Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Four Saints in Three Acts

Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts will be playing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from Thursday, August 18 through Sunday, August 21, 2011. This is an opera you don't get to see very often: I've managed to see The Mother of Us All in two different productions, but this'll be my first Saints.

If you're going to opening night, you might also try to get to a fascinating talk at the Contemporary Jewish Museum across the street from YBCA. Here are the details:

The Art of Four Saints in Three Acts
In this short talk, Steven Watson, author of Prepare for Saints: Gertrude
Stein, Virgil Thomson, and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism, takes
you on a journey into the oddest and most influential collaboration in the
history of American modernism, Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson¹s opera
Four Saints in Three Acts. A sensation from the start, it became the
longest-running opera in Broadway history to date and the most widely
reported cultural event of its time.

Come early and see rare footage, art, and ephemera connected with the opera
on display as part of the Museum¹s exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five

Watson¹s talk precedes the opening night debut of a newly commissioned
production of Four Saints in Three Acts organized by SFMOMA and Yerba Buena
Center for the Arts and taking place August 18-21 at YBCA¹s Novellus

Steven Watson is a cultural historian of the American avant-garde. He is
also the author of Harlem Renaissance (1995), The Birth of the Beat
Generation (1995), and Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde

Thursday, August 18, 2011

6:30-7 PM

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street (between Third and Fourth streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103

www.thecjm.orginfo@thecjm.org info@thecjm.org>  or call

FREE with regular admission. Admission is $5 after 5 PM.


Dr.B said...

As a total GS freak, I absolutely must see this.

sfmike said...

He's also going to be lecturing at SFMOMA on Thursday the 11th at 7PM in the Wattis Theatre, which will be followed by a preview of the opera production. Here's a link:


Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, Mike!

Dr. B., I completely intend to attend myself.

Anonymous said...

I can't make any of those. Rats.

On the other hand, I hate the YBCA as a venue so much that I stopped attending the Lamplighters solely because they moved there.

Lisa Hirsch said...

What do you dislike about YBCA? I saw Ensemble Parallele's Wozzeck there a couple of years ago and the theater they were in worked fine.

Daniel Wolf said...

Lisa, I look forward to your review. I don't think any of Thomson's three operas has really had its due (excepting the first run of Saints, in Hartford and on Broadway, but not preserved in acoustical memory) so our assessment of Thomson as a composer is still unclear.

Anonymous said...

Cold. No warmth at all. (And I mean aesthetically, not the strength of the air conditioning.) Suitable only for 60s-style minimalism and mechanical techno-music.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Interesting! That was not my impression of the theater at all.

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like the inside of a Lego warehouse, and that's the beginnings of its problems. Sure we're talking about the same place?

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm thinking of the Novellus Theater.