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Donald Pippin, Artistic Director of Pocket Opera

Donald Pippin, Artistic Director of Pocket Opera


Donald Pippin Collection

Since 1952 Donald Pippin has been a part of the musical life of San Francisco. He is best known as the founder of Pocket Opera, which started in 1977 with the purpose of making opera more accessible to the average concert goer by presenting opera in unique English language translations with a small chamber ensemble. The Donald Pippin Collection consists primarily of Pippin's English translations of opera librettos available as pdf files. Additional materials include facsimiles of over 300 print media reviews of Pocket Opera productions; copies of two anthologies published by Pippin, "A Pocketful of Lyrics" and " As the Lights Go Up…: Tales from the Opera;" a speech on Offenbach given by Pippin in San Francisco in 1996; a tribute ode by Anne Dudley on the occasion of Pippin's 60th birthday; and finally an interview with Pippin published in Journal Français d'Amérique in 1996.

About Pocket Opera:

Pocket Opera is a theatre of the mind and of the heart. Productions are staged with minimal costuming and without sets, using only the few practical props (a bench, a desk, a door, ...) that are essential to convey the story. A few operas, for which staging would add little or nothing to the interpretation of the story, are performed concert style. Through the use of Pippin's singable translations and narration, through accomplished vocalists and small chamber orchestra, Pocket Opera presents the essence of opera -- affordable, accessible opera of the highest musicality for contemporary audiences (--from the Pocket Opera website).


Jerry McBride
Head Librarian, Music Library
Head Librarian, Archive of Recorded Sound
(650) 725-1146


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