'Manon Lescaut' at San Francisco Opera
Artist City Guides: Brian Jagde on San Francisco
While Brian’s spent his life residing just outside New York City (where he currently resides), he’s spent much of his professional career traveling to a multitude of cities—both domestic and international— enjoying the gems each unique place has to offer. For Brian, it’s San Francisco—his favorite US city—that holds an incredibly meaningful place in his heart.
Meet Brian Jagde—a born-and-raised NYC tenor who’s been heralded internationally as an artist with “a remarkable future” (Opera World) and is known for his dynamic vocalism, his captivating stage presence, and spectacular passion.
Brian—a tenor with not only a sparkling stage career but also a background as an advocate and volunteer for several arts education organizations and schools in NYC and across the US—is recognized for his featured roles like his Metropolitan Opera debut as Count Elemer (Arabella); Don Jose at San Francisco Opera and London’s Royal Opera House (Carmen); Calaf in a new production of Puccini’s Turnadot a Palermo’s Teatro Massimo; Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana; and many more.
While Brian’s spent his life residing just outside New York City (where he currently resides), he’s spent much of his professional career traveling to a multitude of cities—both domestic and international— enjoying the gems each unique place has to offer.
For Brian, it’s San Francisco—his favorite US city—that holds an incredibly meaningful place in his heart.
Brian has a special connection to San Francisco— he’s currently singing Des Grieux in ‘Manon Lescaut’ at the San Francisco Opera (a role debut!) and is an alumnus of San Francisco Opera’s Merola and Adler Programs.
But San Francisco is more to Brian than just a fantastic place to perform—it’s also one of his favorite US cities to eat, drink, relax in, and enjoy.
Why? Hear from him first-hand right here—this is Brian Jagde’s San Francisco City Guide!
WHERE TO EAT
Dragon Eats in Hayes Valley is amazing for a quick place to grab an affordable and very delicious Bánh mì sandwich, a perfect lunch to grab between rehearsals. The duck is my favorite!
For one of my favorite upscale restaurants, I have to say the one that’s always been consistent and I’ve had the best meals at is Mourad in the Financial District. They make the best chicken I’ve ever had, and the ambiance is perfect for a singer because the restaurant has the most incredible acoustics. You can barely hear the other diners in the restaurant and you can speak at a normal volume with whomever you’re sharing such a beautiful Moroccan feast!
WHERE TO DRINK
If it’s a special and fun time nothing really beats going to the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont Hotel and sharing a few bowls of delicious liquor while listening to cool music in what feels like a tropical paradise. It’s an epic place.
For casual drinks there are so many places to choose from in San Francisco. In Hayes Valley, Absinthe makes a perfect stiff drink – a little on the costly side – and there’s also a relaxed, casual underground bar called Smuggler’s Cove that always does the trick!
WHERE TO STAY
San Francisco is one of a few cities in the world where I don’t ever stay in hotels, it’s always with friends or at an Airbnb! In the many times I’ve been here I’ve usually stayed with some friends in the Marina, but at other times I’ve stayed in the Mission, Lower Haight, Hayes Valley, and Nob Hill. I’ve even stayed in the Tenderloin which is a constantly changing neighborhood. I’d say that while some areas are more luxurious than others they all have their special charm. Each area of San Francisco really earns its reputation and there’s something cool and very unique about that.
WHERE TO SHOP
I do my best to save money and not shop too frequently, but when I want a new “tenor scarf” I always pop into Sean in Hayes Valley to see what the new collections look like. I’ve shopped for shoes at Paolo just down the street from Sean as well. Union Square has all kinds of stores available, from Suit Supply to Ted Baker there always a pocket square or full suit that I’d love to take home!
WHERE & HOW TO RELAX
For me, relaxation comes in many forms. I like to lift weights and track down a gym whenever I travel so I can keep up with my weight training, which is good for physical health but also is something that keeps me focused and relaxed on the road. The gyms all tend to have spas so if I need a massage from time to time I know I’ll always get quality service. A spa I’ve been to in San Francisco that has served me well is SenSpa in the Presidio. It’s a really calm setting.
There are endless parks in the city to enjoy walks with my dog, Cav, who’s always with me. He loves Fort Mason Park and the area down by the Marina. It’s beautiful on sunny days when you get a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of the hill.
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