On August 14 supporters of Opera Parallele were treated to a musical and culinary feast, Bon Appétit, at the Boxing Room restaurant. Guests were entertained by mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook’s hilarious portrayal of Julia Child whipping up a chocolate cake in Lee Hoiby’s one-act opera Bon Appétit! The illustrious chef, who virtually introduced American TV audiences to French cuisine with her style and wit, always accompanied by a glass of wine or two, would have celebrated her 100th birthday this week. Soprano Heidi Moss warmed up the room, popping up in surprise locations with songs that first simmered, like Henry Purcell’s “If Music be the Food of Love”, then came to a rapid boil with Leonard Bernstein’s “Rabbit at Top Speed”. This melodic buffet was delectably prepared by Opera Parallèle’s artistic director Nicole Paiement. EP stage director Brian Staufenbiel served up the musical fare with his renowned theatrical panache.
Read the write-up in the Entertainment section of the SF Chronicle
Thanks to Boxing Room owner Bill Russell-Shapiro, founder of The Absinthe Group of fine restaurants, the well-attended event was held at this Cajun-style addition to the Hayes Valley restaurant scene. Executive Chef Justin Simoneaux delighted the palate of attendees with an heirloom tomato salad, a choice of grilled California yellowtail with summer succotash or herb crusted pork loin with jalapeño grits, and a blackberry bouille trifle as a gastronomic finale. Simoneaux, not only a great chef but a also a good sport, surprised the crowd with his lesser known, and less refined, terpsichorean talent when he joined Moss in a tango. Wine Director Ian Becker complemented the French-American tone of the evening with a Loire Valley Muscadet and a California Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
The evening raised funds for OP’s upcoming season. Merci beaucoup à tous et bon appétit!