‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the SFJAZZ Center

Opera song

For their latest collaboration and cultural event co-presented with SFJAZZ, the Bay Area Parallel Opera and an ensemble of world-class musicians perform composer Philip Glass’ innovative 1994 chamber opera The beauty and the Beast in a theatrical production with sets and costumes.

A unique cinematic blend of live music and film, the opera is synchronized with a screening of director and poet Jean Cocteau’s classic 1946 cinematic version of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s 18th century fairy tale La Belle et la Beast, replacing the soundtrack with the original from Glass score. For this production, Glass’ haunting music is performed by a quartet of singers backed by three keyboardists and the phenomenal Bay Area saxophone quartet MANA.

The libretto, adapted by the composer from the film’s script, is precisely timed and sung to match the characters’ spoken dialogue, creating a fluid, modern expression of Villeneuve’s timeless fable of love and loss that brings a new dimension to the unforgettable visuals of Cocteau. Called “one of the most magical of all films” by critic Roger Ebert, Cocteau’s film features singular performances from Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais as Beast.

With this production Opera Parallèle will become the first company to present the three operas that Glass wrote in homage to Cocteau, after performing Orpheus in 2011 and The Terrible Children in 2017.

Courtesy of Opéra Parallèle