Natalie Dessay as Lucia in "Mad Scene" Photo by Terrence McCarthy SFO

Mad About You: SF Opera Stages Drive-In Screening of Classic Production

While you can’t rely on a car ferry to get you there, Fort Mason is still the destination for a unique “drive-in” experience.

San Francisco Opera will present Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor on Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 6 PM at Fort Mason Flix Drive-In. This one-night-only opportunity to witness opera on the 40’ X 20’ LED screen at the Marina District drive-in and enjoy snacks from Off the Grid food trucks will feature the Company’s 2008 performance of Lucia di Lammermoor starring French soprano Natalie Dessay.

San Francisco Opera and Fort Mason are committed to a safe moviegoing experience for all attendees and staff at the Company’s first-ever operatic drive-in event. Beginning at 5 pm, a limited capacity of 98 cars with pre-purchased tickets will be admitted and spaced at 6 feet between vehicles with an 18-foot drive lane every two rows. Guests must remain in their cars during the opera and wear a mask when leaving to visit concessions or restrooms. Congregating or watching the opera outside of vehicles will not be permitted.

Based on one of Sir Walter Scott’s popular Waverly novels, Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor follows the tragic title heroine who after being betrayed by her brother and spurned by her lover loses her sanity in one of opera’s most famous and vocally spectacular mad scenes. San Francisco Opera’s 2008 presentation of Florence’s Teatro del Maggio Musicale production by directors Graham Vick and Marco Gandini, with sets and costumes designed by Paul Brown and lighting designed by Nick Chelton introduced Dessay to Bay Area audiences in one of her greatest roles. The San Francisco Chronicle hailed her debut as “probing and musically resplendent,” observing of the opera’s mad scene how “Dessay turned what is usually an extravaganza into a concentrated burst of subdued anguish.”

Filmed in HD at the War Memorial Opera House, the performance also featured the Company debuts of Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti as Lucia’s beloved, Edgardo, and Italian baritone Gabriele Viviani as her brother, Enrico. The cast is completed by Oren Gradus as Raimondo, Matthew O’Neill as Normanno, Andrew Bidlack as Arturo and Cybele Gouverneur as Alisa. Jean-Yves Ossonce conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in his first American engagement.

Tickets are $49 per car (plus a $5 handling fee) and are available online at or by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330. Note: Attendees must purchase tickets ahead of time; tickets will not be sold onsite at the drive-in.

Masks are required of all attendees over the age of 2 when outside of their vehicles (masks with exhalation valves are not allowed). Restroom facilities are available and will be cleaned and sanitized regularly throughout the event. Socially distant spacing will be enforced for those waiting for concessions. Congregating outside of vehicles is not permitted.

The Fort Mason Center for the Arts & Culture is located at 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94123. Vehicles will be admitted to the drive-in area beginning at 5 pm on Sunday, October 25 and the opera will begin at 6 PM. Lucia di Lammermoor is performed in Italian with English subtitles and lasts 2 hours, 23 minutes without intermission.