The first time I sang in a production of Hoffmann was 2007 in Vienna where I played the four servants. It was a reductive, bizarre, but very enchanting production. I fell in love with the show at that point because it felt like a dream from which I did not want to awake; especially the last act with its gently rocking barcarolle. It’s not an easy show to put on because it’s a big cast and finding someone who can sing the title role can be a struggle, but it’s one of my favourites and I would hope to hear it for the rest of my life.

Posted: 07/02/2013 by Thomas Glenn, tenor


Natalie Dessay last delighted San Francisco audiences in the title role of 2009's Lucia di Lammermoor and this summer she's back, but not in one of her signature roles. The soprano has appeared as Olympia is Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann many times, but for this Laurent Pelly production, she decided to mix things up and sing a role she has always wanted to sing, the tragic role of Antonia. In today's blog post, Natalie Dessay answers our 5 questions.
Posted: 07/02/2013 by Natalie Dessay (Antonia, The Tales of Hoffmann)


One of the most riveting scenes of Mark Adamo's opera The Gospel of Mary Magdalene occurs when Peter is overcome with grief for having denied Jesus three times before his crucifixion.


As the stage is bathed in blood red light, Peter falls to his knees, wailing, "How many times will I remember this? Seven times seven?" This moment of anguish has inspired other composers to some of their most dramatic and poignant music as well.
Posted: 06/27/2013 by Kayleen Asbo


Pardon the gush, but we just adore Susannah Biller. She's talented, funny, a former Adler Fellow and has graced our stage several times. Currently, Susannah is entertaining audiences as Despina in Così fan tutte—onstage through July 1. The San Francisco Examiner exclaimed that she "shined in one of opera's great comic roles, befitting a Rossini heroine." We wholeheartedly agree.



Posted: 06/25/2013 by San Francisco Opera


The Tales of Hoffmann has become one of the best-loved specimens of nineteenth-century French opera. Yet it represents an outlier within Jacques Offenbach’s prolific catalogue in its experimentalism with genre as well as its protracted genesis. The composer’s source for the libretto was a play by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, who introduced their five-act “fantastic play” Les Contes d’Hoffmann in 1851 in Paris, drawing on the wildly imaginative stories by the early-romantic figure E.T.A. Hoffmann.”
Posted: 06/21/2013 by Thomas May


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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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