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Since 1923, San Francisco Opera has debuted the performances of several well-respected artists including Marie Collier, conductor Silvio Varviso, and director Francis Ford Coppola. Founded by Gaetano Merolo, the War Memorial Opera House, housed in the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, has been the home of the Opera since 1932. Tours are available only during the opera season. The concert is held on the Sunday following opening night of the Fall Season. San Francisco Opera is the second largest opera company in North America. The Opera's mission is to enrich, be creative and innovative, take leadership and present opera performances of the highest international quality.
As a key player in the "Best of Broadway" seasons since 1979, the Golden Gate Theatre has hosted show-stopping musicals like A Chorus Line, which re-opened the theater on December 27, 1979. This was followed by Camelot with Richard Burton, Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury, My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli, Woman of the Year with Lauren Bacall, 42nd Street, Cabaret, Zorba with Anthony Quinn, and Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, among many more. With its grand and complicated past, this theater has survived numerous renovations and uses and has emerged as a house full of theatrical memories.
Get tickets in advance for shows at the Great American Music Hall because even though it's a big venue, sell-outs are common. All ages can enjoy the music in this historic venue, with talent spanning the entire spectrum from punk to country, famous to unknown, local to international. Jonathan Richman, Nick Lowe, Boss Hogg, !!!, the Ponys, and the Dirtbombs are just a few of the acts to have graced this hallowed stage. Watch from rows, tables, balcony seats, or the stage-level dance floor. The ornate gold and red velvet curtains are a throwback to the Barbary Coast days. The venue serves food and drinks to the large crowds.
The Roxie, built long before the multiplex era, is one of San Francisco's last independent cinemas. It programs an eccentric repertory schedule that is a cinema goer's dream. It showcases some rarely seen but fabulous films that were quality-made with not a single marketing campaign in sight. It also booked the controversial documentary Kurt & Courtney when no other theater in the country would touch it. The Roxie also host a number of popular film festivals. A registered non-profit since 2009, this lovely piece of SF heritage is well worth seeking out. Check their website for show times, ticketing information, educational programs, membership details, rentals and more.
On one of the city's busiest commercial streets, the Warfield hosts huge bands all week long. From Brian Setzer to Ministry, the biggest names play at the historic Warfield. Note the ornate Victorian moldings on ceilings and walls in this well maintained Victorian theater, charms everyone.
Fighting all the odds and emerging a winner is the Alcazar Theatre's prerogative. The theater, which has been defunct and renovated several times in the past, has been declared as a landmark of San Francisco. Alcazar which is located in the theater district features plays, theater productions or Broadway shows. You can catch shows that will move you to tears or tickle your funny bone. Whatever your preference, you can find it at the Alcazar.
An architectural masterpiece, The Fillmore itself is as worth seeing as any band that plays here. Stand on the main floor next to the historic stage and look up at soaring ceilings, embellished with carvings and gold paint, while the booming speakers rattle your bones. If you choose the tranquility of the balcony instead, sink into velvet-covered seats, sip cocktails, and eat French fries. With posters representing almost every group that has ever played here, the history of American music is on full display.
Built in 1922, The Castro Theatre is San Francisco's only remaining movie palace. When it's not hosting film festivals, this 1400-seat house runs a repertory calendar heavy on film classics; there is no better place to see The Wizard of Oz. The interior reflects the elegance of a bygone era with its red velvet seats and walls that feature molded plaster and fresco detailing. The fanciful ceiling, from which an imposing art deco chandelier hangs, is designed to evoke the interior of a Bedouin tent. A mighty Wurlitzer organ plays between evening shows and completes the antique feel of the theater.
Kezar Stadium is a beloved stadium in the beautiful Golden Gate Park. The stadium was once the home of the San Francisco 49ers and was also the founding home of the Oakland Raiders. Today, this facility is used for a number of events, including high school football games and other amateur and recreational sports.
Constructed as a temporary attraction for the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition, Palace of Fine Arts continues to enchant the city. The original plaster, which made up the monument's exterior, has been gradually replaced, with funds raised by the Marina's residents who wanted to preserve a graceful part of their landscape. Swans in the adjoining lagoon glide by the soaring ocher-tinted colonnades and the imposing dome rigged with panels of centaurs and warriors. Stroll inside the dome and marvel at the uncanny acoustics, then enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the park benches to provide an unparalleled view of this gem.