera performances to Civic Center Plaza, Frost Amphitheater, and then-AT&T/now-Oracle Park.