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Dueling Divas From SF Opera Lab

September 18, 2018

For grand opera at its grandest, nothing beats a War Memorial Opera House production. San Francisco Opera wraps up performances of Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, and Roberto Devereux this month, but “opera curious” readers — those drawn to the mainstage drama but put off by the pomp of the whole scene — have reason to delight.

“Battle of the Divas,” a pop-up event presented by S.F. Opera Lab, takes to The Great Northern, a SOMA-area nightclub, this Thursday, Sept. 20, for one night only. The venue, named San Francisco Magazine’s “Best Nightclub” in 2018, will host a lineup of guest artists, as well as a rowdy, 21-and-over crowd, in what is being advertised as a “vocal showdown.”

Aria Umezawa, a stage director and second year Adler Fellow at S.F. Opera, oversees the event, which presents “operatic artistry along with unapologetic camp.” Adler Fellows Sarah Cambidge, Natalie Image, Ashley Dixon, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, and Amitai Pati take alternating turns as divas and divos. A mysterious emcee, dubbed “The Queen of the Night,” officiates.

Umezawa emphasizes that the focus of the evening, the most recent in a series of pop-ups hosted by S.F. Opera Lab, is on “having fun.” A part of Opera Lab’s broader mission to engage Bay Area audiences outside of the typical operagoer, the event guarantees theatrics, world-class singing, and active audience participation. And for the diva devotees, surprise appearances from current S.F. Opera artists are teasingly promised.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, with a VIP option as well.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].