Kyle Brisby is a supernumerary in our current production of Handel's
Xerxes. As one of several Super Wardens, he is required to silently walk, act and even move furniture around the stage with perfect timing. Of particular importance to this production, Kyle must look exactly identical to his other Super Wardens--all wearing black costumes with entirely white, bald heads. Photographer Michael Harvey took pictures of the entire process as makeup artist Lisa Patnoe transforms Kyle Brisby from a 21st century guy into a truly
Posted: 11/08/2011 by
Kyle Brisby (Super Warden, Xerxes)
As the lutenist in San Francisco Opera’s 2011 production of Xerxes, I play not only an unusual role in the orchestra, but also a number of unusual instruments not well known to many opera goers. While the traditional opera repertory is not often thought of as utilizing improvisation, baroque music has a rich history of it. Nowhere is this truer than in this production of Xerxes where the harpsichord and I make up what could essentially be called the rhythm section of the orchestra. We play from a bass line, much like what a cellist uses, but we have figured bass (numbers under the bass notes which tell us which harmonies to play) added to our parts. Similar to how a jazz pianist might accompany a song, both the harpsichord the lute family instruments play the harmony, which is improvised in keeping with musical content of the composer.
Posted: 11/05/2011 by
Michael Leopold (Theorbo, Arch Lute and Baroque Guitar, Xerxes)
I am insufficiently blonde. Sigh. Yes, having blondish hair was one of the main reasons I was wrangled into playing the Super Bride in Heart of a Soldier
in the first place. But after our first dress rehearsal, the artistic team realized that with my natural hair curled and coiffed into a style of the era, I looked more like a hippie Flower Child bride. Not, unfortunately, like a big-haired girl from the Lone Star state. Which is what I am supposed to be.
Posted: 10/04/2011 by
Kristen Jones (Senior Leadership Gifts Officer & Super Bride, Heart of a Soldier)
Opera designer and director John Pascoe created the designs for this fanciful and opulent production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia in 2008 with Washington National Opera and Renee Fleming.
With the opening of our third opera of the season less than a week away, we decided to whet your appetite with John Pascoe's gorgeous costume sketches for this production, which marks the first time we have ever ever presented the opera in our history.
Posted: 09/19/2011 by
John Pascoe (Director & Designer, Lucrezia Borgia)
Costume designer Jess Goldstein took on a big job when he signed on to design the many costumes for the world premire of Heart of a Soldier. The opera spans six decades and four continents. Just the soldiers alone must be outfitted in gear appropriate for World War II, early 1960s Rhodesia and the Vietnam War. The main characters, Rick Rescorla, his best friend Dan Hill and his wife Susan Rescorla, are not mythical characters but real people--Dan and Susan will be attending this opera when it opens on September 10. To find inspiration for the look of each of the main character's costumes as well as the various locations and time periods depicted, Jess assembled a collection of design inspiration boards. Read on to see the images that inpired each of the costumes seen in Heart of a Soldier.
Posted: 08/17/2011 by
Jess Goldstein (Costume Desinger, Heart of a Soldier)