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Vo l u m e I i I • S u m m e r 2 0 1 2 Curtain S A N F R A NCIS C O O PERA B E H I N D T H E A P U B L I C AT I O N E X C L U S I V E LY F O R SAN FRANCISCO OPERA CONTRIBUTORS Opening Doors An Interview with Board Member and C o m m u n i t y Vo l u n t e e r S y l v i a L i n d s e y “I am proud of the ways we are nurturing future thankful for people who act as our ambassadors to the community at large.” – David Gockley General Director Letter from David Gockley on page two P H O T O B Y D R E W A LT I Z E R opera-goers, and House,” she remarks. “And in 1983, I inaugurated the African-American Theater Party.” Through this annual event, about forty kids, mostly underprivileged, attend an Opera performance and dinner. “Last year we attended Carmen for Families and one girl, who is at risk of falling in with gangs, told me, ‘José didn’t have to kill Carmen. He could have made a different choice.’ She got that from the opera.” The Theater Party group has also sponsored several parties, most memorably during the 2008-09 run of Porgy and Bess. “A lot of those performers were from Sylvia Lindsey with David Gockley at out of town,” Sylvia recalls. “One day I saw a group the 2012 Medallion of them at a café, all homesick and counting pennies. Society Luncheon They needed some hospitality, so I got together some volunteers for an old-fashioned Southern barbecue. Everyone told me we were crazy to cook for so many an Francisco Opera has opened doors people.” It has gone down as one of the greatest cast for me,” declares Opera donor Sylvia parties in Company history. She has twice reprised Lindsey. “I’ve gotten so much out of the barbecue, and plans another for the fall. my involvement with this Company.” She’s given Having attended San Francisco Opera for over thirty back even more. years, Sylvia has more than a few “most memorable” Sylvia has been a member of the Opera’s Board stories. But one is especially tellof Directors since 1987, and ing. “It was Leontyne Price’s farealso serves on the Merola “It’s important to keep well recital [in 1992],” she reBoard. In February at the annual Medallion Society our school kids engaged.” members. “At dinner afterwards I sat across the table from her. She Luncheon, she received the got this look on her face and said, Spirit of the Opera Award ‘I’m a country girl from Mississippi. And I’ve sung – the highest honor San Francisco Opera can for kings and queens. Sometimes I have to pinch mybestow upon a supporter. “I was honored for self.’ I was so surprised to hear her say that.” something I enjoy doing,” she says. “I wasn’t sure Sylvia can sympathize. “I’m just a country girl from I deserved it. But David Gockley said, ‘This is North Carolina,” she beams. “That’s the beauty of the long overdue.’” Those who know of her tireless arts: you never know where they will lead you.” Ever efforts and boundless warmth would agree. modest, however, she can’t help but share the spotlight. Working with young people is near and dear to “I’m happy to do my part. But I thank our good friends Sylvia’s heart. “It’s important to keep our school who contribute, especially those who sponsor our kids.” kids engaged, or we are going to lose them,” she To learn about how you can become a Medallion explains. “For the recent Das Rheingold, I canvassed Society member, contact Nicola Rees, Director of Anlocal church groups to recruit kids as supernunual Giving, at (415) 551-6243 or meraries, kids who had never been to the Opera “S

Behind the Curtain Spring 2012

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