Before he was an opera singer, Tongan-born tenor Ta’u Pupu’a (seen in the roles of Omaha and Robert in Heart of a Soldier) was an athlete. A linebacker in the NFL, to be exact. Pupu’a was drafted by the Cleveland Browns and then the Baltimore Ravens before a career-ending injury motivated him to go back to his first love: singing. How does a football player make this unconventional career transition? We had the same question. Read on to hear Ta'u's story in his own words. Check back again soon to read more about the connections between football and singing...there are more than you may think!
Posted: 10/24/2011 by Ta'u Pupu'a (Omaha and Robert, Heart of a Soldier)


One of the things I enjoy most about attending opera is that the music is often so timeless and wonderful that I can see the same show re-imagined hundreds of times and each time it will come to life and touch me in a new and meaningful way. The same thing is true for performing in opera.

Posted: 10/06/2011 by Elizabeth DeShong (Maffio Orsini, Lucrezia Borgia)


 One of the hardest things to do in an opera is to be able to translate a basic question, or set of questions, into something visual which brings them to life in a dramatic context.
 
 “How do you remember the fallen?” was one of the important questions which Donna and I felt threaded the opera and this was answered in many through the main protagonist, Rick Rescorla. [Left: Thomas Hampson, who sings the role of Rick Rescorla in the opera, with Christopher Theofanidis.]
 
Posted: 09/16/2011 by Christopher Theofanidis (Composer, Heart of a Soldier)


Returning to San Francisco Opera is especially poignant for me. Although I had already sung some roles professionally beginning in 1972, my big debut was here on the stage of the Memorial Opera House on Sept 13, 1974 as the Maestro di Ballo to Leontyne Price's first Manon Lescaut. Back then there were no apprentice programs, Adler Fellows, or Merola. I was fortunate in that I had worked with Otto Guth, Kurt Adler's right-hand man, at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where I was completing a post graduate opera degree. Through his recommendation I was invited to sing in San Francisco, where Mr. Adler offered me a number of wonderful roles.

Posted: 09/13/2011 by Joseph Frank (Emperor Altoum, Turandot)


This morning, August 31st, I am looking over my music with twenty or so "notes" from Francesca, her assistant Matthew, David Hanlon (assistant conductor) and our librettist, Donna Di Novelli. These notes are, of course, little things that can be changed to make the show better and better. It just takes a little brain power and a good deal of strong coffee to assimilate the suggestions; especially precious hours before an orchestral run-thru. [Left: Melody Moore and Thomas Hampson as Susan and Rick Rescorla in a recent working rehearsal. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
Posted: 09/02/2011 by Melody Moore (Susan Rescorla, Heart of a Soldier)


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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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