With the final performance of Madama Butterfly on July 9, let's take a moment and rediscover how artist and production designer Jun Kaneko took his first foray into opera design. Below is an excerpt from his 2011 book.
Posted: 07/02/2014 by Jun Kaneko (Production Designer, Madama Butterfly)


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)


Tomorrow evening our phenomenally talented Adler Fellows will perform in their annual The Future is Now: Adler Gala Concert. Founded in 1977 as the San Francisco Affiliate Artists-Opera Program, Adler Fellowships are performance-oriented residencies for the most advanced young singers and coach/accompanists. Under the guidance of San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley and Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald, the Adler Fellowship Program offers intensive individual training and roles of increasing importance in San Francisco Opera's main-stage season.

As the year draws to a close for our Adlers, we want to take a moment to highlight some of their key roles in 2013. The Adler Fellows truly are the rising stars of opera, and you can say “You saw them here first!”

Posted: 11/25/2013 by San Francisco Opera


American soprano Maria Kanyova made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2012 as Pat Nixon in John Adams's Nixon in China. In this summer's world premiere The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Mark Adamo, Kanyova graced the War Memorial Opera House stage as Miriam—a performance the San Francisco Examiner called "outstanding."




Posted: 07/12/2013 by San Francisco Opera


"Okay, let's run it again from the same place," says our director Kevin Newbury. "Strong and wrong."

I've come to love that phrase. In rehearsals we have to give ourselves over to our impulses in the moment, to try different moods and reactions before we choose the best one. "The best idea wins," Kevin told us on the first day of rehearsals. Everyone is encouraged to contribute if they have an idea for the tone of a scene or a piece of stage business. But in order for an interesting dramatic moment to emerge, we have to be willing to take a chance that it might fail—"wrong"—and commit to it anyway—"strong." It frees us from the interference of our inner critics and editors and allows us to take our reactions to their most compelling place.

Posted: 07/08/2013 by Stacey Tappan (Seeker and Girl, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene)


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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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