Free Opera Talk – Girls of the Golden West

For Immediate Release:  Nov. 17, 2017
Media contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252; Mindy.Linetzky@sfpl.org

Free Opera Talk – Girls of the Golden West

Soprano Julia Bullock, dramaturg Kip Cranna and author Marlene Smith-Branzini appear at the library

opera

San Francisco, CA –San Francisco Public Library is hosting a free, public discussion presented by the San Francisco Opera about Dame Shirley, whose book, The Shirley Letters, inspired this season’s opera premiere, Girls of the Golden West.

San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Dr. Clifford “Kip” Cranna will moderate the discussion with soprano Julia Bullock, who portrays Dame Shirley in the new opera, and Louise Clappe expert Marlene Smith-Baranzini. The event is free.

The talk is being held in connection with the library’s On the Same Page bimonthly book club. The November/December selection is The Shirley Letters.

 

Program:             Opera Talk – Girls of the Golden West

Date:                     Tuesday, Nov. 28

Time:                     6 p.m.

Place:                    Main Library, 100 Larkin St., Koret Auditorium

Cost:                      Free

 

The new opera, Girls of the Golden West, by John Adams with a libretto by Peter Sellars is based on The Shirley Letters, a collection of 23 letters written by Clappe to her sister in Massachusetts detailing life in a Gold Rush-era mining camp in the mid-1800s.

The On the Same Page selection is based on the Heydey Publishing edition of The Shirley Letters, edited and introduced by Marlene Smith-Baranzini. The series of letters written by Clappe to her sister were first published under the pseudonym of “Dame Shirley” in Pioneer magazine. In these letters Clappe writes of life in San Francisco and the Feather River mining communities of Rich Bar and Indian Bar in 1851 and 1852. She focuses on the experiences of women and children, the perils of miners’ work, crime and punishment, and relations with native Hispanic residents and Native Americans. Bret Harte is said to have based two of his stories on The Shirley Letters.

San Francisco Opera Presents Girls of the Golden West – Tuesday, November 28, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.

Related program:

Hands on History: Girls (and Some Guys) of the Golden West – Saturday, December 2, 2 p.m., Main Library, San Francisco History Center, 6th Floor