Inexplicable things happen to me in London. Several years ago I made an early morning visit to Westminster Abbey, that great reliquary of historical memory, and found it almost empty and utterly silent, a rare state for one of the world’s great tourist magnets. I intended to spend a few quiet moments at the memorial stone of my favorite composer, George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), the great German-born composer, Italian-trained, and rightly claimed by England as their own.

Posted: 11/11/2011 by Patrick Summers (Conductor, 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)


We are thrilled to be kicking off our official Backstage at San Francisco blog. This first blog post comes from Christopher Theofanidis—the composer of Heart of a Soldier, our world premiere commission based on the book of the same name by James B. Stewart. Heart of a Soldier will have its premiere on September 10, 2011—the eve of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. While the opera may be new to all of us, there are many who have been working on it for years now. Read on to gain insight into some of the musical challenges Christopher worked through early in his composing process.

Posted: 08/15/2011 by Christopher Theofanidis (Composer, 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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