When I accepted the role of Richard Nixon a few years ago, I knew it was going to be the most challenging assignment of my career. Taking on Nixon in China, the brilliant opera by John Adams, was a daunting task for so many reasons, but the obstacle that would challenge me most was that of becoming the iconic colossus, Richard Nixon.


Posted: 06/07/2012 by Brian Mulligan (Richard Nixon, Nixon in China)


Did you know we are presenting Nixon in China in the 40th anniversary year of the historic visit? In the Education Department we don't often find ourselves discussing an opera based on an actual event, especially a recent one! So I decided to do some studying...




Posted: 06/06/2012 by Dolores DeStefano (Education Program Associate)


Nixon in China is one of a handful of operas that mean the most to me. I first heard Nixon when I was at Dartmouth College in the spring of '94 during an opera survey class. The professor only played the "News" aria, but that was all I needed to hear, I was hooked. I instantly bought the recording and played it all day every day and when I finally got the score many years later, it revealed a whole new dimension to the music that I could finally play and sing to myself.
 
Posted: 05/30/2012 by Joseph Marcheso, (Rehearsal Conductor, Nixon in China)


I worked in the rehearsal department for three seasons and after leaving that position, I was prepared to do just about anything.  I could spit out any one of a hundred phone numbers faster than you could pull out your iPhone.  People marvel at that, and I marvel that they marvel. It was just second nature to me and anyone else who worked here.  You have to be ready to do anything at a moment’s notice.  During the 1989 earthquake, one of my co-workers was at the ER with a singer who had injured her ankle during a performance while the rest of us phoned all remaining artists to be certain everyone was OK.  Thankfully, all were fine, and one of our mezzos even invited all of the other artists to her apartment for a chicken dinner.  The very next morning we had set up camp at the Masonic Auditorium where we proceeded to perform a week’s worth of opera there in concert version.  
Posted: 05/04/2012 by Valentina Simi (Artist Services Coordinator & Assistant to the Musical Director)


Most people don’t spend their lives at the opera, although depending on the composer and the evening in question, it might seem that way. But I can say that I have been at the opera, actually in this building, 45 of my 49 years. No, I am not a phantom living in some part of the sub-basement near the stream that runs under the theatre. (Yes, there’s a stream and no, there are no people down there floating around in small boats wearing opulent costumes--at least not that we know of.) 
 
Posted: 04/30/2012 by Valentina Simi (Artist Services Coordinator and Assistant to the Music Director)


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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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