Sean’s Page

I am very proud to be a native San Franciscan. My B.A. is in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. I returned there in the late ’80s for post-graduate studies in Philosophy and Religion; and as a seminarian studied Art History and Ethics at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. For thirty-three years I worked as a private vocal coach to singers and actors throughout the Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years – balancing classical and liturgical repertoire with a variety of cabaret. Between 1979 and 1983, I sang high-tenor with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. In addition to being tagged as their “Jeanette MacDonald” – I participated in the first National Tour (1981). As a vocal consultant in musical theatre, I published thousands of responses on the popular Q&A website, During 2006–10, I was the Entertainment Editor for and also contributed to From 2012–17, I covered the The City’s classical scene for Throughout that period I interviewed the international artists appearing at San Francisco Opera, SF Symphony, and SF Ballet. I also began interviewing the curators of major exhibits at the de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, and the Museum of Modern Art. Since early childhood I have been captivated with the Golden Age of Hollywood – particularly with the aspects of “Image Making”, the studio system, and the art of black and white photography. The consequence of these varied pursuits is that I have become the on-duty shepherd for a complex gathering of books, recordings, posters, etc. I also maintain a sizable and thirsty garden, along with a kitchen full of pans for every occasion. The dessert that Norma Shearer asks for in The Women (1939) – “Pancakes Barbara”? I have the recipe. It’s all about timing – which has been key to a thirty-two-year relationship with my partner, Tom.


Posts by Sean

The Influences of Dorothy Dell

Breaking News – Wikipedia is going to the moon! Every jot and tittle – all preserved on tiny sheets of nickel and in a number of translations. [See: The Arch Foundation’s first step toward building a Lunar Library] And, perhaps, in the nick of time – seeing that none of us really know when The […]

Angela Lansbury Re-Tweets “Goodbye, Little Yellow Bird”

It’s 1944. Louis B. Mayer has wooed Albert Lewin back to MGM to direct The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lewin has kept his distance from Mayer for the past eight years – since the day the studio’s head of production, Irving Thalberg, died of pneumonia. Lewin headed the script department and was Irving’s right-hand-man. The two were literary eggheads; workaholic companions with […]

CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA – All Day at the SF Silent Film Festival, Saturday, 9/15

This Saturday at the Castro Theatre the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents four programs of Festival favorites. Each will be accompanied by the celebrated Club Foot Orchestra. Program 1 begins at 1:00pm with an animated short from 1928 starring Felix the Cat (“He’s amazing, he’s remarkable–”) and continues with three comedies from the early ’20s […]

Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” at SF Symphony – June 14, 15 and 17

For more than twenty seasons, Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have been at the forefront in creating original staging for works of the orchestral and operatic repertory in a symphonic setting. From The Flying Dutchman, Peter Grimes, and Peer Gynt to West Side Story and On The Town, MTT continues to explore new ways […]

“I’m Good for Nothing But Love” – Frances Langford is RKO’s Bamboo Blonde (1946)

For everything – there is a season, a time and a place. The Bamboo Blonde. RKO. Story of a nightclub singer during WWII. 67 minutes. B&W. Released July 15, 1946. Up until a recent screening on TCM, I never saw or ever heard of The Bamboo Blonde. At sixty seven minutes – the film qualifies as a Feature Length, somewhat on the […]

Jane Russell is “His Kind of Woman” – Robert Mitchum’s, that is

“The hottest combination that ever hit the screen!” – declared Louella O. Parsons in late August 1951. It’s possible that Louella was still in party-mode, having passed her 70th birthday just a few weeks before. No point in holding back now! Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum have IT. Apparently, not since way-back in ’21 – between Agnes Ayres and Rudolph […]

San Francisco Decorator Showcase, 4/29 – 5/29

The site for the 2017 San Francisco Decorator Showcase is an exceptional Classical Revival mansion located at 2698 Pacific Avenue at Scott Street, in the heart of Pacific Heights. This 11,000 square-foot residence was designed by acclaimed architects Newsom and Newsom in 1904. This historic residence features grand entertaining rooms with 12-foot ceilings and architecturally stunning […]

Dores André on “Salome” – A World Premiere at San Francisco Ballet, 3/9–19

“She’s sexual, she’s selfish, she wants what she wants,” says Dores André. “But at the same time she is not certain – because it’s all an experiment to her.” Click here to see my complete interview with SF Ballet principal dancer Dores André. Program 5 at San Francisco Ballet opens Thursday, March 9 for seven […]

COREY KELLER, Curator at SFMOMA – On “diane arbus: in the beginning”

“Every time you put on clothes,” said Corey, “you are performing some way. I have been very entertained that Trump wants his female staff to ‘dress like women’. There’s a hashtag where someone responded that if you want to dress like a woman – ‘First, identify as a woman – get dressed.’ It’s that kind […]

Martin Chapman – On the Centenary Installation of the Rodin Collection at the Legion of Honor

“Every time I look, I find something different – whether it’s in the expression, the modeling or the patination. Some of the sculptures are very, very difficult to understand. What is Rodin trying to say?” Click here to see my complete with Martin Chapman on Martin is the curator in charge of European Decorative […]

A Conversation with Koto Ishihara – Soloist at San Francisco Ballet

This past Holiday season, residents and visitors in The City became very familiar with the beaming face of San Francisco Ballet soloist, Koto Ishihara. A major feature of the company’s media campaign for The Nutcracker was a glamorous image of the Snow Maidens captured by resident photographer Erik Tomasson. The finished poster/flyer focused on Koto […]

Organist Christopher Houlihan – This Sunday at Grace Cathedral, 1/22

“When you are lucky enough to sit in a space like Grace Cathedral and can hear a great instrument and take the time to appreciate it – I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t taken something away from that experience and have been moved in some way. It’s incredible. There’s nothing like it. But it […]

A Profile of Wei Wang – Soloist at San Francisco Ballet

Wei is now preparing for his role as “The Creature” in Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein – coming up in February (Program 3). “It’s a huge deal for me,” said Wei. Click here to see my complete interview with Wei Wang on HuffingtonPost.Com Wei Wang. Photo, Erik Tomasson See my recent interviews with: Brian Jagde, Tenor Edward Nelson, […]

New Year’s Eve with San Francisco Symphony

Come to Davies Hall this Saturday night, New Year’s Eve at 8:00pm and join with the San Francisco Symphony and conductor Edwin Outwater to brace for 2017. This year’s featured guests are Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski and Primetime Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess. It’s their first performance together and doing what they do best – […]

RUTHIE ANN MILES – Tony Award Winner is Comin’ to Town with San Francisco Symphony, 12/21–24

“I wasn’t expecting this!” said Ruthie Ann Miles. “I haven’t done a concert in the City yet and wasn’t planning on an additional one for this year. But a couple of months ago when my agent said, ‘How would you like to sing with the San Francisco Symphony?’ – my answer was a great big […]

“The Nutcracker” – Now at San Francisco Ballet Through 12/29

“The Nutcracker” is opening tonight at 7:00 at San Francisco Ballet – and, of course, it’s pouring rain. Five years worth of drought and tonight it has to rain. OK––FINE!!!––I’m ready. Especially for this big guns cast: Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas Queen and King of the Snow: Mathilde Froustey, Carlo Di Lanno Sugar Plum Fairy: Sofiane Sylve Grand Pas […]

LIANNA HAROUTOUNIAN – On ‘Madame Butterfly’ – Now at San Francisco Opera

“When I arrived in San Francisco, I already had my conception of the role and a vision of how it would look. But I am very open to suggestions and feedback. I need to understand what they want from me – the point of view, their thoughts about the play, how they see Butterfly’s character […]

A Conversation with Baritone Edward Nelson

“Whatever I do, I try to keep the voice at the forefront of my mind. Even this past summer when I had to strip down for Carmen. I was working-out five days a week! If there was a day when I had too much muscle soreness to breathe properly, I would skip that workout. Because […]

CD – “Christmas Songbook” – The King’s Singers

In the tradition of other King’s Singers Christmas releases, and a follow-up to their popular 2013 Great American Songbook album, Christmas Songbook pays homage to the group’s roots while acknowledging their current passion for swing. According to The King’s Singers, “More than any other season of the year, Christmas is associated with music, and in […]

Nadja Michael – A Brilliant ‘Emilia Marty’ at San Francisco Opera

Soprano Nadja Michael made her San Francisco Opera debut exactly seven years ago in the title role of Richard Strauss’ Salome. Directed and choreographed by Séan Curran, the Bruno Schwengl production was packed with shock and awe. Nadja’s artistic resources – colossal vocal chops, Olympian grace, histrionic clout – were suddenly the talk of the […]

Baritone George Gagnidze Debuts in ‘Andréa Chenier’ at San Francisco Opera – Now through 9/30

“Carlo Gérard is a very clear and positive role for me. He is a character with a lot of heart – that’s what attracts me.” [Click here to see my interview with baritone George Gagnidze on]

Anita Monga – On the SF Silent Film Festival, 6/2–6/5

The 21st annual  San Francisco Silent Film Festival takes place this week at the Castro Theatre. The festival opens Thursday night at 7:00pm with an encore presentation of the recently restored Beggars of Life (1928) directed by William Wellman, starring Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen, and Wallace Beery. The always spectacular Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra will accompany the film. The SF […]

A Profile of Mathilde Froustey, Principal Dancer With San Francisco Ballet

Mathilde joined San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 2013. Prior to that her career was centered totally at Paris Opéra Ballet where (as a soloist) she appeared in leading roles, including “Kitri” in Don Quichotte. Helgi Tomasson saw her in this production in 2006. I saw her first at the War Memorial in […]

“Ladies of the Nightclubs” at SF’s Main Library, 5/10, 6:00pm

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection at San Francisco’s Main Library in Civic Center, Janet Roitz and Sean Martinfield present Ladies of the Nightclubs, a talk exploring songs from night club scenes in classic Hollywood films. Click on the photo  below to see our promo on YouTube: Drawing […]

A Conversation with Frances Chung, Principal Dancer at San Francisco Ballet

“At the end of the day,” said Frances, “it’s all about the music. I want to see the music infused into the dancer.” FRANCES CHUNG. Photo, Erik Tomasson Click here to see my complete interview on HuffingtonPost

Tenor Simon O’Neill on ‘Das Lied von der Erde’ – At SF Symphony, 4/6–11

“I cannot wait to sing with Sasha Cooke,” said tenor Simon O’Neill. “Sitting next to her, I’m the one with the best seat in the house.” [Click here to see my complete interview with Simon O’Neill on HuffingtonPost.] “I just want to be a musician, that’s all. I don’t particularly care what I do. I […]

A Profile of Vitor Luiz – Principal Dancer at San Francisco Ballet

Vitor Luiz joined San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 2009. His gift is about connection – a high-spirited rapport that is all at once intimate and mutually engaging. Totally convincing is the best way to describe and cheer Vitor’s performance in Coppélia…. [Click here for the complete interview on HuffingtonPost]

Baritone Matthias Goerne – Performs Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ – this Friday through Sunday at the Taube Atrium Theatre

The first season of San Francisco Opera Lab launches with the San Francisco premiere of Winterreise (Winter Journey), a series of 24 animated short films as a visual response to Franz Schubert’s haunting song cycle. South African artist William Kentridge has created his own imaginary visual journey as a poetic counterpoint to the interpretation of […]

‘Cabaret’ – Opens at San Francisco’s School of the Arts, March 11

This month the Theatre Department of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts presents Kander and Ebb’s iconic and enduring Broadway musical, CABARET. Performances take place on March 11–13 and March 18–20, Friday and Saturday performances are at 8:00pm, Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. Click here to purchase tickets on-line. “Leave your troubles outside!” […]

The 2016 Schwabacher Debut Recital – Popular series opens the Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater, 2/28

This Sunday, February 28, marks the opening of the Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater. Located in the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera in San Francisco’s recently restored Veteran’s Building – the first of the 2016 Schwabacher Debut Recitals, now in its 33rd season, is the most perfect way to inaugurate an amazing addition to […]

New Year’s Eve with San Francisco Symphony and Seth MacFarlane

This New Year’s Eve, Thursday at 8pm – join conductor Edwin Outwater and the San Francisco Symphony for the classiest show in town. This year’s guest artist is popular singer Seth MacFarlane. A recipient of two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the animated series Family Guy, MacFarlane also has a great affinity with […]

SF Symphony presents Jodi Benson and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ – through 12/24

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and their friends return to Davies Symphony Hall for an unforgettable live-action performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The show plays through December 24, Randall Craig Fleischer conducts the SF Symphony through Vince Guaraldi’s popular and enduring score. The fantastically staged show features live singers, actors, and dancers who take […]

A Conversation with Kathy Najimy – This Sunday at Davies Hall in “Peter and the Wolf”

This Sunday, December 13, Kathy Najimy joins the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra for two performances as the Narrator in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. Conducted by Donato Cabrera, performances are at 1pm and 4pm. Kathy Najimy joins a long list of celebrity narrators who have helped introduce the experience of a symphony orchestra and […]

Anna May Wong – A (Silent) Lady of the Nightclub

Tonight at the Castro Theatre the Silent Film Festival presents Piccadilly at 9:15. After years of being typecast in Hollywood, Anna May Wong left for Europe in search of better roles. In British director E.A. Dupont’s proto-noir Piccadilly, Wong is mesmerizing. Mark Duguld of the British Film Institute writes, “For all its style and grace, […]

In Conversation with Tenor Paul Appleby – A Smart Debut at San Francisco Opera

Paul laughed when I suggested that “Tamino” in The Magic Flute is one of those tenor roles that sits in the column marked – Thankless. “Yes, I could go on all day about that. It’s funny, because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I get obsessed with other singers, typically with tenors – […]

Baritone Efraín Solís on ‘Papageno’ – Now at San Francisco Opera

“At my auditions,” said baritone Efraín Solís at our recent interview, “I always knew that if I started with Mozart I could sing anything else after that. If you’re in New York? And you’re trying to warm-up on the train and you’re late? If I walked in and suggested that I’d like to start with […]

Organist Paul Jacobs and Soprano Christine Brewer – Spectacular CD, ‘Divine Redeemer’

Organist Paul Jacobs and soprano Christine Brewer come to San Francisco’s Davies Hall on Sunday afternoon, October 18 to present works from their recording, Divine Redeemer, released last month on the Naxos label. The CD features selections by Bach, Handel, Franck, Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Puccini, Gounod, and Reger. Sunday’s concert will also include Widor’s […]

Soprano Leah Crocetto – On ‘Luisa Miller’ at San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera opened its 2015/16 Season on September 11 with Giuseppi Verdi’s Luisa Miller. Leah Crocetto is cast in the title role, tenor Michael Fabiano portrays her conflicted lover, Rodolfo. As the ill-fated lovers in Verdi’s enduring score from 1849 and under the baton of music director Nicola Luisotti – Leah Crocetto and Michael […]

Alexandra Silber – At San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala, 9/24

San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Gala is happening tonight. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas welcomes soprano Alexandra Silber, baritone Nathan Gunn, and Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer to Davies Hall with a program that will include Respighi’s Roman Festivals,  selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and South Pacific, and Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady. A pre-concert […]

Julie Adams, Soprano – ‘Songs Sacred and Profane’ with Curious Flights, 8/29

Soprano Julie Adams, a current member of the Adler Fellows, will be featured this Saturday, August 29, in An English Portrait – the opening program of the 2015/16 season of Curious Flights. The concert will take place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 8pm. Artistic Director and Founder Brenden Guy has a distinct […]

The SF Lyric Chorus presents music featured at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, 8/22–23

This Saturday and Sunday the San Francisco Lyric Chorus presents Return to The Promised Land at Mission Dolores Basilica. The program highlights a selection of classical choral music featured at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. Under the direction of Robert Gurney, the concerts begin at 7pm on Saturday and at 5pm on Sunday. The […]

A Conversation with Sheena Easton – At Davies Symphony Hall, July 23

Sheena Easton returns to San Francisco Symphony with conductor Edwin Outwater on Thursday, July 23 for the premiere presentation of The Spy Who Loved Me – an evening of songs and themes from the uber-popular James Bond films and other secret agent-related movies and TV programs. Joining her is the much honored popular cabaret and […]

A Conversation with Sarah Shafer – Young soprano shines in ‘La Ciociara’ at San Francisco Opera

Soprano Sarah Shafer is currently singing the role of “Rosetta” in the world premiere of La Ciociara (Two Women) at San Francisco Opera. The popular film adaptation by writer and director Vittorio De Sica – released in the USA as Two Women in 1961 – starred twenty-six-year-old Sophia Loren as Rosetta’s mother, Cesira. When she […]

An Audience with Susan Graham – Queen of Carthage in ‘Les Troyens’ at San Francisco Opera

“I don’t like sitting through long operas myself,” said Susan Graham during our recent interview. “But this one, I can sit through any time of the day because I love every note of it.” [Click here to see my complete interview on]

JESAIAH BAER – Rising Pop Singer Knows It’s in Her Blood

Fans of Jesaiah Baer – just “Jesaiah” to the world – are excited by the recent release of her new single, WILDFIRE, and are clamoring for the video due next month. After that comes another single, “How to Fix A Broken Heart”, which she describes as being a little more emotional. “Wildfire is like a […]

ANITA MONGA – Inside Scoops on the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2015

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival opens this week, Thursday, May 28, and runs through Monday, June 1 at the Castro Theatre. This year marks the festival’s 20th Anniversary. The line-up of evening and matinee screenings  begins with the 1930 classic, All Quiet on the Western Front – the silent version. The original production sailed […]

A Conversation with Silent Film Accompanist Stephen Horne – Coming to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, May 28 – June 1

Pianist Stephen Horne is one of the most sought after musicians in the world of silent film accompaniment. He returns to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival which celebrates its 20th Anniversary at the Castro Theatre, May 28 through June 1. Stephen will accompany the following films: When the Earth Trembled, aka, Quand le Terre […]

A Conversation with Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

“I think it’s one of Bernstein’s great, really great pieces of music,” said Jean-Yves Thibaudet. “A lot of people only know the lighter side of Bernstein, what they’ve seen in West Side Story. But when they hear this music – because it is an experience to sit through – I think they realize he was […]

Helgi Tomasson on His ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – An Anniversary at San Francisco Ballet

“When I came to San Francisco Ballet, we needed to expand the repertory,” said Helgi Tomasson during our recent interview. “I decided I had the right people for Romeo and Juliet. Maybe it’s because I never had the opportunity to dance it that I decided to go ahead and produce it. Why not?” [Click here […]

Cellist Zuill Bailey – On Nico Muhly and Ernest Bloch

“I think this is one of the finest-sounding recordings I’ve ever heard,” said cellist Zuill Bailey. “The acoustics are so off the charts – the way they’ve mapped out the orchestra and captured the cello within the fabric of that.” [Click here to see my full interview on] Released by Steinway & Sons, the […]