The San Francisco Symphony conducted by Joshua Gerson opened it’s three night run last night of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ by Tim Burton and music by Danny Elfman, performing live on stage during the projection on the big screen. It’s the classic holiday musical animated film which looks like a variation on the claymation most of us grow up with, as seen in the old Rudolph story on television. The symphony performance happens Friday and Saturday evenings. PBS just aired a full length show live from Lincoln Center with Danny Elfman’s music from Tim Burton films.
Emeryville’s Pixar got a screen credit as did Hayes Casting in San Francisco and the symphony played while the credits rolled at the end. A few guests should get credited as they became celebrities, dressed like Jack Skellington and Sally including a father/daughter duo or two. Many wore black Skellingtonware with the pumpkin shaped white skull logo. The family audience behaved beautifully and took lots of selfies before the show. Sadly, the Halloween decorations came down and the hall featured no decorations at all, the Christmas trees yet to go up. No need to go early to see the hall.
It’s the most fun to watch the percussion section although the large string sections plucked and sawed their way through a lot of the mischief and shenanigans. Percussion plays on the rear left of the stage if you are facing the stage. The keyboardist at the left edge of the stage appeared to create the acordian sounds and there were some tingly magical xylophone moments. The flutes warmed up during intermission and had their sequence in Act II. Front row seats probably required the craning of necks so seats further back, about row N, probably work best. The evening went unhosted and unintroduced, the symphony conducted by young Gerson, with short hair, a short beard and wearing a business suit.
Ticket and other information
Tickets and parking info here. Some patrons seemed to make a romantic evening out of the family event, with chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne pre-ordered and waiting for them on the bar. One order had a bag of Zapp’s chips, from New Orleans. Some purchased Christmas ornaments, t-shirts or sweatshirts, Jack Skellington coffee mugs. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ will run through Saturday. Tickets range from $85 to $165 since the more affordable balcony section sold out each night. However, the Symphony sells rush tickets. The symphony adds $10 per order for internet purchases. There is some street parking and Davies Symphony Hall is a short walk from Civic Center BART. There is one tiny bike rack at Davies and a new bike cage at Civic Center BART.