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)
We know that Heart of a Soldier closed its run last month, but we can't resist adding a couple of additional blog posts submitted by people involved in the show. There were just so many creative contributions! This first one is from projection designer S. Katy Tucker.
On September 11th, 2001 I was about to start my second day of work as a studio assistant for an artist in Soho. I'd moved to New York City one week before, taking a semester away from college.
Posted: 10/22/2011 by
S. Katy Tucker (Projection Designer, Heart of a Soldier)
When people ask me what my job is at the opera, I typically tell them to think of my position as a project manager for the productions as a whole. It’s not my job to do the actual work of construction or to be inspired to create the design. My job is to make sure that the designs are done on time, on budget and as close to the designer’s intention as is conceivable. It has it moments of creativity and of rote mathematics. It has it moments of exciting involvement and concise detachment; but mostly it has its moments of managing large expectations.
Posted: 10/20/2011 by
Andrew Farley (Assistant Technical Director)
For our new production of Don Giovanni the design requirement called for 22 large mirrors in ornate gilded frames. The mirrors all needed to be reflective to the audience but also see through, like mirrors in a police lineup room. The design intent was to have each of the mirror’s speed and position controlled independently. Below is one of 30 stunning renderings drawn by set designer Alessandro Camera.
Posted: 10/12/2011 by
Marc Scott (Technical Director)