Vanessa Becerra and Hadleigh Adams conduct Opera Parallèle’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Opera Parallèle is preparing to collaborate with SFJAZZ for the opera “Beauty and the Beast” by Philip Glass.

The opera is based on the 1946 romantic fantasy film epic by French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. The production, which is to be played on July 14, 15, 16 and 17 at SFJAZZ, will merge opera and film.

In a statement, Opera Parallèle director and designer Brian Staufenbiel said: “The synergy of film and opera is deeply embedded in the DNA of Opera Parallèle’s aesthetic and in the history of past productions. Our privileged relationship with Philip Glass inspired us to complete his Cocteau trilogy with this new version of Beauty and the Beast. OP’s approach has been to respond to the dreamlike conscious and subconscious elements with our own filmed sections and live action on stage. We explore the questions – like Cocteau – of what is true beauty, and in the larger context of this dream tale, what is good and evil? Cocteau understood what it was like to live with a mask, in fear of showing his true self and sexual orientation, hence his greatest allegorical question: can one go beyond appearances and external categories? (the conscious, the beast) and discover what is beautiful inside? the soul, (the subconscious). When I take off this mask, will you love me for who I am?

The opera cast will feature soprano Vanessa Becerra in her San Francisco Opera debut as La Belle and baritone Hadleigh Adams as The Beast/The Prince/Avenant. Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu and soprano Sophie Delphis will join the cast.

The MANA Saxophone Quartet, keyboardists Keisuke Nakagoshi (OP’s resident pianist), Kevin Korth and Taylor Chan and Kjell Nordeson on percussion perform the score.

Nicole Payment directs the production of Brian Staufenbiel.

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