SanFran scores $6 million gift

SanFran scores $6 million gift


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2020

A couple called Tad and Dianne Taube have pledged $6 million to support the San Francisco Opera general director, Matthew Shilvock. Mrs Taube has been on the board since 2001.

They say: ‘Dianne and I have a long history of funding a variety of projects that support and enhance the San Francisco Opera. We wanted to establish a lasting and meaningful legacy, and it seemed to us that the best way to ensure our opera company remains one of the world’s best is to invest in the Opera’s ability to recruit and retain brilliant general directors such as Matthew Shilvock.’

That Taubes made it in real estate.



  • Myrtar says:

    No one calls it SanFran. Or SF. Sorry Norman, but it’s not like “LA”, it’s just San Francisco.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I beg to differ, Myrtar. Many people call it “San Fran”, particularly in the sports world.
      And a lot of locals say “Ess Eff”, especially the younger ones.
      We older native-born San Franciscans call it simply “The City”.
      Sometimes, when spoken in a hurry, the name as spoken by locals comes out something like “Svrncisco”.
      And, God only knows why, but the name “Frisco” is proscribed by locals. I’ve never understood this; it’s a grand historical nickname, first recorded post-Civil War, used by transients and train-riding hobos. It’s on a par with “Philly”, “Chi-Town”, “Kay Cee”, “Beantown”, and others.
      So: FRISCO!

      • Myrtar says:

        As a local, I beg to differ. I’ve never heard my family, friends, neighbors or co-workers call SanFran, if anything it’s an expression that shows that the person isn’t from the Bay Area.
        And “the city” is what everyone calls it to their major city.
        I do agree with your “Svrncisco”, I never thought of it like that but it does come out a bit like that when in a hurry.

  • John Borstlap says:

    There are many wealthy people in the world who love classical music and / or opera. Without them, quite some musical institutions would not exist, or have more difficulties than they already have. But no millionaire will ever get the disgusting idea in his head to invest in composers, in new music. Why is that? I know the answer, but am reluctant to spill the beans.

    • The And of One says:

      What’s old is new again…and aren’t there competitions that support composers, and grants, and commissions?

      The arts have ALWAYS relied on monied people. Don’t decry…exclaim! God bless those who believe in the arts and believe enough to it a 6 million dollar pledge or a twenty-five dollar ticket!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed. But: the established institutions which give grants for new music are very selective, and most of the time dominated by ideologies, consciously or unconsciously, – I speak for Europe. It may be better in the US.

        The point is not that music is supported by people with the means to do that effectively, but which considerations effect the selections. I think it is preferable that money for the arts, and for music in terms of new works, is done entirely privately by people who are music lovers and have some money to invest in it. When it is establishment institutions, or – like in the Netherlands – state organisations who carry-out the selections, you get absurdist abberations, like the Dutch national music foundation which openly states that they ‘control the quality of the production of new music’ – so, please don’t let the processes of a free performance culture let decide what is ‘good’ but use interest groups to steer production, because they know best (i.e. composers who themselves receive the grants).

        But also private donors often first listen to the advice of ‘experts’ about where to sink their money into. And who are these experts? It is there where the problems begin.

        As a simple European example: the Beethoven Foundation in Bonn, the birth place of the great Enlightenment composer, spend their grant budget exclusively on Klangkunst (sound art), thinking that they support music in the spirit of Beethoven. It is hard to know where to begin to unravel the knot of misunderstandings and misconceptions which is at the heart of such policies.

    • SoCal Dan says:

      Let’s not forget about the late Betty Freeman.

      The real question is whether she has a philanthropic successor — or, preferably, multiple successors.

  • non-californian says:

    That’s a nice, yet tiny gift considering it’s SF.

    The young Silicon Valley Tech elites don’t like opera.


    I thought they were “highly educated”.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      “Highly”, not well.

    • V.Lind says:

      They are not educated at all. They are trained, and I can well believe “highly.” There is no earthly reason they are not all in, and from, polytechnics. Only economics has driven computer science into the university — problem is, it has driven just about everything else out.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Frowns at “Frisco” owe much to Herb Caen, the San Francisco Chronicle” columnist I still miss. When I worked in the San Francisco office of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., we had real problems, among others that it never got west of Floydada, Texas. Today it’s part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe system.