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Opera at the Ballpark Survival Guide

 What to know before you go to SF Opera's free simulcast of Rigoletto at AT&T Park this Saturday.

 Verdi's opera Rigoletto will be presented free at AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco on Saturday the 15th. Photo by Edgar Lee, courtesy of SF Opera.

This Saturday the 15th, the San Francisco Opera is bringing a free live simulcast of Rigoletto to AT&T Park. Led by Musical Director Nicola Luisotti, this tragic but tuneful opera features a cast that includes Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic, Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, and Sardinian tenor Francesco Demuro. Viewers will be able to see it on a 103-feet wide HD scoreboard. The audio will be pumped through the stadium’s sound system, which will be augmented with extra speakers. What do you need before you head out to the ballpark?  

Know before you go:

Register online and come early: Though the simulcast is free, field seating is limited and will be filled up. Register online here to be allowed to enter the park at 6:30. Show up at 5 p.m. to ensure the best seat. Lawn chairs won’t be allowed, but you can always sit in the regular seats if the grass isn't your thing.

Be prepared: If you want a drink, tote it in a plastic container. Bringing alcohol into the park is forbidden. Since it’s looking to be about 52 degrees, we recommend a thermos of hot chocolate (and we won’t tell if it’s spiked). A blanket’s not a terrible idea either.

Do your homework: Yes, Rigoletto is sung in Italian, which may make it difficult to follow the tragedy of the plot. But the basics aren’t too hard—since it revolves around a lecherous Duke, a hunchbacked jester, and a terrible curse. It's very European and tragic. Think Shakespeare set to music.

Know the music: Impress your friends by pointing out three standout musical moments: The early solo Caro Nome, Rigoletto’s desperate plea for the return of his daughter in Act II, and the touching duet between father and daughter at the end of the show. Of course, La Donna e Mobile should be instantly recognizable to the whole audience, if not by name then by the music.

Enjoy yourself: Should you think that watching opera at the ballpark makes you a big sellout, you’re wrong. William Ma, a Ph.D. student in art history who has taught classes on opera at UC Berkeley says, “[It actually] recreates the experience of seeing opera at its heyday. Back then, it was a loud and rowdy place, where you could come and go at any time. People would take a break to eat, bet at a gambling table, or visit their favorite prostitute.” 

Get Connected. Tweets with the hashtag #RigoSF will be displayed on the scoreboard during the game, and taking pictures with your camera is encouraged.