How have you prepared for your role as Hoffmann? Have you ever read the original stories that inspired the libretto by E.T.A. Hoffmann?
Owing to the fact that this version of Hoffmann is very different from ones I've been involved with before, there was a lot of new music, and dialogue to learn. As always with languages you don't speak, figuring out the meaning behind the words takes up a lot of time. And that goes not just for what I'm saying, but also for the things that are being said to you by your colleagues. I have read the E.T.A. Hoffmann stories, though I didn't revisit them for this revival here in San Francisco.
Posted: 06/03/2013 by
Matthew Polenzani (Hoffmann, Tales of Hoffmann)
Last fall, we here at San Francisco Opera were struck by how many connections existed between sights in our beloved Bay Area and the operas presented in our fall season. This inspired us to think about where the characters in our three summer operas – The Tales of Hoffmann, Cosi fan Tutte, and The Gospel of Mary Magdalene – might sightsee while they spent their time in the Bay. Where would E.T.A. Hoffmann go to drink his troubles away? In what seaside community would Mary of Magdala (a fishing town on the Sea of Galilee) feel most at home? And where would Cosi's Ferrando and Guglielmo get their infamous beard disguises groomed?
Posted: 05/13/2013 by
San Francisco Opera
Drew Farley, Assistant Technical Director for the SF Opera Production Department, had not seen The Tales of Hoffmann before he started to work on drawings and planning for the production, but after he researched the themes and the story, he understood and appreciated the inspiration for the production’s design coming from Belgian painter Leon Spilliaert.
Posted: 05/07/2013 by
Drew Farley (Assistant Technical Director)
Sitting around a table enjoying happy hour with a couple of my brother’s friends, I casually mentioned that I had attended a performance of The Marriage of Figaro
and really enjoyed it. One friend, who I shall do the service of not naming, said “Anna, I didn’t realize you attended operas!” “Oh!,” I replied, “it’s one of the great perks of working at San Francisco Opera—I get to see every production we do!” “Wait,” he said, “you work
at the Opera?” He started laughing, and unfortunately continued: “I imagine you and seven other people crammed around a table sewing a bustier or something.”
Posted: 08/31/2012 by
Anna Sopko Wright (Sr. Marketing Manager, Subscriptions)
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)