By now most of you realize that the Opera is celebrating its 90th season of producing opera in the Bay Area. Let’s use the occasion to take a brief backward look at the highlights of this extraordinary institution.

In June of 1922, Italian immigrant conductor Gaetano Merola held the first season of his new opera company at the Stanford football stadium in Palo Alto. This initial success led to the founding of the San Francisco Opera and the Company moved to downtown San Francisco, settling in what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and for two seasons at the Dreamland Auditorium.


Posted: 10/03/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


In 1997, we unveiled a brand new production of Verdi's Rigoletto, designed by Michael Yeargan. Inspired by the surrealist paintings of Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, the sets shine most because of their simplicity. The colors are bold, the lines are crisp and the lighting is daring. The costumes, designed by Constance Hoffman, are whimsical and classic, bringing these larger-than-life characters their own highly distinct personalities. While many of our 2012-13 Season productions feature brand new sets or bring a production to the Bay Area for the first time, Rigoletto is a revival of this favorite production. These sets and costumes have been presented at the War Memorial Opera House in three previous seasons, and due to double casting, by no less than six distinct casts. Take a walk down memory lane with us as we remember some of our past Rigolettos, Dukes and Gildas.
Posted: 09/27/2012 by San Francisco Opera


Have you seen the August issue of Opera News? The cover story is called “Opera’s Next Wave: The Voices and Faces of the Future.” It’s a great article, and well worth reading while it’s still out on newsstands. Here at San Francisco Opera, we couldn’t help but swell with pride at how many familiar faces graced the pages of this article. Quite a good number of these up and coming opera stars have performed on the War Memorial Opera House stage in the last several years or are scheduled to make debuts in the near future. Which of these fine young musicians, which Opera News predicts will “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” have we brought to Bay Area audiences lately? Allow us a trip down memory lane. [Left: Luca Pisaroni in The Marriage of Figaro]

Posted: 08/10/2012 by San Francisco Opera


An intriguing invitation was posted in this Tweet by SF Opera on May 29, 2012:“Are you an #opera curious power Tweeter? Apply for a Tweet Seat at dress rehearsal of Nixon in China, June 5, 2pm pls RT” When I read the tweet, I had already purchased my ticket to see Nixon in China on opening night. This unexpected invitation inspired me to see if I could use my iPad to capture my experience of Nixon in China and share my impressions with the SF Opera community and the Twitterverse.

Posted: 06/25/2012 by David Newman (artist and Nixon in China Tweeter)


“What do you mean when we spin Nixon on the banquet table?” My head cocked to one side the way my dog Earl’s does when I ask him to do something new.

For at least seven rehearsal meetings my “Supers” table partner and I had been practicing the choreographed banquet scene for Nixon in China. The table is at least five feet in diameter.

 

Posted: 06/21/2012 by Tess Uriza Holthe (Super, Nixon in China)


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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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