When I found out I was going to be the assistant conductor for Moby-Dick, I knew it meant that I was going to have to read the book. My attitude about that prospect was probably very much like yours. Sigh. But the choice was unflinching: Either I'm going to read Moby-Dick now, when I have every possible motivation and sufficient time, or I'm just never going to read it. Short of actually going on an extreme whaling vacation, I couldn't think of a more obvious circumstance to do something that I've long said I wanted to do. I'm happy I read it, and it made me feel more prepared, but it was unnecessary. Heggie's Moby-Dick does not need a primer to appreciate it, to explain it or even to fill in the blanks, it stands on its own as a thrilling and genuinely dramatic modern opera. But let's back up.

 

Posted: 10/22/2012 by Joseph Marcheso (Assistant Conductor, Moby-Dick)


Last Sunday, a few intrepid tweeters braved the (not so bad) traffic of one of the busiest weekends in San Francisco history to post their impressions of the final dress rehearsal of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick before tonight's Bay Area premiere.




Posted: 10/10/2012 by San Francisco Opera


Have you seen the August issue of Opera News? The cover story is called “Opera’s Next Wave: The Voices and Faces of the Future.” It’s a great article, and well worth reading while it’s still out on newsstands. Here at San Francisco Opera, we couldn’t help but swell with pride at how many familiar faces graced the pages of this article. Quite a good number of these up and coming opera stars have performed on the War Memorial Opera House stage in the last several years or are scheduled to make debuts in the near future. Which of these fine young musicians, which Opera News predicts will “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” have we brought to Bay Area audiences lately? Allow us a trip down memory lane. [Left: Luca Pisaroni in The Marriage of Figaro]

Posted: 08/10/2012 by San Francisco Opera


In a stack of resumes, there are a handful of certain recurring words. Wrangler is not one of them. Maybe because cowboys never found a way to fuse their experience in the Great American West with corporate infrastructure or maybe because lassos have simply lost their practicality in an urban world. Either way, I am one of the few people who can claim this title. No, I am not a cowboy-  I am a Child Wrangler at San Francisco Opera. What does that mean exactly? It means I guide child performers on and off stage throughout rehearsals and performances at the opera. I have been in this position  for the past four seasons and have been held responsible for as few as four and as many as 40 children ranging from age 6 to 17. Some are seasoned veterans of the stage and some are complete novices. My job is to ensure their safety while they are in the building and, mostly, try to keep them focused, safe, and professional. Sometimes this is an easy task and sometimes, a nearly impossible one.

Posted: 06/29/2012 by Samantha McCurry (Child Wrangler)


It may only appear in one short scene at the beginning of the opera, but unquestionably one of the stars of every production of The Magic Flute is the serpent that pursues Prince Tamino and is ultimately killed by the Three Ladies. Because our new hi-tech Magic Flute production is so heavily based on projections and digital images (8 projectors!), you might assume that the serpent chasing poor Tamino would simply be an image projected on the wall--but designer Jun Kaneko had a different idea! [Left: Jun Kaneko's design drawing of Tamino facing the two-headed snake]
Posted: 05/22/2012 by San Francisco Opera


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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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