“Ol' Man River” is arguably the most recognizable tune in all of Show Boat. What’s it like to interpret a song that the entire audience likely knows and has heard their entire life?
Well, honestly, as a Bass it's quite rare to have the "hit tune" as a responsibility.  With that responsibility comes a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver the goods. I liken it to the pressure of singing "Nessun Dorma" in Turandot or "Celeste Aida" in Aida, "Pace Pace mio Dio" from Forza or "Der Holle Rache" from Die Zauberflote. People know it's coming and everyone has an ear for their FAVORITE interpretation of the piece. I can't compete with those preferences (Robeson, Warfield etc.), so I just try to be honest and in the moment. Certain nights may be different vocally because things change according to how one is feeling physically etc. But an honest offering, full of emotion and connection to the music and lyrics is the best one can give. Astute  audiences pick up on that, and they are usually quite appreciative. 
Posted: 05/27/2014 by Morris Robinson (Joe, Show Boat)

San Francisco Opera’s spectacular Show Boat opens June 1 and we could not be more excited! With music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat is the original great American musical. Based on the novel by the same name by Edna Ferber, the musical is a sweeping tale of the closeness of family, the destructive power of hate, and the incredible strength of love to overcome it. Centered on a traveling showboat full of colorful characters and songful tunes, this is a show you can only properly appreciate live. Below, we share some of the deep history associated with the musical, as well as some of our favorite tidbits about the San Francisco Opera production. If you haven’t already, purchase your tickets now online to this monumental show – they’re going fast! – and get ready to come aboard the Cotton Blossom this summer!

Posted: 05/21/2014 by San Francisco Opera

On Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 8 p.m., we're heading back to San Francisco's stunning AT&T ballpark for a free live simulcast of Verdi’s La Traviata. On a recent sunny afternoon, La Traviata cast member Zanda Švēde and San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford met at the ballpark for a fun promotional photo shoot. The two donned their respective attire—Zanda in her Flora costume and Brandon in his Giants uniform—and posed for cameras on the field and in the Giants’ dugout at AT&T Park. The photos highlight the lasting partnership of two iconic San Francisco institutions—the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco Opera. We just couldn't be happier to be joining together again to bring this unique free community event to the Bay Area. We've been able to bring world class opera to nearly 197,000 people through our free live simulcasts these last nine years. Let's take a look back at how it all started, shall we?
Posted: 05/08/2014 by San Francisco Opera

Mexican-American baritone Efraín Solís is a first-year Adler Fellow who has been seen in performances throughout the Bay Area. In the 2013 Merola Opera Program, he sang Junius in The Rape of Lucretia and covered the Count in The Marriage of Figaro. As a graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he performed the title role of Don Giovanni, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the title role of Gianni Schicchi and in the spring of 2013 he joined Opera Santa Barbara as a member of their Studio Artist Program. Chosen as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2013 Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Competition, he will make his San Francisco Opera debut as Prince Yamadori in Madame Butterfly, and can be seen in A Masked Ball and Tosca in the 2014-15 Season. Below, Efraín discusses his education in San Francisco, musical family, and love of artisanal coffee.

Posted: 04/28/2014 by San Francisco Opera

On Sunday, April 27 San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program conclude the 32nd season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals with New Zealand tenor Pene Pati and pianist Sun Ha Yoon. Together, they will present a program of recital favorites by Richard Strauss, Roger Quilter and Paolo Tosti, as well as a selection of songs from Pati’s native Samoa, for which he will accompany himself on guitar.   
Posted: 04/24/2014 by San Francisco Opera

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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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