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


When I found out I was going to be the assistant conductor for Moby-Dick, I knew it meant that I was going to have to read the book. My attitude about that prospect was probably very much like yours. Sigh. But the choice was unflinching: Either I'm going to read Moby-Dick now, when I have every possible motivation and sufficient time, or I'm just never going to read it. Short of actually going on an extreme whaling vacation, I couldn't think of a more obvious circumstance to do something that I've long said I wanted to do. I'm happy I read it, and it made me feel more prepared, but it was unnecessary. Heggie's Moby-Dick does not need a primer to appreciate it, to explain it or even to fill in the blanks, it stands on its own as a thrilling and genuinely dramatic modern opera. But let's back up.

 

Posted: 10/22/2012 by Joseph Marcheso (Assistant Conductor, Moby-Dick)


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


 We cannot wait to unveil our brand new production of The Magic Flute, designed for us by visual artist and sculptor Jun Kaneko. His whimsical, colorful and creative production features unique and stunning costumes and a playful world that comes to life through complex projections. One of the (many) challenges that comes with presenting a brand new production is finding appropriate images to promote the opera months in advance, often times when the sets and costumes are yet to be built. This time we really lucked out and had the unique opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the stars of the show a couple of months before he gets to town to begin rehearsals.
 
Posted: 04/18/2012 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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