The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has announced a challenge grant of $50,000 to support the San Francisco premiere of an opera called For a Look or a Touch next year, and it requires a 2-to-1 match to receive the funds.
“We are thrilled to have an extraordinarily generous challenge donation from supporters of the arts and SFGMC, Stephen and Diane Sanchez Heiman,” Timothy Seelig, the chorus’ artistic director and conductor, told the Bay Area Reporter.
The funds are to be used for the production and outreach surrounding the debut of Jake Heggie’s opera, For A Look or a Touch, chronicling the incredible true story of a gay couple during the Holocaust. The libretto, by Gene Scheer, is based on the journal entries of Manfred Lewin, who died during the Holocaust, and interviews with his lover, Gad Beck.
Their story was first told in the HBO documentary film, Paragraph 175. As the chorus explained in an email to supporters, “The opera shares a story seldom told: the plight of gay men during the Holocaust. The work refers to the regulation that allowed police to make arrests ‘for a look or a touch.’”
The new musical work will premiere during the chorus’ spring concert in 2015. It will be a co-production between the gay chorale group, the American Conservatory Theater, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the San Francisco Opera. Baritone Morgan Smith is slated to join the 300 men of the chorus for two performances.
The opera will also be performed next year at high schools and other venues as a part of the gay chorale group’s outreach and education program.
The chorus is now trying to match the Heimans’ donation by raising another $100,000 on its own. One of its first fundraising events will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 15 at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco.
In addition to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by chef Jennifer Johnson, the event will feature performances by members of the chorus and opera stars Frederica von Stade, Lisa Vroman, Morgan Smith, and Heggie.
Reservations to attend start at $1,000 a person and must be made by Thursday, May 8th. They can be done online here.
For more information please contact Jon Carroll at (415) 865-3650 x 307 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.