Kyle Brisby is a supernumerary in our current production of Handel's
Xerxes. As one of several Super Wardens, he is required to silently walk, act and even move furniture around the stage with perfect timing. Of particular importance to this production, Kyle must look exactly identical to his other Super Wardens--all wearing black costumes with entirely white, bald heads. Photographer Michael Harvey took pictures of the entire process as makeup artist Lisa Patnoe transforms Kyle Brisby from a 21st century guy into a truly
Posted: 11/08/2011 by
Kyle Brisby (Super Warden, Xerxes)
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)
When I moved to San Francisco 21 years ago, I never would have guessed that in 2011 I would be working not one, but TWO dream jobs at the San Francisco Opera.
My first break came in 1996 when the Opera House was closed for seismic renovation and the company took over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a year.
Posted: 10/30/2011 by
Jess Perry (Senior Budget Manager and Extra Chorus)
A giant passed away. A man that has served as a major inspiration for so many people, Steve Jobs, the former CEO and creator of Apple Inc. is now flying with the angels above. Mr. Jobs must be one of the most forward looking men of the 20th and 21st centuries; he was a man of huge ideas that reached the masses. He was also a man with a message: never look back, never think small. This message resonates loudly and clearly today for all of us committed to breathing life into a world of music and art that is suffering in a time of economic chaos.
Posted: 10/26/2011 by
Michael Fabiano (Gennaro, Lucrezia Borgia)
Before he was an opera singer, Tongan-born tenor Ta’u Pupu’a (seen in the roles of Omaha and Robert in
Heart of a Soldier) was an athlete. A linebacker in the NFL, to be exact. Pupu’a was drafted by the Cleveland Browns and then the Baltimore Ravens before a career-ending injury motivated him to go back to his first love: singing. How does a football player make this unconventional career transition? We had the same question. Read on to hear Ta'u's story in his own words. Check back again soon to read more about the connections between football and singing...there are more than you may think!
Posted: 10/24/2011 by
Ta'u Pupu'a (Omaha and Robert, Heart of a Soldier)