Carmen and I have spent the last two months together. Interesting, since she never stays in one relationship that long… I started rehearsals as the cover in the French Carmen and continued with Carmen for Families. I am Israeli, playing a Spanish Gypsy, in a French opera, sung in English. Confused? Me too!




Posted: 12/01/2011 by Maya Lahyani (Carmen, Carmen for Families)


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


I think I have something to the effect of 125 minutes between my last exit in Act 1 and my entrance in Act 3. If you haven’t done the math yet, that’s about 2 hours. Realistically, except for all the previews, I could probably catch a movie and be back in time for my Act 3 aria.
 
Waiting for Act 3, that’s the challenge of this role. I know, cue the violins. But let’s talk about this. Part of what has been so interesting about taking on this role is figuring out how to manage my time.
Posted: 11/22/2011 by Sara Gartland (Micaela, Carmen)


Tenor Joseph Frank sings the role of Emperor Altoum in Turandot. Emperor Altoum is one million years old...and Joe Frank is not. It is makeup artist Timothy Santry's job to transform Joe before each performance of Turandot into a million-year-old Chinese emperor. But well before the first performance back in September, preparations were being made for this complicated transformation. Tim Santry started the look by creating a custom prosthetic face to be worn as a base for the look. We were there to capture photos of the process.
Posted: 11/16/2011 by Timothy Santry (Makeup Artist)


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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