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)


When a colleague in production called to ask if I would be willing to be a supernumerary in Carmen my first thought other than – why not!? – was “I have to call Bill.” Bill Klaproth and his wife Roberta are founding members of the Opera’s Medallion Society, longtime subscribers, and two of the most lovely people I have had the privilege of getting to know. When Bill retired in 1990, he decided it was the perfect time to become more involved with the Company, and he applied become a Supernumerary. He’s never looked back. Since 1990, he has appeared in dozens of operas, and is currently supering in his fourth Turandot as one of the soldiers.
Posted: 11/28/2011 by Bonita Hagbom (Individual Giving Officer) and Bill Klaproth (Supernumerary)


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)


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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