When I heard San Francisco Opera had commissioned a new work
based on the story of Mary Magdalene, I immediately thought of a beautiful woman with long flowing red hair holding a perfume jar. You see, I was an art history major, and for anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with medieval or Renaissance art, the Magdalene is a familiar face.
During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene became an incredibly important devotional figure, second only to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her past as a sinner made it easy for people to identify with her. (She came to be known as a prostitute, although this is apocryphal.) As the first to actually see Jesus after his resurrection, she could give wayward believers hope that they too could achieve that kind of personal experience with God.
Posted: 04/16/2013 by
Dolores DeStefano (Assistant Director of Education)
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
Calendar 2013 will be a record year in San Francisco Opera history, with three—count’em—THREE world premieres of brand new operas happening in a seven month period! Our new work for families, The Secret Garden
, opens in March at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley, followed smartly by our two new main-stage works, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
in June and Dolores Claiborne
in September. My job as Director of Music Administration carries with it the privilege (and sometimes the headache) of nudging these commission projects along from initial conception to opening night. So far I’ve been involved with 14 new commissions (not counting the several that never quite made it all the way), and each project has had its unique challenges.
Posted: 01/22/2013 by
Kip Cranna, Director of Music Administration
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)