The earthquake of 1989 was the shock of the century for the stately Beaux Arts San Francisco Opera House. Now completely restored, in September it will host something almost as massive — the US stage premiere of Olivier Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise. The crest of this five-hour musical tsunami is the largest ensemble in the Opera's history. Ninety-seven musicians, seven vocal soloists, and 110 choristers, backed by a 59-man crew, will be spilling out and into the audience beyond the ...

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