San Francisco Opera’s Spirit of the Opera award presented to Gordon Getty

At the conclusion of San Francisco Opera’s December 9 fall season final performance of The Elixir of Love, the company honored composer and philanthropist Gordon Getty in an onstage ceremony. Standing amidst the cast of Donizetti’s opera, San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock presented Mr. Getty with the company’s Spirit of the Opera award in recognition of extraordinary artistic excellence and philanthropic leadership.

Shilvock said: “Gordon Getty is one of the great champions of this artform and someone who has devoted his life to the creation, enrichment and vitality of opera in America. As a composer, he brings to our stages a beautiful lyricism borne out of a profound appreciation for the human voice. As a philanthropist, Mr. Getty, along with his wife, Ann, has quietly, humbly and with monumental impact, propelled forward arts companies not only in San Francisco and Los Angeles but across America and the world. And as a humanist, he has enriched the very fabric of our society, bringing together subject matters as disparate as music, biology, economics and viticulture into a holistic worldview that leaves one in awe at the staggering embrace he has of the interconnectedness of life.

“The Spirit of the Opera Award is given in recognition of lasting and profound support of this company, and so it is my great honor to present Gordon Getty with the award with the heartfelt gratitude of this house and this community for the transformational impact he has had on this company and this art form in so many ways—as a composer, philanthropist, historian, and as a carrier of the torch that keeps opera vital in our lives.”

Following the presentation, the performance’s conductor Ramón Tebar led the cast, chorus, orchestra and audience in a celebratory rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Getty in honor of his upcoming 90th birthday.

Photos courtesy of Reneff-Olson Productions and San Francisco Opera