For thirty-five years I’ve maintained that the classic works of the American Musical Theater are fit to be in the repertoire of opera houses. In many ways they ARE our opera. Many were composed for “legit,” unamplified voices, with sizable choruses, orchestras and dancers.





Posted: 02/20/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


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


We announced our long-awaited 2012–13 season yesterday and even though we are still over 7 months away from our next opening night, we are all getting quite excited about what is in store. You can read complete repertory and casting information here, but for a bit of insight into the highlights of the season, read on to hear what General Director David Gockely is looking forward to the most! 



Posted: 01/18/2012 by David Gockely (General Director)


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)


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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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