When I first met Jun Kaneko, he was on a ladder with clay up to his elbows, working on a gigantic head. He joked that the piece might take two years to dry, and then he wouldn’t be able to say whether it would crack when it encountered the incredible heat of the kiln. I knew then that we would have a rich collaboration! As with one of Jun’s large clay pieces, we worked for over two years to create the world that was to be our Madama Butterfly. It was an incredibly rich creative and collaborative process born out of deep respect for Puccini’s masterpiece and its resonance within Jun Kaneko’s beautiful and profound aesthetic vision.

Posted: 06/27/2014 by Leslie Swackhamer (Director, Madame Butterfly)


Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong has her hands full as Madame Butterfly's trusted servant, friend and confidant Suzuki in this summer's production of Puccini's beloved opera. She's no newbie to the role, having performed it previously with the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera and even in Japan. One thing Elizabeth always brings with her on her operatic travels is her camera. She maintains a website, A Singer's Suitcase, where she posts one photo every single day with a simple caption. She shared with us a small selection of photos she's taken during her stay in San Francisco for today's blog post. Take a look, and be sure to check out her website for a deeper glimpse into the life of a travelling opera singer. Elizabeth will be in San Francisco performing in Madame Butterfly through July 9, so if you haven't seen her yet, don't miss your chance!
Posted: 06/24/2014 by Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki, Madame Butterfly)


A life on the road can get lonely from time to time. Brian Jagde, our Pinkerton in this summer's Madame Butterfly, is no exception to the rule. Thankfully he has his trusty companian Cav with him where ever he goes! Brian most recently appeared on the San Francisco Opera stage in our 2012 production of Tosca. Where has Brian and Cav been since? Let's find out in our Operatic Doggie Diary!


Posted: 06/18/2014 by Brian Jagde (Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly)


It was cold in New York in February, 2008 when I flew into LaGuardia airport, but not too cold.  After years of living in Lexington, KY, where I raised a son and worked on a Master’s in Vocal performance at the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, I always flew into the busiest airport of my hometown for opera auditions with the romantic head of a twenty-something professional virgin from the midwest—this, when I was anything but.
Posted: 06/17/2014 by by Earl Hazell, (Extra Chorus, Show Boat)


Jimmy Marcheso is a member of our stage management staff. Jimmy joined the company in 2010 as a Rehearsal Assistant in the company's Rehearsal Department. Jimmy has been on the production staff as an Assistant Stage Manager for the 2013/14 Season and has worked on the productions Mefistofele, Dolores Claiborne, and this summer La Traviata and Madame Butterfly. He has also worked as an assistant stage manager and assistant stage director for Opera San Jose, Opera Omaha, Opera Santa Barbara, and Cal Performances. We sat down with Jimmy to discuss his work at SFO and to learn more about what it's like to be in the heat of the action backstage.

Posted: 06/13/2014 by Jimmy Marcheso (Assistant Stage Manager)


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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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