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Friday Slide Show: Opera In The Park Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

16 September 2016

We never miss Opera in the Park. But we've come close. This year we were only able to attend briefly, so we didn't sit down. We set the Nikon D300 manually to expose for the diffused light of the foggy afternoon and circled Sharon Meadow, looking for shots.

Opera in the Park. Two shows: the stage and the crowd.

September is supposed to be our best weather, but it seems like October is challenging for the title. But Opera in the Park won't be moving to October just for the climate.

It's always held on the opening weekend of the opera season, after Friday's the first performance. This year celebrated the 94th season of the San Francisco Opera.

It's usually the first Sunday of the National Football League season. And often in conflict with the home team's opener. Which, some years, would inspire an update from the stadium during intermission.

That was not an issue this year with the home team playing a Monday night game.

But Opera in the Park beats the NFL in this respect: there's always two shows going on.

There's the one on stage, with members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra traditionally wearing some very odd head gear to stay warm.

It's a rare chance to hear world class opera singers doing what they love to do at no charge to you. You do have to love that.

Then there's the show on the grass. The crowd. Some parties set up very short tables of very tempting delicacies. And you can't go too far without spotting an open wine bottle.

There's a good deal of reading going on, too. And some napping. Conversation is frowned upon and often rebuked. This isn't the time to catch up with friends.

It's a rare chance to hear world class opera singers doing what they love to do at no charge to you. You do have to love that.

This year, the singers included sopranos: Julie Adams, Amina Edris, Pureum Jo and Anna Pirozzi; mezzo-sopranos J'Nai Bridges and Irene Roberts; tenors Lawrence Brownlee, Pene Pati and Yijie Shi; and baritones George Gagnidze, Lucas Meachem and David Pershall.

In the slide show, you'll see Luca Meachem singing Robert's Aria from Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, Irene Roberts singing D'amour l'ardente flame from Berlioz's La damnation de Faust (which we mentioned earlier this week), Pureum Jo and Yijie Shi singing the Love Duet from Sheng's Dream of the Red Chamber (which will have its world premiere here this season), Pene Pati singing La donna è mobile from Verdi's Rigoletto (which he'll sing next year) and Anna Pirozzi singing La mamma morta from Giordano's Andrea Chénier (the first production of the season).

With the 18-200mm Nikkor on the 1.5x crop factor D300, our longest reach is the equivalent of a 300mm lens. We tend to appreciate the inclusiveness of the wide angle for crowd shots while being disappointed that we can't get closer to the stage at the telephoto end.

There are a couple of solutions for the telephoto problem. Your feet. So we moved in a little closer (without blocking anyone's view). And in post production we cropped as much of the black plastic backdrop as we could.

To our surprise, we did less tonal and color editing than usual. A little Clarity, recover some Shadow detail, punch up the Highlights on a few. We also slightly cut the Saturation. It was foggy, after all, not bright sunlight.

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