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Where to See The Opera in San Francisco

Where to See The Opera in San Francisco

Enjoy an elegant night enjoying some of the most compelling performances in the world with our guide on where to see opera in SF. Team


2 min read

December 29, 2023

San Francisco, known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and vibrant cultural scene, is also a haven for opera enthusiasts. The city offers a variety of venues where one can enjoy this classic art form. Whether you're a seasoned opera aficionado or a curious newcomer, San Francisco's opera scene is both accessible and engaging.

1. War Memorial Opera House

At the heart of San Francisco's opera scene is the War Memorial Opera House. This historic venue, located in the Civic Center, is home to the San Francisco Opera, one of the world's leading opera companies. The building, which opened in 1932, boasts stunning Beaux-Arts architecture, making it a visual treat as well as an auditory one. With a seating capacity of nearly 3,200, it offers a grand setting for some of the most acclaimed opera productions in the world. From classic operas by Verdi and Puccini to contemporary works, the War Memorial Opera House provides a diverse repertoire each season.

The opera houses in San Francisco are both great pieces of architecture and fantastic performance venues.

2. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music

For those looking for a more intimate opera experience, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is a must-visit. This prestigious institution not only educates some of the finest upcoming talents in opera but also hosts performances featuring its students. These shows are often more avant-garde and experimental, offering a fresh perspective on the art form. The conservatory's performances are a great way to witness the future stars of opera.

3. Davies Symphony Hall

Although primarily known for symphonic music, Davies Symphony Hall, located in the Van Ness Avenue cultural corridor, occasionally hosts opera performances. The hall is renowned for its outstanding acoustics and modern design. It's a part of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, offering a variety of musical performances, including occasional opera concerts by visiting companies.

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4. The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, with its stunning architecture reminiscent of ancient Greece, offers a unique backdrop for opera performances. While not exclusively an opera venue, it does host opera events from time to time, especially those that blend different art forms. Its breathtaking lagoon and rotunda make it a picturesque spot for pre- or post-show strolls.

5. Pocket Opera

For a more unconventional opera experience, Pocket Opera is a delightful option. This company is known for presenting operas in an accessible and condensed format, making them ideal for those who might find traditional opera intimidating. Performances are often held in smaller, more intimate venues across the city, offering a close-up view of the talented performers.

Opera and other classical forms of artistry and steeped in interesting history.

San Francisco's opera scene is as diverse as the city itself. From grand, historic venues like the War Memorial Opera House to innovative performances at the Conservatory of Music, there's something for everyone. Whether you're a lifelong opera lover or just exploring this art form, San Francisco's offerings are sure to enchant and inspire. With a mix of traditional and contemporary productions, the city's opera venues reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of this timeless art form.

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