We here at San Francisco Opera are often asked, "Who was that great singer who played so-and-so in that one opera you did a few years ago? I feel like I have seen them here before." 
 
Our upcoming production of Falstaff features the San Francisco Opera debut of Italian baritone Fabio Capitanucci in the role of Ford, and is also the first time since 1995 that Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel will have graced the War Memorial stage (he was last seen in a gala concert for Charles Mackerras). In addition to these stars, the rest of the Falstaff cast is comprised of incredibly talented artists who have recently appeared on our stage.

For today's photo blog, we highlight each of the artists in Falstaff who has had past roles at San Francisco Opera. This way, when you see the production and think to yourself, "I feel like I've seen them somewhere before...," you'll impress your seatmates by knowing where. [All photos by Cory Weaver.]

Posted: 10/02/2013 by San Francisco Opera


With the arrival of the newest member of the British royal family, we here at San Francisco Opera decided to take a look at the members of nobility seen throughout opera to see what kind of lessons they could impart to the world's newest prince. Compiled here are a selection of lessons from twelve of our favorite operas that we think will serve the future king well.

Young prince, remember...
Posted: 07/23/2013 by San Francisco Opera


Inexplicable things happen to me in London. Several years ago I made an early morning visit to Westminster Abbey, that great reliquary of historical memory, and found it almost empty and utterly silent, a rare state for one of the world’s great tourist magnets. I intended to spend a few quiet moments at the memorial stone of my favorite composer, George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), the great German-born composer, Italian-trained, and rightly claimed by England as their own.

Posted: 11/11/2011 by Patrick Summers (Conductor, Xerxes)


Kyle Brisby is a supernumerary in our current production of Handel's Xerxes. As one of several Super Wardens, he is required to silently walk, act and even move furniture around the stage with perfect timing. Of particular importance to this production, Kyle must look exactly identical to his other Super Wardens--all wearing black costumes with entirely white, bald heads. Photographer Michael Harvey took pictures of the entire process as makeup artist Lisa Patnoe transforms Kyle Brisby from a 21st century guy into a truly SUPER warden.
Posted: 11/08/2011 by Kyle Brisby (Super Warden, Xerxes)


As the lutenist in San Francisco Opera’s 2011 production of Xerxes, I play not only an unusual role in the orchestra, but also a number of unusual instruments not well known to many opera goers. While the traditional opera repertory is not often thought of as utilizing improvisation, baroque music has a rich history of it. Nowhere is this truer than in this production of Xerxes where the harpsichord and I make up what could essentially be called the rhythm section of the orchestra. We play from a bass line, much like what a cellist uses, but we have figured bass (numbers under the bass notes which tell us which harmonies to play) added to our parts. Similar to how a jazz pianist might accompany a song, both the harpsichord the lute family instruments play the harmony, which is improvised in keeping with musical content of the composer.
Posted: 11/05/2011 by Michael Leopold (Theorbo, Arch Lute and Baroque Guitar, Xerxes)


Introduction

Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.

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