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
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)
We cannot wait to unveil our brand new production of The Magic Flute
, designed for us by visual artist and sculptor Jun Kaneko. His whimsical, colorful and creative production features unique and stunning costumes and a playful world that comes to life through complex projections. One of the (many) challenges that comes with presenting a brand new production is finding appropriate images to promote the opera months in advance, often times when the sets and costumes are yet to be built. This time we really lucked out and had the unique opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the stars of the show a couple of months before he gets to town to begin rehearsals.
Posted: 04/18/2012 by
San Francisco Opera