Indoor Fireworks

Pity the poor parlor. The historically stuffy bastion of chintz pillows and antimacassars is as likely to be associated with arcane Victorian card games as it is to not exist at all in contemporary dwellings. Bravo to San Francisco Parlor Opera, then, for putting these rooms (and basements, and gardens) to good use by staging such works as Faust, Thaïs, and now Mozart’s inimitable Don Giovanni therein. Currently in its second year of existence and on its fourth production, the company employs a roster of fresh musical talent, a charmingly DIY aesthetic, and some fabulous local homes to make classic operas accessible and immediate like never before. The setup does not include subtitles, and the performers don’t compromise on things like mastery of foreign languages, so pay attention to the affable prescene narrator or read up on the story before you arrive. (In this case: Rakish nobleman and his kvetching sidekick merrily stab, scheme, and screw their way through all strata of Spanish society — transposed in this production to New Orleans in the Jazz Age — before the Don gets his, courtesy of the dinner guest nobody wants to break bread with.) The first act is a veritable Mozart greatest-hits reel, the libretto is a hoot, and the freely flowing wine (and a bountiful dessert reception) is included with admission. It probably once was illegal to have this much fun in a parlor.
Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Thu., May 20, 7 p.m. Starts: May 8. Continues through May 22, 2010

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