On a research trip to Amsterdam, Mary Magdalene scholar Kayleen Asbo, visited the Rijksmuseum, a national museum dedicated to the arts and history of the Netherlands. While there she stopped for a look at Jan Van Scorel's 16th century depiction of Mary Magdalene and sent us this summary.




Posted: 04/23/2013 by Kayleen Asbo


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


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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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