Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Watching the San Francisco Opera perform for free at the Stern Grove Festival was a real treat. Aside from going to church that day, we didn't have anything planned. Spontaneity ruled the day!

I woke up on Sunday morning to the pleasant sound of birds chirping. From the bedroom window, I could see sunshine, blue skies and squirrels already busy running their morning errands which is a scene one doesn't always see in the city. More like living in the country. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the entire house. The first thing that came to mind was having breakfast outside by the deck. The Salvadorean is already reading the Sunday paper because I can hear him turning a page. He already prepared the coffee, the bagel, the andouille sausages and was just waiting for me to finally get up so he can start making some eggs over easy.

The breakfast that took forever to prepare took only half an hour to finish. The Salvadorean reads the Travel section of the Chronicle first while I peruse the Pink section (Sunday San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook). This is one of our unspoken rules that has developed over the years. From the Pink section, we learned that the SF Opera is performing at the Stern Grove. The sun was out with a little breeze so we thought the area of the city where Stern Grove is located is free of fog. And we were right!

It was so clear that day that I could see the Pacific Ocean from the corner of Sloat @ 19th Ave. It was 1pm when we got to the Grove and there were many people walking to the park's entrance. I had the feeling that we will again be scouting for seats under the redwood trees. This time it was a great idea because the trees provided the needed shade. The fog didn't roll in until two days after.

The incline of the ground where we were at was sort of steep so we had to sit at an angle and clench every muscle so we won't slide down. There was not a lot of friction between the mat and our cargo shorts and between the mat and the ground therefore we had to reposition ourselves periodically. We did that also to prevent our legs from getting numb by staying in one position for too long.

The pieces presented were mostly Mozart's which I think was sliced from the SF Opera's current season programme. From the conversations going on around us, it seemed like we were surrounded with folks that are musically inclined - a baritone behind me, two sopranos and a tenor on my left. For someone who is not familiar with the opera, I was expecting to hear the more popular pieces from Bach, Hayden and Verdi's. More like an 'Opera 101' kind of thing, just like the one I saw in Rome, Italy not too long ago.

But hey. What can go wrong with a free performance at the Stern Grove? In fact, it was very good. Good quality music coupled with a good pastrami sandwich, a good wine, a great weather, and a great partner. I had a relaxing weekend.

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