When I heard San Francisco Opera had commissioned a new work
based on the story of Mary Magdalene, I immediately thought of a beautiful woman with long flowing red hair holding a perfume jar. You see, I was an art history major, and for anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with medieval or Renaissance art, the Magdalene is a familiar face.
During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene became an incredibly important devotional figure, second only to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her past as a sinner made it easy for people to identify with her. (She came to be known as a prostitute, although this is apocryphal.) As the first to actually see Jesus after his resurrection, she could give wayward believers hope that they too could achieve that kind of personal experience with God.
Posted: 04/16/2013 by
Dolores DeStefano (Assistant Director of Education)
Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann
has been presented by San Francisco Opera in five previous seasons, not including this summer's production
, which opens June 5. It was performed in 1944, 1945, 1949, 1987 and 1996. As we look forward to unveiling a new co-production of the opera starring Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani and Christian Van Horn, let's take a look back at some of the fabulous productions and casts we have presented in the past. [Left: Natalie Dessay as Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann
. Photo by A. Bofill/Gran Teatre del Liceu.]
Posted: 04/11/2013 by
San Francisco Opera
Mary Magdalene has been called "the most misunderstood woman in history." She is also one of the most fascinating and inspirational. From Rembrandt to Rilke, Bach to Bernini, she has been a muse for artists, poets, writers and composers.
In the many myths that developed about her, she has served as a mirror of a culture's deepest fears, hopes and longings—expressing sensuality when the body was considered taboo, deep emotion during the Age of Reason, and embraced in our own scientific era as a mystic visionary.
Posted: 04/04/2013 by
It was finally here, the day we were taking the bus to see the world premiere of The Secret Garden
! Sunday, March 10 was a beautiful spring day to rendezvous with friends at the Woodside Park & Ride lot, our meeting point. Gradually, our group of about 60 parents and children of all ages arrived and we boarded the bus to head to Berkeley for an adventure. [Left: Sarah Shafer (Mary) and Michael Kepler Meo (Colin) in The Secret Garden
. Photo by Peter DaSilva]
Posted: 03/26/2013 by
Teresa Medearis (SF Opera Board Member)
I began supering in 1985, with a brand new complete Ring
cycle. Since then, I’ve done all the classics—Carmen, La Bohème, Rigoletto
, etc. etc. —as well as my share of more obscure pieces. However, the one thing I’ve never done is a brand-new, hot-off-the-presses, world-premiere opera—until now!!! [Photo Left: Laurel Winzler in her English maid costume from The Secret Garden.
Posted: 03/06/2013 by
Laurel Winzler (Supernumerary, The Secret Garden)