Il Cenacolo San Francisco Italian Cultural Club holds several annual events for members and the community each year celebrating wine, film, opera,, culture, and friendship. It’s a time to join together in celebration. Lively conversation winds like a ribbon throughout the event with food, wine, dance, and song adding to the festive atmosphere.
NOTE: These activities traditionally enjoyed annually by Cenacolisti have been suspended due to COVID until it is safe to resume. In the meantime, Il Cenacolo is offering several stand-in virtual events in order to stay in touch with each other and the culture!
For the holiday season, Il Cenacolo does it right! For the past several years, this Black Tie Optional affair has been held at the St. Francis Yacht Club on the San Francisco marina, overlooking the bay and lit up by the Golden Gate Bridge. Music, first-class catering, clinking glasses of good cheer with fellow Cenacolisti and their guests.
Opera was a quantum leap in musical innovation when it began about 400 years ago. It was quite an exciting step up from four people on a stage intently curled around quiet string instruments. It evolved to be a multi-sensory experience with symphonic music, dramatic lyrics, larger-than-life characters and extravagant costumes—the best of music and theatre combined. As with all artforms, it reflected and continues to reflect social currents which need to be expressed—in thought, politics, esthetics—everything that touches the human experience.
In the San Francisco of 100 years ago, even then a celebrated cultural center, opera was all the rage. Gaetano Merola, a Neopolitan émigré, founded the San Francisco Opera in 1923 and became its first conductor. He was a close associate of many of the men who founded Il Cenacolo, all entrepreneurs, professionals and civic leaders in their own right. When Il Cenacolo was formed just a few years later, opera was very much in the minds and hearts of the founders, because, above all, opera is quintessentially Italian.
Originally started as an informal, one-time only presentation of Italian movies in a college lecture hall, the Italian Film Festival of Marin County has grown over its 40 years into a perennial favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area. From the beginning it has been a labor of love for its longtime director, Lido Cantarutti, also a Cenacolista. Under his direction the program has included appearances from Italian film directors and composers, dignitaries of the Italian and Italian-American communities, and an authentically Italian atmosphere at every presentation. The centerpiece, however, is always top-quality Italian cinema.
Cenacolisti meet before the film at a nearby Italian restaurant, enjoy good food and wine, and toast to the rich and continuing history of Italian cinema.
In season, Cenacolisti enjoy the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco symphony in the heart of the City.
Cenacolisti are treated to a specialized tour by the opera staff.