"You're on!": two of the most thrilling and nerve-wracking words you will ever hear in the English language as a cover (or understudy). In my opinion, covering can be compared with thrill-seeking sports like bungee or base jumping. You must be prepared at a moment's notice to go onstage and perform. During this summer season at San Francisco Opera, I am covering two VERY different roles: Madame Mao from John Adams' Nixon in China and The Queen of the Night from Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Posted: 06/18/2012 by Susannah Biller (Soprano)


Those of you who have passed in front of the War Memorial Opera House in the past week have likely noticed a beautiful new addition to our Van Ness entrance. Richly colored in red, yellow, blue, black, and white, renowned artist/sculptor Jun Kaneko’s HEADS will be in place throughout the run of the summer opera season and will coincide with the premiere of Kaneko’s production of The Magic Flute.



Posted: 06/11/2012 by San Francisco Opera


It may only appear in one short scene at the beginning of the opera, but unquestionably one of the stars of every production of The Magic Flute is the serpent that pursues Prince Tamino and is ultimately killed by the Three Ladies. Because our new hi-tech Magic Flute production is so heavily based on projections and digital images (8 projectors!), you might assume that the serpent chasing poor Tamino would simply be an image projected on the wall--but designer Jun Kaneko had a different idea! [Left: Jun Kaneko's design drawing of Tamino facing the two-headed snake]
Posted: 05/22/2012 by San Francisco Opera


In March the San Francisco Opera Scene Shop in Dogpatch welcomed 88 Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade students from Rooftop Alternative School along with their teachers, and parent chaperones for a much anticipated field trip as part of the Education Department’s ARIA Network program. What awaited us was the most amazing, exciting and inspiring experience ever! From the moment the scene shop crew ushered the students into the shop’s cavernous space, and handed them fluorescent pink, blue, green and yellow goggles, they knew they were in for something special. No ordinary field trip, this!
Posted: 05/10/2012 by Mary Ann Cruz (Kindergarten teacher)


 We cannot wait to unveil our brand new production of The Magic Flute, designed for us by visual artist and sculptor Jun Kaneko. His whimsical, colorful and creative production features unique and stunning costumes and a playful world that comes to life through complex projections. One of the (many) challenges that comes with presenting a brand new production is finding appropriate images to promote the opera months in advance, often times when the sets and costumes are yet to be built. This time we really lucked out and had the unique opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the stars of the show a couple of months before he gets to town to begin rehearsals.
 
Posted: 04/18/2012 by San Francisco Opera


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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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