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


On Saturday November 10, San Francisco Opera opened the doors of the War Memorial Opera house and welcomed thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors to our first ever Community Open House! Presented in celebration of our 90th Season and the opening of the opera house 80 years ago, this completely free event was geared towards opera lovers and newbies of all ages. Activities ranged from crafts, temporary tattoos and sing-alongs to musical performances, technical demonstrations and screenings of Carmen for Families--The Movie! One of the most popular highlights of the day was the costume photo booth where guests were able to try on actual San Francisco Opera costumes and pose for photos taken by a professional photographer. From the moment lines began to form around the block in the morning to the moment the last person walked out the door, we were overwhelmed by the response from each and every one of you. Seeing every nook and cranny of this iconic building filled with smiling, energetic faces was truly a sight to behold! We think Gaetano Merola and the founders of San Francisco Opera would be thrilled to see all of you enjoying the fruits of their labors all these years later. All photos by Kristen Loken.


Posted: 12/11/2012 by San Francisco Opera


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


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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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