One of San Francisco Opera's favorite stage directors is Jose Maria Condemi. Along with being a frequent contributor to the San Francisco Opera stage, Jose Maria is also Artistic Director at Opera Santa Barbara and an advocate for young artists. This fall he directed Puccini's formidable "Tosca" staring not one, but two alternating casts in the production. Amid his busy schedule, Jose Maria took some time to answer our Five Questions. Take a read and see how one handles breathing new life into old productions, advice for young performances and where to get great BBQ in San Francisco.
Posted: 11/27/2012 by San Francisco Opera


How did you come to work on Moby-Dick and what was the early process?

We were getting ready to premiere Three Decembers in Houston (2008) and very close to the end of the process when Jake and Gene approached me about Moby-Dick. It was impossible for me to say no the challenge of staging Moby Dick, but even harder to pass up the opportunity to work with Jake and Gene again. Nothing had been written at that point, so I was part of the project from the very beginning and the three of us worked through it as a team.

I work on a lot of new pieces, and I’m often with them from the start. In this particular process with Moby-Dick, we all found our way through this massive book together, looking at it from three distinct points of view: Gene the words, Jake the music, and me concentrating on the structure of the story.
Posted: 10/18/2012 by Leonard Foglia (Director, Moby-Dick)


"I quite enjoy trying to understand the personality of the performer." –Harry Silverstein, Rigoletto Stage Director






Posted: 09/24/2012 by San Francisco Opera


Everyone knows that the opening night Opera Ball is a glamorous event full of flowers,  decorations, food, libations and of course, fashion! But there are many who attend the opening night performance alone, without attending one of the galas--and we wouldn't want them to miss out on the glamor! Every year, Opening Weekend Grand Sponsor Diane B. Wilsey donates a beautiful, hand crafted and unique flower garland to adorn the boxes of the War Memorial Opera House. To most of us, the flowers seem to simply appear on opening night to add a colorful, whimsical decorative element to the special evening...but we knew there was more to it than that. This time, we decided to find out a little bit more about the people and process behind the opening night flower garland. And boy, did we learn a lot!
Posted: 09/12/2012 by San Francisco Opera


There was a palpable energy in the War Memorial Opera House air in the months leading up to The Magic Flute premiere on June 13. None of us could wait to see this new production full of bold, colorful scenery and costumes by internationally acclaimed artist Jun Kaneko. When Jun and his wife Ree visited San Francisco Opera's Props department and Costume Shop in March, it was the first time they saw Jun's sketches come to life.
Posted: 06/27/2012 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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