Red Curtain Addict Top Concert Picks: August 2018

Although August is a “summer break” month for a lot of San Francisco Arts Organizations (like the SF Ballet, SF Opera and SF Symphony, etc.), there is still a TON to do! If you have guests coming in town and you’re looking for something fun to show them or you’re just simply wanting to get away from Karl the fog, we have a great list of concerts that are guaranteed to up your summer game.

Scroll below to browse our top concert picks for August!

August 4-19: West Edge Opera Festival

West Edge Opera challenges every type of perception around opera. Since the 1980’s, this organization has been presenting edgy and modernized concert experiences in innovative venues while reviving operas and re-imagining them for current audiences. Can we get an amen?!

This year’s festival will be held at the Craneway Pavilion that was originally a Ford Motor Assembly plant built in the 1930’s. The festival includes three operas to choose from on different dates:

August 4, 12 & 17: Pelléas et Mélisande was Claude Debussy‘s only complete opera that is about a love triangle with a deep and dark core of jealousy.

August 5,10 & 18: Mata Hari is about a Dutch exotic dancer named Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod. She was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War and executed by firing squad in France 101 years ago. This opera premiered last year in New York!

August 11, 16 & 19: Quartett is a seductive opera about two people who have renounced all sense of love but play mind games and take on scandalous roles as lovers, hence the name ‘Quartett’ (AKA: four). The storyline seems a bit complex but the following words by the composer fill us with curiosity… “Don’t dare to come if you can’t accept that you need to analyze what you do and who you are. This piece is violent, it’s sex, it’s blasphemy, it’s the absence of mercy.” 


After four years of anticipation, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Les Misérables is BACK and is on tour in the US with brand new staging and re-imagined sets! Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, it has now been seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe. Even after 32 years, Les Misérables is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere.

In case you haven’t seen the musical, it’s based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Set in France during the early 19th century, the story follows Jean Valjean’s quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. After an amazing act of mercy from a bishop, Jean Valjean is inspired to choose a promising destiny but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Will he ever escape? You’ll have to see it for yourself to find out…!

August 9-11: Zoë Keating in Concert, SFJAZZ

With a background as a professional cellist and data analyst, Zoë combined her love of music and technology by using a computer to live-layer her cello to play her own compositions. She is truly a one-woman orchestra! She has self-released multiple albums that have reached #1 several times on the iTunes classical chart and has composed music for ballet, theater, film and radio.

At SFJAZZ, Zoë will be playing a selection of pieces from her newest EP called “Snowmelt” that was released in June 2018 and top-hits from her previous albums. Every time that we’ve met her and have seen her perform, we’ve left her concerts feeling inspired and enlightened. This concert will definitely fill the soul!

August 18: Grande Finale Concert, Merola

Merola is one of the leading opera programs for artists training to become professional opera singers/directors. Click here to get our fun article to learn more! Out of hundreds of young artists that audition from all over the world, around twenty-three singers, five apprentice coaches (AKA: vocal coaches in training) and one apprentice stage director are chosen to participate in this extensive summer program.

Merola’s Grand Finale is a celebration concert marking the end of their intensive 12-week program. Throughout the performance, you’ll get the chance to see each artist sing selections from a variety of operas, including Rossini’s Otello, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Massenet’s Thaïs, Puccini’s La rondine and more! Afterward, you can join them at The Green Room in the Veterans Building for a special reception with wine + bites. (Reception tickets are sold separately) We’ve been several times and it’s a lot of fun!

Ongoing: Beach Blanket Babylon

Photo by Rick Markovich

If you’re looking for a good laugh or a true “San Franciscan” experience to share with your out-of-town guest(s), Beach Blanket Babylon should definitely be on your list! Celebrating over 16,000 performances, this iconic show will make you hoot and holler over hilarious costumes, musical spoofs and out-of-this-world hats that will make your eyes pop with “WOW!”.

Although this is a major tourist attraction, it’s great to see it as a local too! Beach Blanket Babylon is the world’s longest-running musical revue because they are always changing it and making it relevant right down to the day. The Director is even known to have breaking news spoofs on the day it happened! We recently went for the second time and laughed just as hard. Make sure to get there early if you get general admission tickets – seats are first come, first serve!

Gala Season!

Within one week, the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera will be kicking off their 2018-2019 season with an opening night gala celebration! Although they aren’t until next month (September 5th & 9th), make sure to grab your tickets because they will be sold out by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Click here to see last year’s highlights from the San Francisco Symphony Gala!

Click here to see last year’s highlights from the San Francisco Opera Gala!

And there you have it! There are so many events and concerts happening this month. Make sure to get out and support your local arts scene and share your experience using #RedCurtainAddict for a chance to be featured on our site!

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Parker Coomans

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