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Birds & Balls

Birds and Balls at SFJAZZ

Birds & Balls

Friday, April 5, 2024 12:00 AM - Sunday, April 7, 2024 12:00 AM (PDT)


Opera Parallèle, the Bay Area’s distinguished producer and champion of contemporary opera, will continue its 14th anniversary season presenting with SF JAZZ the world premiere of Birds & Balls, a novel pairing of two witty operas examining the nature of competition and the quirky human levers beneath it. Balls is a world premiere one- act opera by Emmy- and GRAMMY-winning composer Laura Karpman and renowned New York Times columnist Gail Collins dramatizing the famed 1973 tennis game between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. To capture the thrill of the era, Stage & Creative Director, Brian Staufenbiel turns SF JAZZ into a virtual arena, with a live operatic tennis match, immersive film projections, fashion and media social artifacts, and character time -travel (where public figures such as Larry King and Howard Cosell are joined by American Suffragette Susan B. Anthony). 

Birds & Balls includes the West Coast premiere of Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera, a comedic one-act opera inspired by the titular Flemish sport, also known as Finch-Sitting, from Grammy Award nominated (2024) composer David T. Little and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Royce Vavrek. Vinkensport sees a motley assortment of contestants battle it out to see who has the most melodious bird. As they compete for the greatest number of "susk-e-wiets" over the course of an hour, the motivations and secrets of the finches’ trainers are revealed, as is their complex relationship to their birds, the sport, and themselves. Under the baton of Opera Parallèle's respected conductor Nicole Paiement, composers David T. Little and Laura Karpman's unprecedented collaboration allowed for their respective operas to be seamlessly performed by a single orchestra. A talented cast of new voices and returning OP faces in repertory are featured, staged by the innovative, immersive-world building of Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel. An evening of creative, comedic, and meaningful contemporary opera at its best! 

Performance venue: SFJAZZ Center’s Miner Auditorium, San Francisco - 201 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Tickets $40 – $185 for April 5 & 7 performances $50 – $205 for April 6 performance. Tickets available via the SFJAZZ box office. 

Read more about the opera, the creatives, and cast at If you didn’t know about the Flemish sport of Finch Sitting (think Best in Show for bird owners) or hadn’t imagined the many influences at play in the famed 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, you are in for an unprecedented comedic operatic evening. Get ready to see a live operatic tennis match, hilarious social artifacts of the 70’s, and a cast of extremely talented, engaging characters come to life at SFJAZZ’s Miner Auditorium.

Buy Tickets Here!



201 Franklin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102 United States
Friday, April 5, 2024 12:00 AM - Sunday, April 7, 2024 12:00 AM (PDT)
Friday at 7:30PM, Saturday at 2PM, Saturday at 7:30PM, Sunday at 2PM
San Francisco
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