Making his San Francisco Opera debut with The Magic Flute this summer, Scottish-born Rory Macdonald has rapidly established himself as one of Britain’s most talented, dynamic young conductors. Below Rory shares the challenges and thrills of conducting one of Mozart's most beloved operas.




Posted: 07/02/2012 by Rory Macdonald


Lauré Campbell has served as San Francisco Opera’s orchestra librarian for an incredible 41 seasons. From just down the hall from the orchestra pit, Lauré’s job has been to acquire the sheet music for each production – whether from the Company’s own library or another source, mark it up to the necessary specifications, and have it ready for each member of the orchestra. Retiring this spring, we asked Lauré a few questions about what’s changed during her tenure, what hasn’t, and what she’ll miss most.

Posted: 01/24/2012 by Lauré Campbell, Orchestra Librarian


While working on Bizet’s Carmen I found myself reflecting on the topic of “encounter with difference”—unlikely relationships that form between non-like-minded people—and pondering both the attraction and violence those experiences can generate. Both Carmen and Don José are members of marginalized minority populations in 19th-century Spain: she is a gypsy and he is a Basque.




Posted: 12/12/2011 by Jose Maria Condemi (Director, Carmen)


San Francisco Opera Principal Oboist Mingjia Liu knows it takes a whole lot of time and preparation for any orchestra member to prepare their music for an opera performance. What many people do not realize is that playing the oboe includes a whole other type of preparation--reed preparation. In this video, Mingjia explains the unique task he tackles every single day before he even lifts his instrument out of the case.

 

Posted: 11/14/2011 by Mingjia Liu (Principal Oboe)


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)


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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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