“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)


It all started innocently enough. Nine year-old Natalie Beier, who always loved art and fashion, needed to do research on costume design for an upcoming school production of Anne of Green Gables. For her research, she came to the opera with her family, went to the library, and ultimately got a very special glimpse into San Francisco Opera's Costume Shop. And for the budding costume designer, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose: to be a supernumerary or "super" chick in this summer's production of The Magic Flute!

Posted: 06/20/2012 by Natalie Beier ("Super" Chick and Budding Costume Designer)


"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)


Frank Zamacona had already enjoyed a long career in television directing and producing before he began working with San Francisco Opera. He has produced and directed over 100 entertainment specials and series' distributed by PBS, The Discovery Channel, ABC, HGTV and Link TV. Some of  Frank's most memorable credits include creating and producing Comedy Tonight, a public television series that ran for 10 years; and his work on The Grateful Dead Movie and Closing of Winterland: The Grateful Dead. Since 2007, Frank Zamacona has been video director for San Francisco Opera's Grand Opera Cinema Series, AT&T Ballpark simulcasts and OperaVision nights at the opera. He sits down to tell us a little bit about himself in this video blog.
Posted: 06/15/2012 by Frank Zamacona (Video Director)


John Bischoff, a Pre-Opera Talks Lecturer is a versatile performer frequently featured in opera and choral performances throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Before devoting himself to a career in music, John taught English in Guangzhou, China. Below John shares some of his memories on Nixon’s historic visit to China.




Posted: 06/14/2012 by John Bischoff


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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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