April 6, 2024    
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


201 Franklin St, San Francisco, California, 94102

Event Type

In a captivating double-bill, Opera Parallèle throws together two seemingly incongruous operas, “Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera” and the world premiere of “Balls,” to craft a theatrically enthralling experience. This innovative pairing delves into the complexities of competition, exploring its power to dominate individuals and the unwavering human ambition for victory, all delivered with a comedic touch.

“Vinkensport,” a bittersweet one-act comedy, draws inspiration from the obscure Flemish folk tradition of Finch-Sitting. A motley crew of contenders engages in a peculiar competition, each aiming to boast the bird with the most melodious voice. Over the course of an hour, their trained finches engage in a race to sing the most “susk-e-wiets,” gradually revealing the joys, sorrows, and delusions that plague their trainers. Some trainers exude nobility, while others resort to trickery. A few compete with genuine enthusiasm, while others find themselves reluctantly drawn into the fray. Yet, a sense of camaraderie emerges as they seek solace in the company of their feathered companions and the fragile hope of belonging to a community.

Shifting gears entirely, “Balls” takes the form of a multimedia opera that dramatically reimagines the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes,” this match transcended the realm of sports, forever altering the perception and treatment of women in athletics and significantly propelling the women’s rights movement forward. The opera ingeniously incorporates a live tennis match as a core plot device, complete with the use of authentic commentary from the original 1973 broadcast. It further elevates the narrative by weaving electronic music samples into the score and employing a touch of creative time travel. Through this technique, iconic figures like sportscasters Larry King and Howard Cosell find themselves sharing the stage with the pioneering American suffragette, Susan B. Anthony.

“We’re essentially creating a mash-up of two sporting events, set against the vibrant backdrop of the 1970s,” explains Brian Staufenbiel, the Creative Director of Opera Parallèle. “Imagine this – ABC Wide World of Sports showcasing Vinkensport, followed by a sudden shift to the SFJAZZ Astrodome for the main event. The Miner Auditorium’s circular design creates an immersive atmosphere, transporting the audience directly into the heart of a sports arena. To further enhance the experience, we’ll be utilizing projections across all the surrounding walls.”

Important Note: This production incorporates visuals and content that may be considered explicit and is therefore recommended for mature audiences only.

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