I have received several inquiries into why we are performing our upcoming Magic Flute
in English. It’s a good question that deserves an explanation.
In Mozart’s time (late 1700’s), Italian was the language of opera. The genre of Italian “opera seria” crossed the Alps and settled in Austria, Germany and England in particular. Audiences in Austria attended “court operas,” supported by the nobility and presented in theaters that were near–or a part of–royal or lordly palaces. One can remember the image of Mozart’s operas being performed in Vienna’s Burgtheater in the film Amadeus. Lots of powdered faces, white wigs and bitchy courtiers. After Cosi fan tutte, Mozart fell out of favor with the Austrian court and lost his salaried position. He was also losing his health.
Posted: 03/12/2012 by
David Gockley (General Director)
Jun Kaneko, renowned Japanese-American visual artist, is the Production Designer for our new production of
The Magic Flute, opening June 13, 2012. His ceramic, bronze, and glass sculptural work and two-dimensional artwork appears in numerous international solo and group exhibitions annually and is included in approximately fifty museum collections. He has realized almost thirty public art commissions in the United States and Japan. His previous opera productions were
Madama Butterfly for Opera Omaha (2007) and
Fidelio for the Opera Company of Philadelphia (2008).
Posted: 03/06/2012 by
Jun Kaneko (Production Designer, The Magic Flute)
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
How many people does it takes to run a performance of Turandot
? More than you might think!
Posted: 11/23/2011 by
San Francisco Opera
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)