San Francisco, CA, January 21, 2020 –Twenty-five years after the world premiere of Harvey Milk, a new version returns to San Francisco presented by Opera Parallèle May 15 through 17 as part of its 10th anniversary season. Horizons Foundation is the lead Presenting Sponsor. Working with the creative team led by conductor Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel, composer Stewart Wallace and librettist Michael Korie have radically reimagined the score with an emphasis on its mythic elements as a celebration of Harvey Milk’s life. The performances will be given within a week of what would have been Harvey Milk’s 90th birthday and will be preceded by the Bullhorn Series: four public events from February 11 to May 5 focusing on the life and legacy of Milk and produced in partnership with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Performances of Harvey Milk will be given Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 17, at 2 pm at the Blue Shield Theater of California at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco, Tickets are priced $35-$120 and may be purchased at www.operaparallele.org.

This new re-visioning of Harvey Milk is streamlined, taut and visceral. Michael Korie’s libretto now unfolds in two very direct, swift-moving acts, capturing the energy and self-determination of Harvey Milk as he transforms himself from Wall Street stockbroker to an influential civil rights leader. This truly San Francisco story is a timely and potent call to action as it evokes the power of Milk’s activism and challenges us to come out for justice. 2020 is not only an election year but it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which provided equal voting rights to women in the United States. Opera Parallèle will register voters during our “Bullhorn Series” and at “Harvey Milk” to inspire civic activism among a new generation of voters.

“We are proud to mark our 10th anniversary by honoring the 90th birthday of San Francisco’s own Harvey Milk and the 25th anniversary of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s moving work about his life and legacy,” says Opera Parallèle Founder and Artistic Director Nicole Paiement. “Opera is most successful when it tells a powerful story and gives audiences a chance to see themselves reflected in its values and inspiration. Stewart and Michael have created a work that brings the energy and excitement of Milk’s time to the stage and inspires us in our own challenging era.”

Composer Stewart Wallace adds, “David Gockley, who commissioned and premiered the opera in Houston, introduced me to Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel as the ideal collaborators to revive “Harvey Milk”. I am so grateful to David, Nicole and Brian for the opera’s rebirth and the chance to bring it home to San Francisco.”

Harvey Milk
Music: Stewart Wallace
Libretto: Michael Korie

Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Director/Production Concept: Brian Staufenbiel

Set Designer: Sean Riley
Lighting Designer: Alexander V. Nichols
Media Designer: David Murakami
Costume Designer: Alina Bokovikova

Choreographer: Michael Mohammed
Wigs & Makeup: Sophia Smith
Props Designer: Christine Edwards

Fight Choreographer: Jonathan Rider

Assistant Director: Anderson Nunnelley

Assistant Conductor: Jessica Bejarano

Chorus Master: Nathaniel Berman

Harvey Milk: Matthew Worth
Dan White: David Walton
Scott Smith: Christian Sanders
George Moscone: Matt Boehler
Messenger: Tai Oney

Dianne Feinstein: Marnie Breckenridge
Mama: Catherine Cook
Anne Kronenberg: Kindra Scharich
Young Harvey: Richard Watson & Nicholas Hu

Henrietta Wong: Helen Zhibing Huang

Jack: Edward Laurenson

Teamster: Chris Filipowicz

Presenting Sponsor: Horizons Foundation

Production Sponsors: Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Jones Day Foundation, James C. Hormel and Michael Nguyen-Hormel, Nancy Livingston and Fred Levin, National Endowment for the Arts, Betty and Jack Schafer, Katherine Slazak, M.D., University of California Santa Cruz – ARI

February 11 through May 5

Leading up to the performances of Harvey Milk May 15-17, Opera Parallèle, in partnership with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, presents a series of responsive community conversations that elevate LGBTQ voices and inspire civic activism in a new generation of voters and citizens. The series is inspired by the life of Harvey Milk, exploring his legacy, shining a light on issues that face the community today and celebrating those who are working to change them. All Bullhorn Series events will be held at the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, 170 Valencia Street in San Francisco. Tickets are priced $25 general admission and a bundle package of $80 for all 4 Bullhorn events and may be purchased at https://operaparallele.org/bullhorn/ .

Bullhorn Series Events at the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts:

The American Dream Starts in the Neighborhood
Tuesday, February 11, at 7pm
Moderator: Cat Brooks, Community Activist and Playwright
Musical Performance: New Voices Bay Area– Transgender, Intersex, & Gender Queer Chorus

Panelists: Rafael Mandelman, Supervisor District 8; Ani Rivera, Executive Director Galeria de la Raza; Aria Sa’id, Executive Director Compton’s Transgender Cultural District; Manny Yekutiel, Founder of ‘Manny’s’ Civic Gathering space.

Harvey Milk was known as “The Mayor of Castro Street”. He galvanized a community by uniting disparate groups, registering new voters and motivating the grassroots to address local issues. What can we learn from how Harvey activated his community to create change? Who is doing this now? Why is this important?

You Got to Give Them Hope
Tuesday, March 3, at 7pm
Moderator: Michelle Meow, Host of The Michelle Meow Show, Commonwealth Club
Musical Performance: Excerpts from “Harvey Milk” featuring Nicholas Hu as ‘Young Harvey’

Panelists: Jose ‘JoJo’ Ty, SF Youth Commission; Senator Mark Leno; and more to be announced.

Harvey Milk’s vision for the future was based on building hope. ‘Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, Hope that all will be all right. In these times where hope is challenged, join an intergenerational panel that embraces civic engagement and envisions a better future.

Never Take an Elevator in City Hall
Tuesday, April 14, at 7pm
Moderator: Honey Mahogany, Activist, Drag Queen; Legislative Aide to Supervisor Matt Haney
Musical Performance: SF Gay Men’s Chorus with special appearance by Holly Near

Panelists: Sister Roma, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; Tim Seelig, Artistic Director SF Gay Men’s Chorus; Holly Near, Singer/Songwriter/Activist; and more to be announced.

Harvey Milk was known for his theatrical flair, once telling his staff to always use City Hall’s marble staircase as it afforded a grander entrance. From the great protest songs of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s to Harvey’s windows at Castro Camera, art and music have always been at the center of social change in San Francisco.

I’m Here to Recruit You
Tuesday, May 5, at 7pm
Moderator: Eric Marcus, Host of Making Gay History podcast
Musical Performance: Excerpts from Harvey Milk featuring Matthew Worth as Harvey Milk

Panelists: Anne Kronenberg, Campaign Manager to Harvey Milk; Gwenn Craig, Activist who worked with Harvey on the 1978 ‘No on 6’ campaign; and more to be announced.

Who was Harvey Milk? This panel discusses the man behind the movement and explores the man, the myth, the martyr through the stories of those who knew him well. This event will capture the oral histories of key San Francisco figures who were part of Milk’s inner circle.

The Bullhorn Series is generously supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation, Horizons Foundation & the GLBT Historical Society.

About Opera Parallèle
Celebrating its tenth season in 2019-2020, award-winning Opera Parallèle develops and performs contemporary operas in a dynamic balance of known and new works, in new productions that shed light on their subject matter and engage audiences’ senses and sensibilities. Opera Parallèle is the only organization in the Bay Area presenting fully-cast and staged contemporary operas exclusively. Opera Parallèle also commissions new orchestrations of contemporary grand operas, to give a sense of intimacy to its productions and to give a new life to works which might not otherwise be performed.

Founded in 1978, SFGMC sparked a nationwide LGBTQ choral movement after its first public performance at a vigil on the steps of City Hall following the assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Since then SFGMC has been embedded in the fabric of San Francisco. It has soothed souls in pain, lifted spirits in triumph, and has remained a steadfast beacon of hope. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig, SFGMC has established a heightened level of performance standards bringing renewed audience and choral industry acclaim. Recent touring schedules, recordings, and outreach programs have broadened its impact and reputation in the community while maintaining its signature blend of humor, personality and ground-breaking performances. In 2019, SFGMC acquired a historic facility that has become its permanent home for rehearsals and offices. The building also serves as the first-ever National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, a community space for LGBTQ artists and arts organizations.
For more information on SFGMC, visit www.sfgmc.org