San Francisco Opera Provides a Drive-In Experience

By Cicero A. Estrella

The San Francisco Opera has been presenting classic performances online during the pandemic, but this week it will give opera lovers a chance to watch a larger-than-life performance on a big screen.

The company will host a one-time showing of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Fort Mason Flix Drive-In on Oct. 25. The performance starring French soprano Natalie Dessay in the title role was filmed in HD at the War Memorial Opera House in 2008, and will be shown at the Marina District pop-up drive-in’s 40-by-20-square-foot LED screen.

Attendees will also be able to purchase food from Off the Grid food trucks.

Based on Sir Walter Scott’s popular Waverly novels, Donizetti’s 18356 bel canto masterpiece follows the tragic heroine Lucia after she loses her sanity after she is betrayed by her brother Enrico, and spurned by her lover Edgardo. Graham Vick and Marco Gandini directed, and Jean-Yves Ossonce conducted the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

The 2008 performance also features the company debut of Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti as Edgardo, and Italian baritone Gabriele Viviani as Enrico. The cast is rounded out by Oren Gradus (Raimondo), Matthew O’Neill (Normanno), Andrew Bidlack (Arturo) and Cybele Gouverneur (Alisa).

Social-distancing measures will be in place during the event. A maximum capacity of 98 cars with pre-purchased ticks will be admitted for the 6 p.m. showing. Vehicles will be spaced 6 feet apart with an 18-foot drive lane every two rows. Guests must remain in their cars during the showing, and must wear masks when visiting concessions or restrooms.

Tickets are $49 per vehicle, plus a $5 handling fee, and must be purchased in advance at or by calling the SF Opera box office at 415.864-3330. Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd.

Photos courtesy Terrence McCarthy/San Francisco Opera


Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite San Francisco Bay Area spots delivered to your inbox every week