Survival Guide: Opera at the Ballpark

For recent social events the theme seems to be “in the pursuit of culture and class”. About a month ago Jen, Yvo Nick and I went to shiver in see La Traviata at the Opera in the Ballpark. While I’m not an opera aficionado three things spurned me forward to agree to such an event.

  • It’s free. The magical keys to my soul.
  • Standing on a major league baseball field is one of my bucket list activities that I had wanted to check off.
  • Regret. In my youth, I had passed on orchestra tickets from my god-grandmother to see Madame Butterfly at the San Francisco Opera. A young Jessica thought these types of activities were boring.

Normally for events like these I do no research about what’s playing, instead deciding my time is better spent by trying to figure out what to wear. It was a warm day in the South Bay, but San Francisco and AT&T Park would definitely be chilly. Tried Googling “ballpark opera attire” to come up with no hits that would really help me decide.

Ended up opting for an outfit similar to this:

A blouse in case it’s too warm, but a jacket to cover up, ripped AG Jeans and then comfy flats since we’d be taking CalTrain to the event and walking.

What I should have worn was this:

Full length parka, thick sweater, covered up converse, and not ripped jeans.

When we arrived it was breezy but relatively warm. The front gate was a line about 20 people deep, so we opted to go into the entrance near the bridge which had no line at all. Got there around 6pm even though the show started at 8pm. Quickly made it through security and proceeded to move to the field where we received wristbands that would limit the capacity on the field. At 7pm they field was at capacity. Found a plot of grass for four people and began to unfurl our blankets. I had brought my own thinking that my outfit might not be warm enough and Jen had packed 3 for the group.

When we were still warmish.

When we were still warmish.

Then we laid out our dinner provisions. Jen had made Korean sushi type rolls, red velvet cupcakes, and I had brought pies from Heidi’s. Nick and Yvonne had brought snacks as well as our beverages for the evening.

We devoured the food quickly as the sun was setting and things took a quick turn for the cold. Creativity turned us into a 4 person blanket burrito, but even with the blankets that we had, it wasn’t warm enough. For anyone who wants to sit on the field like we did, I would suggest bringing a sleeping bag to keep the dew and fog at bay.

The Opera starts at 8pm, and whilst watching I suddenly realize “The main lady is a hooker!” I gasp, and conclude that I enjoy operas. The proper term for the leading lady is courtesan. I watch intently now and the story reminds me a lot of Moulin Rouge. As entertaining as the opera is Yvo and I are freezing and I decide to lay down so that the gusts of wind pass over me instead of wafting all around me. I tilt my head up to continue to watch, but yes while this position is incredibly sad, it is warmer. Yvo joins me, and we continue to watch like the dorks we are, trying to keep warm.

Cringing at the cold.

Cringing at the cold.

During the breaks from sniffling we take turns going to the bathroom, and Yvo realizes that it’s warmer in the stands. We pack up our belongings and end up watching from the comfort of being wrapped in blankets in the bleachers.

From the stands.

From the stands.

At the end of La Traviata simulcast what was cute was that all the opera singers came back out for their bows still in costume, but with the added accessories of Giants gear.

Pro-tips if you go next year:

  • Bring sleeping bags & pillows.
  • Gatorade is a good drink to bring *winks*,
  • No matter how warm it is anywhere, SF in the summer by the water is freezing.
  • Bring tissue for the sniffling.
  • Being able to bring in food makes this night super affordable.

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