Sunday, December 24, 2023

Pat Bond's Last Best Christmas Eve Party

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December 24, 2023

Pat Bond's

Last Best Christmas Eve Party





Pat Bond was a pioneer lesbian performer. She began performing after her moving and funny interview in the 1977 documentary on gay people, Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives. She toured the country with her solo shows, beginning in 1979. For most members of the audience, it was the first time they had ever seen an out lesbian performer.

Gerty Gerty Gerty Stein Is Back Back Back was her most popular performance. She played the legendary Gertrude Stein and recounted humorous stories of Gertrude's life in Paris with her lover Alice B. Toklas. The show was a huge success and was televised repeatedly on PBS stations across the country. Her other well-known stage shows were Conversations with Pat Bond, centering mainly on reminiscences of her wild youth in San Francisco; Murder in the WAC, focusing on the Army's lesbian purge in the late 1940; and Lorena Hickock and Eleanor Roosevelt: A Love Story(Wikipedia) This last play inspired my own play on the subject of Hick and Eleanor.

I was one of Pat's closest friends in her last years. She was a wonderful combination of hilarious and irascible. 

Pat was diagnosed with cancer in 1990. By the end of the year, she had descended from the rehab hospital to the regular hospital and from there to the dreaded nursing home (although this one was very nice).

Christmas was approaching. Pat always had a Christmas Eve party. This party was the ONLY party she ever had, and it was a very big deal to her. Not that she did any work other than putting her little plastic tree on the table in her tiny studio apartment, and opening up several cans each of marinated mushrooms and smoked oysters. It was up to the guests to supply more food and holiday decor, and we did. We had no choice. If you were her friend, you were REQUIRED to attend the Christmas Eve party. 

The thought that she might not have a Christmas Eve party because she was in the nursing home distressed Pat. So I promised her a party in her room, and invited ten friends. As Christmas Eve approached, Pat was clearly moving toward the end of her life. On December 23, her friend Donald visited. She seemed comatose until he said goodby to her. Then she suddenly opened her eyes and said sharply, “You’re coming to my party, aren’t you?” He assured her he was. I think those were her last words.

On Christmas Eve morning, I got a call about 11 am from the nursing home that Pat was going fast.  I jumped in Pat’s car and zipped over the bridge to Marin. 

It is my experience that one needs a minimum of three for a decent support system. Kind of like a stool needs three legs. Pat had that: Me, Gail and Little Sun. All three of us pulled in to the parking lot at the same moment. That seemed rather cosmic, as I was the only one who had gotten a call. We rushed into Pat’s room. She seemed unconscious and was breathing in a very labored, rasping way. I guess it’s what they call the death rattle.  I panicked and ran to the nurse and pleaded, “Can you give her some oxygen right away?” The nurse said to me very gently, “Dear, I think oxygen would make YOU feel better. But I don’t think it would help Miss Bond at this point.” 

I will always be grateful to that nurse. I had written a play about the cruelty of extending a life that was ending. I had performed that play countless times. But when I was actually confronted with the situation, my automatic impulse was to try to turn back the river.

I went back to Pat’s room. The three of us stood around her bed, holding hands. Listening to those labored gasps. What should we do? After all, it WAS Christmas Eve, and Pat loved Christmas carols. We began singing, very tentatively. It just so happened that our voices blended beautifully. Our singing got stronger. We harmonized. The sound was really lovely. We went through all the carols we knew. Then we started on folk songs. Gail and Little Sun and I had talked endlessly on the phone with each other, we’d conferred with doctors together, but we had never sung together until that moment. Who would have thought our three voices would make such a glorious sound?

As we sang, Pat’s breath came at longer and longer intervals. We kept singing. Her breath wouldn’t come for 30 seconds. We kept singing. Michael Row the Boat Ashore has a lot of verses, and when you run through those, it’s easy to make up your own.

Such as:

Patty Bond’s a crazy gal


She’s my buddy and I’m her pal


At some points, it would seem like Pat had stopped breathing, but then... there would be another labored gasp. We kept singing. We kept singing and singing, and finally there were no more breaths, and we kept singing. We sang for a long time after what turned out to be Pat’s last breath.

Then we were quiet. I felt peaceful. I didn’t feel grief or sadness yet. It had been so perfect for the three of us to sing Pat across the bridge. 

Then the guests started arriving for Pat’s last Christmas Eve party. As Donald pointed out, Pat had always had a great sense of timing. Charlotte had brought champagne. She poured everyone a glass and we stood around Pat’s still body. We toasted this courageous lesbian pioneer, this great storyteller, this loyal and cantankerous friend. Pat Bond, laughing that great honking laugh, as she regaled an audience -- or a few friends -- with tales of gay life in the 50‘s in San Francisco -- like the time she had friends lock her in her room so she wouldn’t go out carousing. 

Donald had brought marinated mushrooms and smoked oysters. He put two each on little paper plates and passed them around. The beautiful music, that Pat's three-legged stool had made, still resonated in that hospital room.    We felt her spirit, hovering over us. We all knew that even death was not keeping Pat Bond from having a good time at her last --and best-- Christmas Eve party.


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

What's So Jewish About The Jewish State?


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December 19, 2023

What's So JEWISH About the Jewish State?




What exactly does it mean that Israel is a Jewish state? Does it simply mean that the majority of the citizens are Jews and that any Jew has a right to come and live there? And that the state is entitled to act like other states, and get away with anything it can get away with?

Or must a Jewish state meet a higher standard than other nations? Does it have an obligation to use its power in the world for good?

I am Jewish. Unlike friends who call themselves "recovering Catholics," I am not a recovering Jew. My recovering friends see their childhood experience with Catholicism as toxic, an illness they had to recover from. I feel the opposite. I believe that my moral vision, my desire to save the world, began in my family's practice of Judaism.


Despite the fact that my father grew up Orthodox, my immediate family was not very religious. But every year we went to a Passover seder at my Auntie Sarah's house. Every year we sat around a table with the aunts, uncles and cousins on my father's side. We read the Passover Haggadah aloud.

Passover is a very political holiday. It celebrates the Jews' escape from slavery in Egypt. I believe that Passover is the carrier of the moral vision of Judaism.

We ate charoses, a delicious paste of apples, walnuts and wine, on matzah, a dry tasteless cracker. The charoses represents the mortar the enslaved Jews used to build the pyramids. The matzah represents the bread dough that didn't have time to rise because the Jews had to take what they had and get the hell out of Egypt.

For me as a child, slavery was made real and escape from slavery was made real.

And when we recited the names of the ten plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians, we dipped our fingers in our wine (or grape juice) ten times, and scattered a few drops on the plate. We are commanded to remove wine from our glass so that our celebration of our freedom cannot be total. Why? Because Egyptians had to suffer, even die in order for the Jews to make their escape.

Compassion for the enemy, even the slave master, was made real to me.

Another significant Passover ritual came at the end, when we all said, "Next year in Jerusalem."

(I'm realizing as I'm writing this: That one sentence, "Next year in Jerusalem," was the carrier of many Jews' longing to return to their ancestral land with all the political power of a sovereign state. That has turned out to be a very dicey proposition.)

Of course the Haggadah was developed long before the state of Israel came into being. The Haggadah goes on to say, "We still say 'Next year in Jerusalem,' because the whole world is not at peace. We will only truly be in Jerusalem when we have world peace. "

That the Jews' destiny was inseparable from all of humanity was made real to me.


My family never talked about Israel when I was growing up. To me, it was just a fact that it existed. My cousin Sam, who attended the same childhood seders, was a Zionist. For Sam, Judaism was absolutely central, and he passionately wanted to be part of the Jewish State. Israel was the only place he could truly live among Jews in a Jewish society. He ended up moving there with his wife and small children decades ago.

For me, Judaism has never been focused on Israel. It has been about social justice. Unlike Christianity, there is nothing in Judaism that says you have to be Jewish to be saved. Nothing says that only Jews go to heaven. It is very clear in the Torah that anyone can be a good person and live a good life without being Jewish.


Admittedly, there are clear messages in Jewish texts that Jews are the Chosen People. But we were never chosen to rule over others. We were chosen to bring God's moral law to the world. And, let's face it, folks: For its time, the Ten Commandments were pretty damn advanced. Scholars say they might have been written as early as the 16th century BCE. Whenever the Ten Commandments came into being, "Thou shalt not kill" was a pretty radical idea at the time.

Sadly, it remains a pretty radical idea.


Another Jewish contribution to the ancient world was the belief that society could get better -- more peaceful, more just. Other ancient people's view of history was cyclical: The more things changed the more they stayed the same; the poor will always be with us; the rich will always come out on top. The world is the way it is, and that's that.

But the Torah does not accept this passive view. The Torah says history is moving upward toward a better and more just world. And if it isn't, it SHOULD be, and we'd better start cracking to make it happen! The Jewish prophets, who lived from 750 BCE to 350 BCE, introduced the concept of social justice. They proclaimed that poverty and oppression were NOT an inherent part of life. The existence of unnecessary suffering and inequality was a sign that something was terribly WRONG with society. Widows and orphans and others in need must be taken care of! This vision of ethical progress was bequeathed to Western civilization by the Jewish prophets..

After the Jews were driven from Israel in the First Century CE, Rabbinic Judaism became the carrier of the ethical tradition. The moral leaders were teachers, not prophets. One rabbinic concept that I find very powerful is referred to by the phrase "Whose blood is redder?" This is taken to mean that, since everyone's blood is the same color, everyone's life is of equal value. No one can consider their life more important than anyone else. People are basically equal. All of them. Everywhere. Jew, non-Jew, black white. This concept was articulated by the Sage Rabbah, who lived in the Third Century CE.


Feel the reverberations of this absolute expression of universal equality.


I have felt so much pride in Judaism's great contributions to the humanistic tradition. And now I feel great shame at what Israel is doing in Gaza. Not only is it evil, it's stupid! They're creating more terrorists than they're killing with their senseless bombing. They are actually using what our military calls 'dumb' bombs, to guarantee that destruction and death are spread as widely as possible.

The Israelis even murdered three ISRAELI hostages who had somehow escaped or were abandoned by their captors. These young men were shirtless to show they had no bombs under their clothes and were waving a scrap of white cloth, the universal symbol of surrender. And still they were cut down at close range by Israeli soldiers.

We are all forced to wonder how many Palestinian men met the same senseless fate. At least we know the names of the Israeli men who died. Their families know what happened. We will never know the names of all the Palestinians who must have been similarly and pointlessly murdered.

Are the deaths of Palestinians less tragic than the deaths of Israelis?




The nation is wounded and enraged, mindlessly killing Palestinians and reducing Gaza to ruins.They do this because they CAN do this -- thanks to our own country's boundless support for their military.

Israel has lost its soul. Its leaders are violent and corrupt. They are also incompetent. (See headline below right.)

A country

bereft of any moral vision

cannot be Jewish.

Israel is a state with a majority of Jews. But it is not a Jewish state. It is a state like any other. As such, it does not deserve my allegiance or my cash.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Chanukah Hilarity & My Palindromic Auntie


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December 13, 2023

Chanukah Chilarity


My Palindromic Auntie




Yes, it's Chanukah! That means it's time to spend one minute and 18 seconds watching


on Youtube!

Really, you should.

Carolyn is chilarious!

Of course all the passion and anger swirling around Israel and the Jews at this moment makes it difficult to focus on celebrating a holiday. And I have begun a blog about Israel/Gaza/Palestine/Judaism/Antisemitism.

But now I want to celebrate Chanukah and offer you MOISHE THE GREEN-NOSED HERRING to make you laugh. I want to rejoice in my reasonably happy childhood and my relatively sane family. And I particularly want to honor the memory of my wonderful Auntie Hannah, who rewrote the lyrics of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER so that, in a world awash with "Silent Night," all us cousins would have our very own holiday song.

Hannah's husband, my Uncle Bob, also made a crucial contribution to the celebration --- Latkes! Something fried in oil is essential to the Chanukah party, because we're celebrating the miracle of having enough oil to keep the eternal flame in the Jerusalem temple burning for eight days. In order to use lots of oil, my family, Ashkenazi Jews from Russia, makes potato pancakes -- latkes. Sephardic Jews, from Southern Europe, fry doughnuts.

I must confess I had no idea how lucky we all were to have Uncle Bob cooking those latkes. They have rarely been equaled in my experience. Deliciously crispy, never greasy, cooked through and well and lightly seasoned -- Heavenly!

Oh, where are the latkes of yesteryear?!?

Perhaps right here! Click for Uncle Bob's Recipe.

Sure, Trader Joe's ain't bad, as Tara demonstrated to me this year. But Uncle Bob's -- to die for!

I loved my Auntie Hannah. She was the one who not only wrote the song but also created the song sheets for the holidays. She was the one who put together the Haggadah for Passover -- a Haggadah, that I still use.

A haggadah is the text recited on the first two nights of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It tells the story of the Exodus, when the Jews fled slavery in Egypt.

After Uncle Bob died, Hannah continued living on her own in Los Angeles. Eventually, she and my mother were the Last Matriarchs

Still Standing. By that time, they were both well into their 80s. They talked on the phone every morning. Hannah used to joke, "We need to find out if we're both still breathing." Mainly, they worked on the L.A. Times crossword puzzle together, supplying each other with words that the other one hadn't guessed yet.

Hannah adored Mom. Very few did. My mother could be prickly. Mom wasn't all that nice to Hannah. I think it was because she was insanely jealous of Hannah's plentiful descendants. While my mother had one (admittedly fabulous) granddaughter, Hannah had four grandchildren and ... eight maybe?... great-grandchildren. AND Hannah had the jewelry to prove it! You know, one of those necklaces with a charm for each human descended from somebody who's descended from somebody who's descended from somebody who came out of your body. Hannah wore it all the time.

How could my mother compete? Besides the aforementioned fabulous Rose, all Mom had was money! Once Mom complained to me, after we'd come home from eating out together, that Hannah expected my mom to foot the bill too often. I blew up.

Here's why: During the Great Depression, my grandfather's furniture store in Omaha went bankrupt. His three children -- my father and his two sisters Sarah and Hannah -- were obligated to support their destitute parents. My father couldn't contribute because he was going to GRADUATE SCHOOL! He had to work to support HIMSELF when he wasn't studying. He couldn't contribute to supporting his parents.

So big brother Macy went off to Columbia University in New York City to study journalism. Older sister Sarah moved with her new husband to Los Angeles to look for work. It had to be better than Omaha! Sarah's parents (my grandparents) followed, perhaps hoping to help with grandchildren soon to arrive. So younger sister Hannah, who was supposed to be starting college, was left in Omaha to work full-time and send money to her parents in L.A.

It's an old story. The daughter has to sacrifice so that the son may advance and thrive. No one questioned such priorities at the time. After all, times were really hard. The family had to work together in order for the family to survive. Better to invest in a smart son than a smart daughter.

So Hannah never went to college.She sacrificed her own future for MY family's future financial well-being! In my opinion, my mother owed Hannah a hell of a lot more than a few lunches. Of course Hannah was a very sweet woman and held no grudge against my dad. He was, according to her, "the best older brother anyone could ever have, always looking out for me." She had always adored him.

I fiercely monitored Mom's behavior toward Hannah. But Hannah herself never seemed bothered by anything Mom said or did. When my mother died at 92, Hannah was devastated. I think she felt the loss more than anyone. When it was time to decide what to put on the plaque for Mom's crypt, I was having trouble figuring out what to say. I knew the traditional word to use was "beloved." But I was having trouble putting that in stone. I asked Hannah's help. She immediate volunteered "Adored sister-in-law!" And I thought, Hannah adored Mom, certainly Dad did. So "adored" she shall be for eternity!

A while after Mom died, Hannah had a bad fall at home. My cousins Miriam and Sam decided she needed to move to live closer to one of them. Hannah was reluctant to leave her life in L.A. She was surrounded by helpful neighbors, but her kids felt strongly that wasn't enough. So she agreed to move up to Modesto to an independent living setting near Miriam.

Modesto is an hour and a half from San Francisco, so Miriam was able to bring Hannah to one of my giant garden parties. It wasn't so easy for Hannah to navigate down the half flight of stairs into the backyard. But once she'd ensconced herself at the large round table under the flowering tamarisk tree, she was set.

She introduced herself to everyone the same way: "Hello, I'm Hannah. My name is a palindrome, which means it reads the same way backwards and forwards. That's perfect for ME, because I don't know whether I'm coming or going!"

Needless to say, Hannah was the belle of the ball. Everyone wanted to sit near my auntie, the wise-cracking Jewish grandma, so often encountered in sit-coms but rarely in real life.

Hannah stayed until the almost all guests had left. As she pulled herself up the backstairs with Miriam's help, she turned back to me and announced, "I'm coming back next year!"

Hannah had come to watch Carolyn and me perform MOISHE at our December show, CRONES FOR THE HOLIDAYS, in San Francisco the year before. Sh was totally tickled by it and thrilled to be introduced in the audience as the brilliant lyricist. The next year, she was very much looking forward to attending CRONES FOR THE HOLIDAYS -- THE SEQUEL, to hear her masterpiece performed once again and to be honored as its creator.

So when the doctor told her that her heart was giving out and she didn't have much time left, she asked him if she would live through the holiday season. Hannah told me, "And when that doctor told me I probably wouldn't live that long, I told him, 'To hell with you! I'm not dying until I see my song MOISHE performed onstage again in San Francisco!"

This from someone who had made it very clear to everyone that she'd had enough of life! She was 94 and she'd told Miriam she did NOT want to stick around to see a cake with 95 candles. And yet, her desire to hear an audience laugh at MOISHE one more time was so powerful, she wanted to hold out a little longer.

But in the end, it was not to be. Although she was still alive, she never made it to a performance. While our show was having its run, Hannah was in a coma in a hospice in Modesto. I asked Miriam if I should come visit and say goodby, but she said, "What's the point? She won't even know you're here."

I kept waiting to hear that Hannah had passed. I would call Miriam to check, but, nope, Hannah was still alive. She was not receiving food or water or medicine of any kind. But she just wasn't dying. The hospice people told Miriam that sometimes happens. When I asked if I should come visit, Miriam's reply was always the same -- "What's the point?"

Hannah lay there for several weeks.  Miriam was very upset that Hannah seemed to be caught between life and death.  She longed for her mother to be released. I finally decided that I just had to see her. I rented a car. I had no one to leave my new puppy with, so I took him with me. I didn't know what I would do with Nikki when we got to the Hospice, but it turned out it wasn't a problem. Every room had a porch that led to the garden. So I could bring my puppy in through the porch. Nikki, young as he was, knew someone was dying. He huddled in a corner, as far away from Hannah as he could get.

I went over to Hannah's bed. Miriam stood on the other side. Hannah was a small woman. Now she looked like a tiny dried-up bird lying under the covers. I sat down next to her, told her about the performances of MOISHE, how much everyone loved the song. I told her that I loved her, that I felt a special connection with her. Not only was she a comic lyricist, Hannah was my most political relative and the only one who contributed to my political campaigns. Theater, politics -- she and I had a lot in common.

Then I said goodby. I don't think I hugged her. I don't remember even touching her while I sat next to her, talking. I hugged Miriam goodby, pulled my puppy out of the corner, got in the car and started driving home.

I was on the road about 45 minutes when the phone rang. It was Miriam. "Hannah just died," she said. "I think she held on so long because she was waiting to say goodby to you. Thank you for coming."

I pulled off the highway and cried, hugging Nikki, and and remembering my special palindromic auntie. She had left the planet after I'd said goodby.

And every Chanukah since, I sing MOISHE THE GREEN-NOSED HERRING and watch the video of Carolyn and me performing my auntie's song, and send out a link to that video, so all my friends can enjoy Hannah's song too.

BELOW: Miriam, Hannah & Me in Modesto for Hannah's last Thanksgiving

Bloggellinis: That's all for now. I'm hoping to send out my thoughts on Israel, Gaza, Judaism and anti-semitism soon. Terry

Wednesday, November 22, 2023



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November 22. 2023

Give Thanks for True Wilderness





(All direct quotes from the NY Times are in blue)

I was filled with wonder yesterday, reading the NY Times' weekly Science section, and finding out about an Oxford expedition into the isolated Cyclops Mountains on the island of New Guinea.

But first a "Wait a minute!" arose in my mind. It was the specter of the horrible history of colonial "exploration" and expeditions. Were these obviously privileged (because from Oxford) Westerners exploiting the local people for their own scientific glory? But in fact, they made a real effort to show their appreciation and gratitude. To quote from the article:

Local residents from the village of Yongsu Separi, including two guides, Zacharias and Samuel Sorondanya, were crucial to finding species and properly placing cameras. Local students also received biodiversity survey training from the researchers during the trek. The team plans to name the new species for the local students and collaborators.

Iain Kobak, co-founder of Yappenda, a conservation and research foundation based in Papua that helped organize the expedition, said that such explorations would help protect the flora and fauna of the area. "I really hope and believe this will become a catalyst for strong conservation of the Cyclops Mountain Range," he said.

I think we can say that these scientists have made a sincere and significant effort to honor the actual people who live in the Cyclops Mountains. Just imagine being a student and having a newly discovered species named for you. This expedition was a good thing.

And, this being the holiday of gratitude, I damn well want to give thanks for THAT!

This is what comes from facing the evils

that your country has done in the past:

It motivates you to change your behavior!

Now let us return to the amazing discoveries that this wilderness had to offer.

The photo below confirms the survival of a bizarre egg-laying mammal, Attenborough's long-beaked echidna, which was thought to be extinct.

The photo below (from Google images) must be from the last time the echidna was seen, in 1961. This mammal is about the size of a house cat. Very little is known about it other than that it eats insects and worms.

Please note this wonderfully strange being was named for David Attenborough, a very famous British scientist and broadcaster, who needed the honor like a hole in the head.

  • This species is one of five living monotremes, a strange group of primitive mammals that includes the platypus and three other echidna species. Monotremes diverged from the common ancestors of other mammals around 200 million years ago. The five species lay eggs and nurse their young with milk through pores in their skin, as they lack nipples, and possess snouts that sense movements and electrical currentsin prey.

And then there's the new species of hopping shrimp, about as big as a grain of rice, which lives nowhere near the ocean:

  • These crustaceans were all over the place, including in trees, moss, rotting longs and even under rocks, said the expedition's lead entomologist. "It's a very weird creature," Dr. Davranoglou said, adding that it's able to leap three or four feet in the air to escape predators. "We were quite awe-struck, really."

" Quite awe-struck, really." I love how the British talk about being awe-struck in the most calm and civilized way.

And as if that weren't enough for one expedition, there's the moss-covered hole:

  • During one climb, a researcher fell into a moss-covered hole that turned out to be an unknown cave system Within it, the team found blind spiders and crickets and a large whip scorpiion, all new to science, Dr. Davranoglou said. The team also found at least three new species of amphibians in the surrounding forest.

Just imagine falling into a hole, which must have been at least a little scary, and discovering a world of unknown creatures! It's like a dream, like a moment from Alice in Wonderland come to life.

This year I give thanks for the jumping shrimp and the blind spiders, the wildness that still exists in this world, the secrets that still abound. I give thanks for the scientists who now name new species after the people who helped them in their work. And especially I give thanks and offer prayers for the survival of Attenborough's long-beaked echidna and, while we're at it, the other four monotreme species. And I give thanks for the New York Times, for bringing me the news of the expedition and the cave discovered through a scientist's slip and fall. May the Times, threatened with extinction like all newspapers, survive along with the little long-beaked echidna into the far off future.

Dear Bloggellinnis: Long time no blog! What can I say? I've been stuck. I've started blogs many times but could never finish one. Have you ever been stuck? I never have been before. I think it's because my collaborator/soul sister/upstairs neighbor Carolyn moved away. But that was more than two years ago. That's a long time to be stuck! I think I secretly wanted to ruin my life to punish Carolyn for moving away. That'll show her, I thought deep down somewhere in my twisty mind! I'll stop doing the work that gives me the most joy. Ha ha! Take that, Carolyn!

But I just had to tell you about these wonderful creatures. And the moss-covered hole. I was quite awe-struck myself, really! I had to share it.

I certainly never ran out of things to say to you. But I'd lost the will to say them. I think I might not be stuck any longer. I know Carolyn will be very relieved if that is true. Terry

Monday, September 11, 2023

$25 Rush Tix B4 11:59pm Today -- SF Opera Il Tovatore -- Fantastic!

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September 11, 2023

$25 Rush Tix B4 1l:59 Today

SF Opera Il Trovatore

Tomorrow -- Fantastic!





  1. Visit us at during the sales period.
  2. Click on the Buy Tickets button.
  3. Choose the September 12 performance of Il Trovatore.
  4. Enter the promo code: SEERUSH.
  5. Select seats and checkout—your discount* will be reflected on the checkout page. Limit 2 tickets.

If you need assistance, call the Box Office at (415) 864-3330.

(I wasn't able to test the links. I think their computer got suspicious of my computer after I tested it once. So do phone if you have problems. Terry)

I have the great fortune to have a good friend who works as a dresser for Broadway shows, the Ballet -- and the San Francisco Opera. She gets two free tickets to the dress rehearsals of the Opera, and she called me in great excitement about Il Trovatore by Verdi, which opens tomorrow Sept.12 at the Opera House. My friend had been hearing the music while she was working backstage, and the singers sounded extraordinary to her.

So I betook myself and a friend who was an opera virgin on Saturday night. My dresser friend was right! It was absolutely wonderful.

Of particular wonder was Angel Blue, below, (I want that name!) as Leonora, which is considered one of the great female opera roles. She sings for 22 consecutive minutes and then at the end has to sing lying down, while she dies. Both of these are considered real feats in the operatic world. But those are just impressive facts. Her ability to communicate deep emotions, and especially her voice -- these are difficult to describe. I really don't know anything about opera, but Blue's voice... again, I am at a loss for words.

Ekaterina Semenchuk was deeply moving as Azucena, the gypsy woman who seeks to avenge the death of her mother, who was burned at the stake as a witch.

In the scene above, Azucena is joined by her beloved son, the Troubador who gives the opera its title. Well, actually, he's NOT her son. He's the son of the old Count and the brother of the young Count, who is his sworn enemy and his rival for the beauteous Leonora. You see, after her mom was murdered, Azucena stole the baby in revenge, but she got him confused with her OWN baby and....

Well, this is opera, folks. I can only say that the storry was thrilling, compelling and worthy of suspending your disbelief.

Verdi's music is just plain gorgeous -- lovely or gripping melodies, duets, trios, arias -- all that great stuff that you don't get in most modern operas, which have scores that could have written by ME, they're so bland. The orchestra was dynamic and never too loud, under the expert leadership of Eun Sun Kim, the new musical director.


Why not start out at the top?!


Well, if you hate this production, you really DO hate opera!


Try the lush, emotional, varied music of Verdi, the greatest of opera composers.


You MUST experience Angel Blue as Leonora!


All for now, Bloggellinis. Terry