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)
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
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
In a stack of resumes, there are a handful of certain recurring words. Wrangler is not one of them. Maybe because cowboys never found a way to fuse their experience in the Great American West with corporate infrastructure or maybe because lassos have simply lost their practicality in an urban world. Either way, I am one of the few people who can claim this title. No, I am not a cowboy- I am a Child Wrangler at San Francisco Opera. What does that mean exactly? It means I guide child performers on and off stage throughout rehearsals and performances at the opera. I have been in this position for the past four seasons and have been held responsible for as few as four and as many as 40 children ranging from age 6 to 17. Some are seasoned veterans of the stage and some are complete novices. My job is to ensure their safety while they are in the building and, mostly, try to keep them focused, safe, and professional. Sometimes this is an easy task and sometimes, a nearly impossible one.
Posted: 06/29/2012 by
Samantha McCurry (Child Wrangler)
It may only appear in one short scene at the beginning of the opera, but unquestionably one of the stars of every production of The Magic Flute is the serpent that pursues Prince Tamino and is ultimately killed by the Three Ladies. Because our new hi-tech Magic Flute production is so heavily based on projections and digital images (8 projectors!), you might assume that the serpent chasing poor Tamino would simply be an image projected on the wall--but designer Jun Kaneko had a different idea! [Left: Jun Kaneko's design drawing of Tamino facing the two-headed snake]
Posted: 05/22/2012 by
San Francisco Opera