Lifestyle

Tech's night out at the opera (gallery)

Inside San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House

Above: Inside San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House

The San Francisco Opera is making a concerted effort to reach out to young technology entrepreneurs. It’s no easy feat, as the Opera has an image problem. It’s perceived by many young startup folk as stuffy and elitist.

Don’t miss our gallery from San Francisco Opera’s opening night below.

However, San Francisco’s Opera is in the midst of a major rebrand. Most locals don’t realize that their gilded Opera House has experienced its fair share of financial hardships in recent years, due to decreased ticket sales.

Management’s ability to reach the next generation is critical. For this reason, seven prominent technology executives were appointed to the board to strategize about how to make the Opera the place to be and be seen for a “young money” crowd.

As we reported (and witnessed first-hand at Friday’s opening night gala), the new board members are experimenting with a variety of tactics. Expect cheaper performances, a suite of new mobile apps, and potentially even a Star Wars-themed Opera.

The productions are also designed to appeal to a younger crowd. Friday night’s performance of Arrigo Boito’s “Mefistofele” was a joy, especially for this first time opera-goer. The stage was awash with bright colors, bold costumes, and even slightly awkward displays of gratuitous nudity. The protagonist, a cheeky devil, was on fire.

Overall, the Opera was a welcome break from the usual roster of tech events. Checking your smartphone is frowned upon, so expect to be disconnected and fully immersed in the experience. If that doesn’t convince you, it’s an excuse to wear a gown or a bow tie and be transported to another time and place. For those of us in tech who fixate on the latest gadget, the Opera is a rare opportunity to appreciate tradition.

Are you under 40 and in tech? Would you ever considering a night out at the Opera? Before you decide, check out our gallery below.