How have you prepared for your role as Hoffmann? Have you ever read the original stories that inspired the libretto by E.T.A. Hoffmann?
Owing to the fact that this version of Hoffmann is very different from ones I've been involved with before, there was a lot of new music, and dialogue to learn. As always with languages you don't speak, figuring out the meaning behind the words takes up a lot of time. And that goes not just for what I'm saying, but also for the things that are being said to you by your colleagues. I have read the E.T.A. Hoffmann stories, though I didn't revisit them for this revival here in San Francisco.
Posted: 06/03/2013 by
Matthew Polenzani (Hoffmann, Tales of Hoffmann)
Last fall, we here at San Francisco Opera were struck by how many connections existed between sights in our beloved Bay Area and the operas presented in our fall season. This inspired us to think about where the characters in our three summer operas – The Tales of Hoffmann, Cosi fan Tutte, and The Gospel of Mary Magdalene – might sightsee while they spent their time in the Bay. Where would E.T.A. Hoffmann go to drink his troubles away? In what seaside community would Mary of Magdala (a fishing town on the Sea of Galilee) feel most at home? And where would Cosi's Ferrando and Guglielmo get their infamous beard disguises groomed?
Posted: 05/13/2013 by
San Francisco Opera
Drew Farley, Assistant Technical Director for the SF Opera Production Department, had not seen The Tales of Hoffmann before he started to work on drawings and planning for the production, but after he researched the themes and the story, he understood and appreciated the inspiration for the production’s design coming from Belgian painter Leon Spilliaert.
Posted: 05/07/2013 by
Drew Farley (Assistant Technical Director)
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)